On any given day, If you ask me what I’m making in the kitchen, my answer is usually going to be something that involves sugar. However, when old man winter arrives, I start moving into my comfort food mode. This includes anything that’s savory and hot, and it also includes all homemade yeast breads of any kind. I wonder who first thought of baking a round roll of dough, slicing off the top, removing the insides and filling it with hot soup. Whoever it was, I bet it was a very cold wintry day when they thought this one up.
This past weekend was really cold here in Kentucky and I couldn’t wait to grab a few packets of yeast and start playing in the kitchen. I’ve seen recipes with pictures of homemade bread bowls filled with hot soup and I’ve been dying to make some. Oh and don’t let the word yeast scare you. I mean it. These bread bowls are so simple to make, and guess what? You don’t even have to knead the dough. All you basically have to do is mix some water and yeast together and wait for them to do their thing, which is magic! Then you add some flour and let the yeast and flour do their thing. I totally love playing with yeast. If you’ve ever eaten a homemade warm cinnamon roll or a homemade dinner roll right from the oven, you know exactly what I mean, and the smell….oh my!
It’s actually fun to work with yeast. Once you play around with yeast just one time, you’ll be doing it again and again. Let me show you a quick snippet of the steps in making these delicious bread bowls…
Top Left: I sprinkled some yeast over water in a mixing bowl and allowed it to set for about 5 minutes until it was foamy.
Bottom Left: I added some flour to the yeast mixture.
Right: Using my whisk attachment, I whisked the mixture for a minute or so until the dough pulled away from the sides of the bowl. It was slightly sticky.
Top Left: I placed the dough on a floured surface and formed it into a round ball.
Bottom Left: I placed the dough in a large greased bowl and placed it in a warm oven to rise, until almost doubled in size. This took about 1 hour.
Right: Then I transferred the dough to a floured work surface and lightly punched down the dough with my hand, but I didn’t knead it.
Left: I patted the dough into somewhat of a rectangle shape with the heel of my hand.
Right: Then I used my bench scraper to cut the dough into six equal pieces, and I rolled each piece into a slightly flattened ball.
Top Left: I placed the balls onto two greased cookie sheets, 3 balls per sheet, cut a small slit in the top of each one, and allowed them to rest for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, I preheated my oven.
Bottom Left: I brushed each piece of dough with an egg wash and baked them for 10 minutes. I brushed them a second time and baked for another 20 minutes, until they were golden brown on top.
Then I cut off the tops and removed the insides of each bread bowl. It’s totally up to you as to how much of the tops you remove. I remove a little more than most people, because that’s how I like them. I use the top part to dunk into my hot soup.
Note: Bread bowls are meant for serving creamy soups, not thin broth soups.
- 2 packets active dry, rapid rise yeast, 1/4 ounce each
- 1 cup warm water, (110 - 115 degrees)
- 1 1/4 cups warm milk, (110 - 115 degrees)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 5 cups bread flour, plus additional for work surface
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Position oven rack in the middle of oven.
- Grease a large glass bowl with vegetable oil or crisco solid shortening.
- Add the yeast to the large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, or use a large glass bowl and a hand mixer. Pour the water over the yeast. Swish mixture around in the bowl, making sure all of the yeast gets absorbed into the water. Allow mixture to set for 5 to 8 minutes until the mixture looks foamy.
- Using the whisk attachment, (if using a stand mixer), add the milk, salt, sugar and oil. Mix on low speed for a few seconds to combine. Add 3 cups of the flour while mixing on low speed until flour is just incorporated. Add 1 more cup of the flour and mix just to incorporate. Add 1/2 cup of flour and mix to incorporate. If mixture is real sticky, add the last 1/2 cup of flour. The mixture should pull away from the sides of the bowl and be slightly sticky.
- Place dough on a lightly floured surface and using floured hands, form it into a round ball. Place the dough ball in the greased bowl, turning once, so that both the top and bottom are greased. Cover bowl with a towel.
- Turn off oven. Place bowl in oven and leave the door slightly ajar. Leave until the dough has doubled in size. This takes about 1 hour.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, remove the bowl from the oven. Turn oven back on, preheating it to 400 degrees. Using your fist, punch dough down to deflate it and release any air bubbles. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and use your hand to pat the dough into a rectangle.
- Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Place 3 balls each onto 2 greased cookie sheets, leaving plenty of room between them. Cover cookie sheets with towels and allow dough to rest for 30 minutes.
- Using a fork, whisk together the egg and salt in a small bowl. Brush the tops and half of the sides of each ball of dough with the egg wash. Note, it's important to not allow the egg wash to run all the way down the sides of dough. It will cause the dough to adhere to the cookie sheet. Using a sharp knife, score the top of each ball of dough with an X.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush dough again with the egg wash. Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until golden brown. Bread should sound hollow when you thump it with your fingers. If dough begins to brown too quickly on top, place a piece of foil over cookie sheet.
- Allow bread bowls to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, cut off tops of bread bowls. Using your fingers, remove the bread from the inside of each bread bowl. Do not discard.
- Fill bread bowls with your favorite hot creamy soup and serve. Use the tops and inside pieces of bread for dunking in the soup.
- Bread bowls will stay fresh at room temperature for up to 3 days, and can be frozen for up to 1 month.
- Dough can be prepared a day in advance by allowing the dough to rise, punching it down, covering the bowl tightly with saran wrap and placing in the refrigerator. To prepare the following day, continue with step 7, or wrap dough tightly and freeze for up to 1 month.
- Different egg washes can be used for brushing the dough. An egg white mixed with water creates a light shiny finish. An egg yolk mixed with water creates a golden brown, slightly shiny finish.
- In this recipe, I brushed the dough once with simply an egg and kosher salt, baked the bread for 10 minutes and brushed it again. This gives the bread more shine.