Italian Bread Bowls are a fantastic way to serve soups, stews,chili, and even dips. You can make them extra large or very small as a soup appetizer. Best of all? You eat the bowl so no dishes to wash!
You want a very dense loaf or it won't hold the liquid very well. This dough is perfect and will hold up under most soups. Thicker broth is better than a very thin broth, however. I made 10 bowls that were around 5.3 ounces each, about the size of a baseball before they rise for the last time.
Weighing your dough is the very best way to get consistent sizes. I was putting a creamy tomato soup in them so I added two tablespoons of Herbes de Provence to the dough as I was kneading it. You can add garlic, basil, onion powder, or whatever you want. Put in about two tablespoons, or according to your own taste.
To fashion the bowl you'll just take a thin slice off of the top of the cooled bread. Pull out the insides leaving about a one inch thick wall. If the wall is too thin the soup will seep right through. Once you put the soup in the bowls you'll want to serve them immediately.
Italian bread bowls freeze really well for up to about six months. If you have time to cut the insides out rather than tearing them you can make croutons with the bread. Or, you can put the pieces in the blender and make bread crumbs. Whatever you do, don't waste the bread - it's delicious!
We threw my daughter a princess party a couple of years ago and I made a Cinderella coach to hold the dip using a bread bowl.
Use your imagination with this recipe! I think it would be great with salad in it, too! By the way, you can use part whole wheat flour in these Italian bread bowls - just substitute half the whole wheat flour for half of the bread flour.
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- Add yeast and water to the bowl of your mixer (if kneading by machine) or a large bowl (if kneading by hand )
- Let stand 10 minutes
- Add salt, herbs, oil and 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture.
- Beat well.
- Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Stop adding flour when the dough feels soft bu not sticky. You will probably not use all of the flour.
- Knead for 5 minutes by machine or about 8 minutes by hand.
- Oil a large bowl. Add the dough to the bowl, oil the top, cover with a tea towel.
- Let rise until doubled - about 1 hour.
- Deflate the dough and divide it into 6-10 portions, depending on the size you want.
- Shape into a round ball and place on a baking sheet covered with silpat or parchment.
- Brush the tps with olive oil.
- Let rise about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425F
- Bake the rolls for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown and they sound hollow when tapped.
- Let cool.
- Slice a thin layer off crust off the top.
- Pull out the bread, leaving a 1-inch wall all the way around.
- Italian Bread Bowls are ready to be used however you want to use them.
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