Homemade Bread Bowls

published Sep 13, 2021
Homemade Bread Bowls Recipe

These homemade bread bowls are perfect for creamy soups, stews, chowders, and dips!

Makesmakes 6 bread bowls

Prep2 hours to 2 hours 40 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 30 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Bread bowl with spinach dip and crudite.
Credit: Photo: Kristin Teig | Food Stylist: Catrine Kelty

If the return of slip dresses and Doc Martens haven’t clued you in, the ’90s are back — and so is the bread bowl. Personally, I couldn’t be happier: I have so many fond memories of bread bowls in my life, from ordering ones filled with steaming clam chowder at the famed Boudin Bakery and Café in San Francisco to my aunt Nora’s bread bowls stuffed with creamy spinach and water chestnut dip.

As we slowly begin to gather with those we feel safest with, there’s never been a better time to bring back the bread bowl. It’s a fun way to present your dip, chowder, or stew, making it the perfect addition to any small gathering. Plus, it’s easy to make and it’s pretty darn cute, too. Here’s how to do it.

Credit: Photo: Kristin Teig | Food Stylist: Catrine Kelty

How Do You Make Bread Bowls from Scratch? 

Homemade bread bowls come together easily — you just need a handful of pantry staples and a bit of time. You’ll start by making a basic yeast bread dough, which you can knead in the stand mixer or by hand. After its first rise, you’ll divide the dough into six pieces and shape each one into loaves.

Starting with the first piece, gather up the sides one at a time, folding them up and over the top to the center. Flip the dough over, then roll in tight circles against the work surface. Repeat with all six pieces, then divide between two baking sheets. Let rise again.

When the loaves are ready, brush with egg wash, score an ‘X” across the top, and bake until golden-brown. Once cooled, cut a 4-inch round off the top of the loaf, similar to the way you would carve a pumpkin. Pull out the breadcrumbs from the interior of the loaf and lid, leaving the crusty outer shell intact.

What Do You Put in Bread Bowls? 

Bread bowls are best suited for things like dips, thick stews, and creamy soups (think: chili and chowders). I don’t recommend brothy soups, because the bread bowl will get too soggy.

If you’re making a dip like queso or spinach-artichoke dip, tear the interior bread into pieces and use them for dipping. If you’re using the bread bowl for thick stews or chowder, make croutons to top the soup.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Homemade Bread Bowls Recipe

These homemade bread bowls are perfect for creamy soups, stews, chowders, and dips!

Prep time 2 hours to 2 hours 40 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Makes makes 6 bread bowls

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 cups

    warm water

  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packets

    dry active yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)

  • 1 tablespoon

    granulated sugar

  • 6 cups

    bread flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 tablespoon

    plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon

    vegetable oil, plus more for the bowl

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1 tablespoon

    water

Instructions

  1. Place 2 cups warm water (105ºF to 115ºF), 2 packets dry active yeast, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if mixing by hand). Whisk to combine, then let stand until foamy, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, place 6 cups bread flour and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. Attach the dough hook and turn the mixer on to the lowest speed. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and beat until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture 1 cup at a time, making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next. Continue mixing until a shaggy dough forms. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is mostly smooth (some lumps are fine), feels like putty, and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl, 8 to 10 minutes. (To make by hand, stir the flour mixture in with a wooden spoon, then knead on a work surface for about 14 minutes.) You can also test if the dough is ready by using the windowpane technique.

  3. Remove the dough from the bowl. Coat the bowl with vegetable oil, then return the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

  4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and transfer to a work surface. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the dough into 6 pieces (about 7 1/2 ounces each).

  5. Shape one piece of dough at a time: Gather a portion of the dough from the side and fold it up and over the top to the center. Repeat, working your way around the piece, until a round forms. Flip the round over. Using the palms of both hands, roll the dough in tight circles against the work surface (like the “wax on, wax off” motion from Karate Kid!) while pressing slightly down. The dough should be a little tacky and stick to the counter a little – this will help to create tension. Within a few circles, you will start to feel the dough tighten under your palms. Place on the baking sheet, 3 per baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart.

  6. Cover the loaves loosely with kitchen towels or plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size and puffed, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 400ºF. Place 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork until well-blended.

  7. When the loaves are risen, uncover and brush with the egg wash. Score a 2-inch-long “X” on top of each loaf with a knife or bread lame. Let rest for 5 minutes.

  8. Bake until the tops are golden-brown or the center of a loaf registers 190ºF, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the loaves to a wire rack and let cool completely, 1 hour.

  9. To make bread bowls, cut a circle about 4 inches wide into the top of a loaf with a serrated knife (similar to carving a Halloween pumpkin). Remove the “lid” and pull off any pieces of bread that may be attached to the lid. Using your hands, hollow out the “bowl” by pulling out the interior, leaving the crust intact.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The baked bread bowls can be wrapped in plastic wrap once cooled and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.