Food & Swine

Homemade Bread Bowls

Bread Bowls

One of my very best friends brought the idea to me that I should host a baking class on homemade bread bowls and hearty soups.  Instead of hosting the class, I’m going to turn that idea into a couple of blog posts because I thought it was a FANTASTIC idea.

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Is there anything more comforting than a rich flavorful soup or stew?  I don’t believe there is.  Double the comfort when the serving vessel is delicious homemade bread.  The possibilities don’t stop there.  This recipe can be used to make slightly larger bread bowls that would hold dips quite nicely at the upcoming fiestas over the holidays.

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F.O.Y.?  Still?  (F.O.Y. = Fear of Yeast for any readers that didn’t know.) Are you still a deer in headlights when you think about baking bread? Have you tried my Simple Farmhouse Bread?  I walk you through the steps of baking wonderful breads in that post too, and this recipe I’ll share today is quite similar.

These bread bowls are tender and suitable for thicker soups and chowders (not clear broth soups so much).  Use caution not to cut the core of the bread bowl too large, otherwise there could be some ‘leakage’ if the walls of the bread bowl get to thin. I like to serve Chili, Broccoli Cheese Soup, Cheeseburger Soup and thick and chunky Chicken noodle soup in these bread bowls.  I’ll have those recipes coming up soon!

PS: Just want to leave you with a healthy dose of (my) reality.  My kitchen looks like this quite often, and has for the last year. Why don’t I blog every single day?  This is why.  Now, where is the cleaning fairy?

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As I heard from my daughter’s preschool teacher a couple of years ago…

“If you are coming to see me, come over anytime.  If you are coming to see the HOUSE… make an appointment!”

I love that.

Here are a few step by step photos, and per the norm: full recipe at the end of the post.

Proof yeast with warm water and sugar until yeast gets foamy (5 min), then toss in remaining ingredients and stir.

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Knead by hand or in mixer for 6-10 minutes until a smooth ball forms.
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Place in a bowl and spray with nonstick spray.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size.
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Punch down.

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Divide into 4 pieces.
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Pinch outsides of dough into center.
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Roll dough ball around on the seam. (Keep the top… on top.)  This is done to create surface tension on the outer layer of the dough.  It insures that the finished bread bowl will be round and not a flat, shapeless disk.

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Let those bad boys rise, covered, until double in size.

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Brush with egg wash and cut a slit in the top.  (This is to be sure the bottom doesn’t explode during baking and unravel all of your hard work of pinching the seal so tight underneath.)

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Off to bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
And they’re done!

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This bread is totally suitable for eating alone or with a smear of butter.  Also, these freeze great!  Wrap in foil then in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months.  When ready to thaw, bring to room temperature in a vented bag.  Reheat in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes after thawed.

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Holding a serrated knife at an angle, cut the core out of the bread bowl.

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Fill with something warm and delicious… serve immediately!

*For dips: take the dip (cold or hot) to the party along in a separate container.  Fill the bread bowl at the party.  Cut up chunks of another loaf plus the core of this bread bowl to serve with the dip, if desired.

Homemade Bread Bowls

By: Cristen   www.foodandswine.com

Ingredients:

2 packets active dry yeast

1 1/2 TBSP (4 1/2 tsp) sugar or honey

1/2 C warm tap water (not hot)

1/4 C vegetable oil

1/2 C milk (I use 2%)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 tsp salt

4 1/4 C all-purpose flour

1/4 C parmesan cheese (optional)

1 tsp water + 1 egg (for egg wash)

In a large mixing bowl add yeast, sugar and warm water. ‘Proof’ yeast until foamy (5-10 min).
Add oil, milk, egg and whisk well.  Add salt and flour (and cheese if using) and fold into mixture until a shaggy mass forms.
At this point continue to knead by hand until a ball forms or immediately move to a heavy duty stand mixer to work dough until a smooth ball remains.  (6-8 minutes on low speed).
By hand, knead dough for 8-10 minutes, on a lightly floured work space until a smooth ball forms.  Place in clean oiled bowl and lightly oil the top of dough.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap, leave to rise in a warm area.
Let dough rise 60 minutes, or until double in size (this depends on the warmth of the environment, on a stove top of a pre-heating oven is where I place my dough).
When done rising, punch down to de-gas.
Cut into 4 pieces.
Shape the dough into four round loaves, pinching underside of loaf (see pictures above) so surface tension is created.
Lay on lined baking sheet to rise. Spray dough rounds with nonstick spray and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in warm area until double in size (60 minutes).
When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap.  Combine remaining egg and 1 tsp water, brush loaves with this egg wash mixture.  Slash dough 1/4”-1/2” deep with razor blade or very sharp knife.
Bake loaves in a 400 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes or until loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped.  (Temperature: 190-200 degrees F on an instant read thermometer)
Remove from oven, place on cooling rack.  Cool until warm or room temperature. Makes 4 large bread bowls suitable for serving soups, dips and more.  This bread may also be sliced and served, it is soft, rich white bread.

*Variation: To bake larger bread bowls for dips, divide dough into 3 portions.  Follow steps as usual, increase baking time by 7-10 minutes.

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