Homemade Bread Bowls

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Bread bowls always seemed so very comforting to me, and although I had heard about people making them from scratch, I hadn't gotten around to it. I think I thought it was going to be kinda complicated. Well HELLO it was easy! Now I won't hesitate to make bread bowls to spruce up any soup or chili night around here. What a revelation!

I used my usual Honey Whole Wheat recipe, except cut it in half. As it turned out, this made 8 generous bread bowls plus a loaf of bread, so probably a lot of families would want an even smaller amount of dough to work with. To break it down for you, here's my recipe, but only half of what I made. You can probably get 4-6 bread bowls out of it:

1.5 cups warm water or milk
1.5 tablespoon yeast
.75 tablespoon lecithin (just eyeball it)
a little more than a quarter tablespoon sea salt (I'm sure there is some perfect measurement in teaspoons, but I don't know it off the top of my head, so do your best and know that the bread will be fine without you knowing a specific amount)
3 tablespoons sliced butter
quarter cup honey

And however much freshly ground whole wheat flour it takes to get the right consistency. (read my original bread post for more information on that.) Let your mixer do it's job and knead that dough for ten minutes.

In the meantime, let's get the bowls ready! I sprayed two cookie sheets, and then got out all of my glass custard cups, turned them upside down on the cookie sheets, and sprayed them generously. The glass bowls are going to be the mold for your bread to bake around.

Once your dough is done kneading, grab a fistful of dough (maybe a little smaller than a tennis ball size?) and roll or pat it out into a round, maybe ending up 5-6 inches or so. This part is going to vary depending on the side of the bowls you are using for your mold. The ones I had are probably a little more than a one cup capacity.

Once you get your dough flattened down a bit (but still a little thick--maybe a half inch or so), just lay the dough on the overturned bowl, and kind of pat it around the bowl and if you need to, stretch the dough a bit to make it fit all the way to the cookie sheet.

Repeat til all your dough is gone. If you end up with more dough than bowls, you can always just roll the dough into balls and make some dinner rolls as well!

Cover with a light towel and let rise for a half hour. (In the meantime, start making your soup. Recipe coming up in the next post!)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees so that it will be all warmed up and ready to go when your bread bowls are done rising. Pop your cookie sheets full of bready goodness into the oven and bake for 15-17 minutes. Then once you take the cookie sheet out of the oven, you need to flip each bread bowl, remove the glass custard cup from the bowl of the bread, and then put the cookie sheet back in the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

The technique that worked for me was to use a wide spatula for flipping the bread bowls, and my hand was protected from the heat of the bread by a clean, dry cloth. I used a table knife to get a little edge of the glass bowl separated a bit from the bread, then grabbed the glass bowl and pulled it out of the bread. Very easy.

After you let the insides of your bread bowl bake, this is what you should have:

Place your bread bowls inside regular bowls, and then fill 'em up with your soup, stew, or chili. Warm, delicious, and filling! Oh...and did I mention *healthy*? There's no apology in the healthfulness of this meal, guaranteed!

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