This post first appeared on Yellow Bliss Road where I am a contributor
Nothing dresses up a bowl of soup or your favorite dip like a homemade bread bowl! Easy to make and completely delicious, you’ll wish all your bowls were bread!
When it comes to delicious ways to make your favorite foods even better, nothing beats homemade bread bowls. These edible bowls give any meal that comforting feel.
It’s as simple as baking up a batch of oversized rolls, cutting open the top, and scooping out the bread inside. Then you’re ready to fill them!
The best part about this bread bowl recipe is that you can make them ahead of time and freeze them for later.
If you thought soup couldn’t get any better, add a bread bowl to the equation! It’s the perfect vessel for all your favorite soups. You can even serve up your favorite dips in them. Spinach dip in a bread bowl? YUM!
Hands down my favorite thing about serving food in bread bowls is that once you’re done, you can eat the bowl!!
The inside edges have all those yummy bits of bread that soaked up your soup or dip. It’s too good to share!
Bread Bowl Ingredients
- Active dry yeast
- All-purpose flour
- Melted butter
- Oil or non-stick cooking spray
I used all-purpose flour for this recipe. You could also use bread flour if you have some in your pantry or don’t mind buying a bag.
Bread flour has a higher protein content and produces more gluten while kneading. If you swap out for bread flour, your bread bowls will rise more creating a larger vessel for your food.
All-purpose flour works just as good for our purposes. Whichever you have on hand is fine.
How to Make a Bread Bowl
I used a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. It’s quicker and less work.
However, you can absolutely make this recipe with a hand mixer and then knead the dough on a floured surface to develop the glutens.
- Start by placing warm water and two packets of yeast into the bowl of your stand mixer. Give a quick stir and then cover with a tea towel for 5 minutes. Once the yeast has bloomed, the liquid will be a bit foamy and have that distinctive yeast smell.
- Next, add in 4 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and melted butter to the bowl. Mix on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes until the flour is just incorporated. Then add the remaining 3 cups of flour and mix for 5 to 6 minutes. You want a soft, thick dough that’s slightly sticky. Add more flour as needed (up to 2 cups) to get the right texture. I had to add 1 cup of flour to my dough.
- Once the dough is ready, grease the inside of a large mixing bowl with butter, vegetable oil, or non-stick cooking spray. Turn the dough out into the bowl and roll it around to grease all the dough surfaces. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it sit for 90 minutes in a warm area of your kitchen.
- After 90 minutes the dough should be doubled in size. Use your hand to punch down your dough and remove air bubbles. Then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Form the dough into a uniform shape and thickness. Use a dough cutter or knife to cut the dough into 6 equal portions. You can just eyeball this. It’s not a big deal if they’re not exactly the same size.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Use your hands to form each dough piece into a round and place three dough rounds onto each baking sheet. You want to leave plenty of space so they can expand but not touch while baking. Let the dough rest for another 20 minutes.
- Now it’s time to bake! Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Then use a knife to cut an X into the top of each dough round. Don’t skip this step. (see why below)
- In a small, beat together 1 tablespoon of water and the egg. Use a pastry brush or basting brush to coat the surface of each dough round. This gives that shiny look to the crust. You could also use just and egg white if you prefer.
- Bake the bread bowls for 30 minutes until golden with a firm crust. Remove the bread from your oven and let cool to room temperature.
- To make the bread bowls, cut a circle in the top of each bread. Remove the circle piece of crust and then use your hands to scoop out the bread inside. (You can save this bread to use for your dip, a small french toast casserole, or snacking.) Leave some bread attached to the walls and bottom though. You shouldn’t just see crust inside. Fill with your favorite soup and serve immediately.
Don’t forget to score the top of your dough!
Now, you’ll notice in the image below three of the six loaves of bread baked up funny with a weird side burst thing. I did that on purpose to show you what happens if you skip the X on top.
The X scored into the dough helps the bread bake evenly and directs the gases inside toward the top of the loaf as the dough expands. No weird abscess on the side of your bread bowl.
What kind of bread are bread bowls made of
These bread bowls are a basic bread dough plus a little sugar and butter. Many restaurants use sourdough for their bread bowls. I prefer a basic bread dough so when I tear it apart to get the soup soaked insides I taste the soup and bread, not tangy sourdough.
How do I keep my bread bowl from getting soggy
Two things will help you with this.
#1 – Leave some bread attached to the crust on the inside of the bowl. The crust is strong and will hold up against the liquid inside, but a little bread buffer gives the liquid something to soak into before taking over the crust.
#2 – Thicker soups tend to help with the soggy factor. They don’t have as much thin liquid and it takes longer to soak into the bread.
That being said, you can put your favorite Tomato Beef Stew in these bowls without trouble. Just don’t break through the crust while removing the inside of the loaves and you’ll be just fine.
How to Freeze Bread Bowls
To freeze your bread bowls for later, remove the tops and scoop out the bread inside like you normally would. Then wrap the bread bowl in plastic wrap and foil. Place in your freezer for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to use the bread bowls, pop them in the fridge overnight to thaw or let them thaw on your countertop until they are at room temperature. I like to place the bread bowls in a warm oven to heat them slightly before filling them.
Some of my favorite soups to serve in bread bowls are broccoli cheese soup, my mom’s super easy chili, and potato leek soup. They’re comfort food favorites at my house and when I serve them in bread bowls everyone has a clean plate… the bowl included!
Homemade Bread Bowl Recipe
- Place the warm water and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Stir to combine. Scrape down any yeast that sticks to the sides of the bowl. Cover with a towel and let rest for 5 minutes until the mixture is foamy.
- Remove towel from the bowl. Add 4 cups flour, sugar, salt, and butter to the mixing bowl. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes, until flour is almost incorporated.
- Add 3 cups of flour and mix for 5 to 6 minutes on low speed. Check the dough. You should have a thick, soft dough that's a little bit sticky. If the dough if pretty sticky, add another cup of flour and mix until just combined.
- Grease a large bowl with a light coating of butter, oil, or non-stick cooking spray. Turn the dough into the bowl. Use your hands to roll the dough around so it's greased on all sides. Cover and let rest for 90 minutes in a warm area.
- Line two baking sheets with either parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.
- After resting, the dough should be doubled in size. Remove the towel and use your hand to punch down the dough to remove air bubbles.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle more flour on top of the dough and form it so there is a uniform thickness. Use a knife or pastry cutter to portion the dough into 6 queal pieces. (You can just eyeball it.)
- Form each piece of dough into a round shape and place onto one of your prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Each baking sheet should have 3 dough pieces with room to spread. Let the dough rest for another 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut an X in the top of each dough. (This helps your bread bowls bake evenly.)
- In a small bowl, beat together 1 tablespoon water and the egg. Brush egg wash over each dough piece coating the entire surface. (You can also use just the egg white.)
- Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Once cooled, cut a circle in the top of each bread and remove it. Then use your hands to scoop out the bread inside, leaving some attached to the walls of your bowl. This will give the soup something to soak into without breaking through the crust. Portion your favorite soup into each bowl and serve.