This regular dinner roll was magically transformed to a soft and toasty bread bowl
So you are reading the title of this blog and you may think it’s conflicting. How can something be soft and toasty at the same time? I’m not delusional, you read it right and that’s the interesting story that I am going to share with you today. We are going a little bit off the road and out of the traditional bread bowl for a change, but it’s a good change so don’t run away yet and stay with me. First let’s talk about bread bowl. What it is and how it traditionally looks like in appearance and texture.
Traditional bread bowl
Bread bowl is basically a round loaf of bread shaped like a deep bowl where the center has been scooped out to create a hollow center that can hold a soup or stew. They are normally larger than regular dinner rolls, I would say about 2-3 times larger. The bread replaces the regular bowl, so less dishes to cleanup, and you get to eat everything, bread bowl and soup which is basically the main idea of a bread bowl. On the texture side, traditional bread bowl have crusty and slightly gummy texture like an artisan bread, baguette or french bread. The reason for this is to that the bread remains stable and it doesn’t get soggy once used to hold soup or stew.
It’s gummy, I had to fight it just to tear it out
I don’t like wasting food, this is why I make small batch recipes in my website. The thought of throwing food makes me feel bad, and even worst when I have to actually do it. I love bread bowl with soup and stew, I get to enjoy the soup and eat the bread bowl too. Unfortunately, the challenge I had with bread bowl when I order it is that it’s gummy, I had to fight it just to tear it and so I ended up not eating most of it at all. Which means it goes to the trash can, ahhhhh! So in the end, it just ended up to be a bowl that is not edible to me. This challenge was my inspiration in coming up with a soft and toasty bread bowl. Talking about a challenge and turning it into opportunity to create something new.
Soft and toasty, not your regular bread bowl
Now that we’ve established what a regular bread bowl is, let’s talk about this soft and toasty bread bowl. When I was planning to make a bread bowl, the texture is the main consideration for me. It has to be stable enough to hold the soup or stew, without having to absorb too much of the liquid. This means going to the road of using my artisan or baguette recipe which I had been testing for a while now. Both those recipes are great as they are not too gummy, but I decided to park it for now and use it for later to make a different variation. For this bread bowl, I used my One Hour Rosemary Dinner Rolls recipe. They are slightly compact, soft and has a nice puff shape.
From soft to toasty bread bowl
To address the issue of having a stable bread, I baked the soft bread bowl in the oven for 10 minutes at 350F until the bread is slightly toasty but not hard. This made the interior of the bread bowl toasted, thus protecting it from absorbing too much of the moisture from the soup. At the same time, it slightly soften it to the point that it’s easy to tear and eat. So even if it was toasted, it’s not hard at all. Then I filled it with soup or stew topped with cheese and returned it in the oven just until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 minutes. It’s so good, and I get to actually eat the entire bowl, no left over! Yey!
Now this is what is great about this bread bowl, you can make it ahead of time so no need to rush when you need it. The dough of this bread is the same as the One-Hour Rosemary Dinner Rolls. The bread alone is easy to make, and being able to make it ahead of time as a bread bowl makes it even easier because of that. Here’s how you do it.
- Make the bread days ahead and store it in the fridge, 2-3 days ahead of even 1 week.
- The day before you need it, make the bread a bread bowl. Scoop out the center and store in the fridge.
- The day that you need it, butter the inside of the bread or spray with olive oil. Bake in pre-heated 375F and bake for 10 minutes. Now you have a bread bowl ready to use, perfect for soup like my Creamy Mushroom Soup in the photo.
Are you not tempted yet to make it? Let’s get started!
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (110F)
- 3 tbsp sugar , divided (1/2 tsp for yeast, remaining for flour mixture)
- 3/4 cup milk , warmed to about 80F
- 1 large egg – room temperature
- 3 tbsp flavorless oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp whisked egg + 1 tsp milk – for brushing rolls
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/4 on the side as needed
For the egg wash:
- 1 egg – beaten
- 1 tsp milk – you can use powdered milk diluted in water
Activate Yeast: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer whisk together yeast with water and 1/2 tsp of the granulated sugar. Rest 5 minutes until mixture is foamy.
Add Wet Ingredients: Set mixer with paddle attachment and mix in remaining sugar (2 tbsp + 2 1/2 tsp) milk, egg, oil and salt on low-speed.
Add Dry Ingredients: Add 2 cups of flour and mix on low-speed until combined, then switch to a hook attachment. Set mixer on low speed and slowly add in remaining 1 1/2 cups flour. Allow mixture to knead on medium-low speed until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed, about 5-8 minutes. If the dough is too sticky add about 1/4 cup, dough should be slightly sticky and not too dry. If too much flour is added rolls will be dense and heavy. A good measure of correct texture is a clean mixing bowl.
Rest 15 minutes: Remove the dough and form into a ball. Transfer into a greased bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap and rest 15 minutes.
Shape and Arrange: Lightly push the dough down with the heel of the palm of your hands and divide into 6 equal portions, shape each into a ball. Do not knead too much as it will knock out the air that was accumulated during the rest period. Pull the sides down and tuck under several times then make into a ball shape. Arrange the ball with tucked side facing down so that you have a smooth exposed surface. Arrange in a cookie sheet at least 3-inches apart each other. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375F during last 10 minutes of dough rising.
Brush Top: Gently brush top of rolls evenly with egg wash by combining 1 tsp of milk and 1 beaten egg.
Bake: Bake in preheated 375F oven until tops are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove and set aside. Lower the oven temperature to 350F.
- Set aside to cool. Cut 1/4 of the top (horizontally) set aside the cut portion.
- Run a shard knife around the inside edge of the cut bread bowl. This will make it easier to scooped out the center. Be careful not to go all the way through as you might tear the bottom or side of the bread. Scoop out the center and clean the inside.
- Spray the inside with olive and arrange the bread bowl in a cookie sheet. You want to use a flat sheet so that the outside and inside gets baked properly. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes or until the inside is slightly dry but the bread is not too hard.
- Take out from the oven. You now have a bread bowl ready to use. If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator. If using immediately, pour soup or stew. If using cheese on top, I like to return the bread bowl with soup in the oven and bake it for another 10 minutes until just the cheese is melted.
Makes 6 bread bowl
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