Are you ready to tantalize those taste buds and up your soup game? Let’s dive into the world of homemade sourdough bread bowls, where you’re free to let your culinary creativity run wild. Imagine this: warm, freshly baked bread bowls with a beautifully crispy outside and a wonderfully chewy inside. But these bowls are more than just soup containers – they’re pure magic, transforming your everyday meal into something extraordinary. In this post, we’ll dive into the art of crafting sourdough bread bowls, from nailing the dough to achieving that perfect bake. Plus, we’ll explore a bunch of tasty soup and filling combos and drop some hints on creating the ultimate soup-bowl harmony. Continue reading to learn how to make homemade sourdough bread bowls for your favorite soup!
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Mastering the Sourdough Bread Dough
The art of sourdough homemade bread bowls begins with mastering the sourdough bread dough itself. Achieving the perfect balance of tanginess and chewiness is key to creating the ideal vessel for your soups. But fear not, because we’re here to guide you through the process, step by step.
Firstly, it’s important to understand the ingredients that make up sourdough bread dough. Traditional sourdough starters typically consist of flour and water, fermented by wild yeast and bacteria naturally present in the environment. This combination gives sourdough its distinct flavor and texture.
Mixing the Dough
Once your active sourdough starter is ready (it’s best to feed it the night before), the next step is to mix the dough. I start in the morning, and for four bread bowls, I measured 300 grams of bread flour, 1 tsp salt, 120 grams of active starter and 200 grams of warm water. Mix these ingredients together in a large bowl and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes covered. You can use a stand mixer and dough hook to mix, your hands or even a wooden spoon.
Stretch and Folds
Over the next 2 hours, with clean hands, we will stretch and fold our dough every 30 minutes. Then, allow the dough to rest at room temperature in between. I usually do around 4-6 stretch and folds then replace my bowl cover or tea towel and allow it to rest for another 30 minutes. These stretch and folds are essential as they activate the gluten and allow us to shape the bread more easily. They also incorporate more air, leading to a more “open” crumb. Once we finish our 2 hours of stretch and folds, we will recover the dough and allow it to rest for the first rise until it doubles in size.
Shaping the Dough
Once the dough has risen, it’s time to shape it into bread bowls. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into equal pieces and shape them into round dough balls (I was able to make 4 with this recipe). Place each round ball in a floured bowl or banneton basket and let them rise again for a final proofing. This step is crucial for achieving that perfect balance of tanginess and chewiness, as it allows the flavors to fully develop. At this point, I usually cover them with a plastic bag or plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator until the next morning.
Baking Perfect Sourdough Bread Bowls
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Using a sharp knife or razor, score your bread bowls as soon as you pull them out of the refrigerator. I place mine on a piece of parchment paper and then put them inside of a dutch oven. Bake them at 450 degrees with the lid on for approximately 20 minutes. Then remove the lid and turn the heat down to 375 degrees. Bake an additional 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Prior to baking, you can use a pastry brush to apply an egg wash to the top of the bread bowl (but this is optional). Once they are finished, allow them to cool before cutting them.
Exploring Delicious Soup and Filling Combinations
With your perfectly baked sourdough bread bowls cooling on the wire rack, it’s time to delve into the world of delicious hot soup and filling combinations. This is where your culinary creativity truly shines, as you can pair these mouthwatering bread bowls with various soups and fillings.
Imagine the satisfaction of ladling a rich and creamy tomato bisque into a warm, crusty bread bowl, creating a harmonious blend of flavors and textures. The tangy sourdough perfectly complements the velvety soup, adding depth to each spoonful. Or you prefer a hearty chicken noodle soup, where the tender meat, vegetables, and noodles find a cozy home within the hollowed-out bread bowl. Each bite will be a comforting and satisfying experience.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing a spicy broth-based soup with a tangy filling? The contrast between the fiery soup and the cool, tangy filling will create a delightful explosion of flavors in your mouth. And for those who crave a more indulgent combination, consider filling your bread bowl with a rich and savory clam chowder, allowing the creamy soup to seep into the porous interior of the sourdough, enhancing every spoonful.
As you explore the endless possibilities, remember to consider the textures, flavors, and colors of both the soup and the filling. Think about how the different components will blend together and create a harmonious dining experience.
Tips and Tricks for Soup and Bread Bowl Pairings
Complement the soup with a compatible bread bowl filling:
When choosing a filling for your soup bowls, consider the flavors and ingredients in your soup. If you have hearty, meat-based, thicker soups, a filling that adds a touch of creaminess or a burst of freshness, such as avocado slices or tangy sour cream, can balance out the richness. On the other hand, if your soup is more delicate, a filling with bold flavors like roasted red peppers or spicy cheese can add a satisfying punch.
Play with contrasting textures:
Texture can make a dish more interesting and enjoyable, so think about how you can create a delightful contrast between your soup and bread bowl filling. For example, if your soup is smooth and velvety, you might consider adding some crunch to your filling, like crispy bacon or toasted nuts. Similarly, if your soup has chunks of vegetables or meat, a smooth and creamy filling, such as whipped goat cheese or mashed potatoes, can provide a creamy counterpoint.
Pair complementary colors:
Presentation matters, and when it comes to visual appeal, colors play a significant role. Consider choosing bread bowl fillings that will add a pop of color to your soup. A bright green pesto or vibrant roasted beets can not only enhance the visual appeal but also complement the flavors of your soup.
Experiment with soup-bowl combinations:
Don’t be afraid to mix and match different soups with various bread bowl fillings. Some combinations may surprise you and become your new favorites. While tomato soup with a grilled cheese filling is a classic, why not try a spicy chili with a cornbread filling? Or a creamy mushroom soup with a truffle oil-infused bread filling? Let your imagination run wild and create unique pairings that excite your taste buds.
Homemade sourdough bread bowls are the culinary canvas every soup lover dreams of. From mastering the art of the dough to exploring endless filling possibilities, these bowls elevate your favorite soups to new levels of deliciousness. So why settle for anything less than homemade perfection? Don your apron, follow our guide, and let your culinary creativity shine. Your taste buds will thank you, and your soup game will never be the same.
Sourdough Bread Bowls
- 300 grams all purpose OR bread flour
- 120 grams active sourdough starter
- 200 grams water
- 1 tsp salt
- Feed your sourdough starter and allow it to activate. (Approximately 6-12 hours)
- Once you have an active and bubbly starter mix all ingredients together.
- Cover the dough and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
- Over the next two hours perform 4-6 stretch and folds every 30 minutes for a total of 4 sessions. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes in between each stretch and fold.
- Recover the dough and allow it to rest until it has doubled in size. This will take approximately 4-6 hours.
- Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into equal pieces and shape them into round dough balls. I was able to make a serving of 4 with this recipe.
- Place each round ball in a floured bowl or banneton basket and cover with plastic bag or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for your final proofing. At this point I usually place them in the refrigerator and bake them the next day.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator and use a sharp knife or razor to score.
- Place your dough on a piece of parchment paper inside of a dutch oven and cover it with a lid.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Remove lid and decrease oven temp to 375 degrees.
- Bake without the lid for an additional 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
- Remove bread from the oven and allow it to completely cool before cutting.