I remember when serving soup in a bread bowl was all the rage, and I’ll never forget the first time I had it served that way.
I was in graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, and a class I was taking in public relations only had four students registered for the course. We only met once a week for three hours on a Friday morning. The professor elected to have class in a small bistro near campus in downtown Austin. We’d arrive and order breakfast with a never-ending pot of coffee, from which we got more than our money’s worth, and we’d pour over the lesson and engage in lively discussion and banter. It was one of my favorite classes, mostly for the ambiance and the readily-available caffeinated beverages.
Then, there was the soup in the bread bowl. I usually ordered breakfast, but remember, it was a three-hour class. If I’d eaten breakfast before my two-hour commute to class, I was hungry again about an hour into class. It was that odd time when either breakfast or lunch would work, and soup tastes good at pretty much any time of day or night.
This café served a velvety tomato soup in a whole-grain bread bowl that was sustenance enough for two meals, especially on those rainy, chilly days of the winter semester. I could savor the soup, then pick at the saturated morsels of whole-grain bread until there was nary a crumb left on my plate.
I made bread bowls recently for a soup we were going to have on a cold, Friday night, and my kids thought this was the most brilliant, novel idea they’d ever heard of.
Using instant yeast made this a practical meal for a Friday night after a long week of work.
Homemade Bread Bowls
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbs instant yeast
1 Tbs sugar
3 1/2 cups bread flour, more as needed
2 tsp salt
spray bottle with warm water
In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot or it will kill the yeast. Let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it becomes foamy.
Add 3 cups of flour and the salt, and mix at medium speed of the mixer until well-combined.
Mix in the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is smooth, only slightly sticky to the touch and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead until smooth. Place the dough in a bowl greased lightly with olive oil or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cover with a damp towel and let rise 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, punch the dough down and divide into 4 equal-sized pieces.
Preheat the oven to 500° F. Shape each piece into a ball, and place on a lightly-greased baking sheet.
Score the top of each roll, then spray with warm water and sprinkle with salt. Let rest for 15 minutes.
Bake for 2 minutes, spray again with water, then reduce the heat to 425° F. This will give you the crisp crust on the bread.
Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until golden-brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Using a paring knife, score a circle on the top of the bread. Remove ring of outer crust and soft, tender interior, leaving a thick shell. Reserve the removed bread for other purposes. Spoon soup into the bread bowl; serve immediately.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 427, Calories from Fat: 12, Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 1171 mg, Potassium: 238 mg, Carbohydrates: 89 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 13 g.
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