Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bread Bowls

Bread bowls are very popular in the United States (we Americans love our carbs).  They are normally used to serve thick cream based soups and stews like New England clam chowder or chili.    This recipe makes a tasty, springy dough and because of the relatively large amount of yeast used it takes slightly less time to rise than the average bread dough.   The egg wash gives a lovely shiny exterior, making a beautiful vessel for your favorite soup or stew.  

Just cut the top off and ladle your favorite soup in

I started living with my boyfriend a little more than a year ago and its been a wonderful experience to see him learn how to cook and plan meals.   When we met pretty much everything he consumed came out of a fast food bag and his best dish was buttered toast.   Now he plans the weeks meals, does the grocery shopping and cooks healthful dinners for us almost every night (I know, I'm the luckiest girl ever).   One of his favorite tricks is to cook a whole chicken one night, make chicken stock with the carcass and then  make soup with the chicken stock the next day.   He also saves our vegetable scraps and regularly makes veggie stock as well.   Believe me, homemade stock is the bee's knees.    There could probably be a whole other blog dedicated to his culinary adventures.  Last night he made cream of broccoli soup and I made these sweet bread bowls to go with it.   

Bread bowls are best with thick cream based soups and hearty stews

Bread Bowls
Recipe adapted from
Makes 6 bowls (or 8 if you want small ones)


  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6-7 cups all purpose flour
  • cornmeal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • In a large bowl proof the yeast by dissolving it in the warm water for about 10 minutes or until it becomes bubbly and frothy.  
  • Add 4 cups of flour, the vegetable oil and salt and mix well. 
  • Add the remaining flour a 1/2 cup at a time until a firm dough is formed.  You may not need the entire 7 cups of flour.  You will want a stiff dough so it will hold the round shape of the bread bowl.  
  • Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 6 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.  Cover with a damp cloth and allow the dough to rise until doubled (approx. 40 minutes).  
  • Punch down the dough and divide it into 6 equal parts.  The best way to divide dough is to weigh it, but if you don't have a scale you can always eyeball it.  I find the easiest way is to divide the dough in half, and then divide each half into 3 or 4 parts (depending on if you want 6 large bowls or 8 small ones).  Place the balls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal and allow them to double in size once more (approx 35 minutes).  
  • Preheat your oven to 400F.   In a small bowl beat together the egg and water to make an egg wash.  Brush half of the wash over the bread bowls and slash the tops.  
  • Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, then give them another coating of egg wash.  Cook for another 10-15 minutes until the bread is golden brown and cooked through.  Larger bread bowls will require slightly longer cooking times. 
  • To make bowls, cut off the top and scoop out the centers, leaving at least 3/4 of an inch on all sides.  Fill with hot soup and serve immediately.  
The egg wash turns the bread a beautiful golden brown color.

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