Back when I made a homemade version of Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup, M couldn’t stop talking about bread bowls. I have never been a fan. For some reason, I really really dislike soggy bread. I love bread pudding because at that point it isn’t soggy bread, it’s pudding. I deal with the bread in French onion soup. But if you asked me to use a hunk of bread to soak up soup or sauce, it’s not happening. Up until now there was no convincing me that I wasn’t going to end up with soup all over the place, or worse, cold soup on soggy bread (*shudder*). Then I started thinking about how whenever I mention soup at Panera, someone always brings up the awesomeness of the bread bowl. Seeing as how I’m going through a “make all of the breads!!!!” phase, I figured making a bread bowl was a worthy challenge. If I didn’t like the bread bowl for its intended purpose, I still had the option of slicing the bread bowl for sandwiches, right?
I wouldn’t know. Four bread bowls later, and not a sandwich in sight. Using basic bread making skills, I made whole wheat bread bowls that were the perfect size for a bowl of soup. They maintained structural integrity (can you tell I live with an engineer?) and didn’t become a soggy mess. I put my stand mixer to work for this recipe, but kneading them by hand for 10 minutes instead of letting the mixer do the work is fine as well. Tomorrow, I’ll share the amazing soup that I made to go in these bread bowls. Today, I have to figure out what to do with my soup mugs because I’d rather have my soup in one of these . . . .
Whole Wheat Bread Bowls
- 2 C. lukewarm water
- 2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 C. whole wheat flour
- 2 3/4 C. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Add warm water, yeast, honey, and olive oil to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and quickly mix with a spoon.
Let stand for 5-10 minutes until the yeast gets foamy.
Measure the flour and salt into a separate bowl and stir to combine.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour to the yeast mixture.
Using the dough hook, knead for 10-12 minutes on the lowest speed. Occasionally stop the mixer, remove the dough from the hook and place it back into the bowl to ensure it is completely kneaded.
Remove the dough (which will be sticky) from the bowl and put it on a lightly floured work space.
Knead it by hand for a few minutes, sprinkling on and kneading in additional flour (I suggest 2-3 tsp. of flour at a time) until it’s no longer super sticky and becomes elastic.
Lightly oil a bowl with olive oil and place the dough into the bowl, turning the dough so it’s coated with oil.
Cover and leave it to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down the dough and form it into a large round (use more flour if the dough is too sticky again).
Cut the round into 4 equal portions and roll each portion into a ball.
Place the dough balls onto a baking sheet, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Form the dough balls into tighter balls again, then brush them with the beaten egg.
Using a sharp knife, gently score the top of each loaf.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden.
Let the bread bowls cool completely before cutting them.
To open the bread bowls, use a serrated knife to cut a circle inside the top of the bread, at an angle making a cone of bread to remove. You can then pull or cut more bread out so it holds more soup, but be careful not to pull out too much bread.
Makes 4 bread bowls.