Bread bowls—bowls made from round breads that are filled with piping hot soups and stews—are a special restaurant menu item, and a sought after food at the Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco (mainly seafood chowder in a sourdough bread bowl). But they don't have to only be enjoyed when dining out—bread bowls are actually easy to make at home. And once you've made one, you may find a variety of ways to use a bread bowl, from chowders and creamy soups to chunky stews and party dips.
What You Need
The best loaves to make bread bowls are those that are round or slightly oval, which is most commonly sourdough and Italian. But you may be able to find other types at bakeries that make artisan round white bread or multigrain loaves.
To make the bread bowl "leakproof," you need to coat the inside with oil, so have ready some olive oil and a basting brush.
How to Make a Bread Bowl
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut about 1/2 inch off the top of the loaf with a serrated knife.
- Hollow out the bread by removing some of the bread from the inside. Leave about 1 1/2 inches of bread along the sides and bottom.
- Using your basting brush, brush olive oil on the inside of the bread bowl. This creates a seal, ensuring whatever you put in the bread bowl will not leak out.
- Place the bread bowl on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until golden on the inside. Remove from the oven, and fill with desired soup or stew while still warm.
- To remove the bread from the inside of the loaf, you can simply scoop it out using your hands. Or, if you prefer a quicker and slightly neater method, use a knife to cut sections first and then scoop out.
- Save the bread to turn into croutons or breadcrumbs. If you have removed the inside as pieces, you can cut into cubes and toast in the oven. Then serve the croutons on top of the soup in the bread bowl, or save for later use. If the bread is in clumps, you can process it in a food processor and use as soft breadcrumbs to top casseroles and as filler in meatballs and meatloaf.
- For personal servings of dips and soups, make bread bowls out of small dinner rolls. Just be sure to keep enough bread inside to prevent the bowl from collapsing.
- You can also save the top of the bread, brush olive oil on the underside, and bake along with the bowl. Then serve the bread bowl with a "lid" for a fun presentation.
- A bread bowl is not just for soups, stews, and dips, it is also an interesting way to serve a salad, especially panzanella.