Week 3 of Bread: Bread Bowls
You know what I love most about blogging? With a little dedication, time and encouragement, a virtual community starts forming and the flow of ideas starts going both directs – me to you and you back to me. Actually, I guess ideas really start flowing three ways when you consider readers sharing hints with other readers in the comments section. In short, you guys rock!
Why the sudden outpouring of love? Well, the Yeast Primer post got a lot of great discussion going in the comments, and I’ve started getting regular emails with helpful ideas and recipes too. For example, the base recipe for today’s Seasoned Bread Bowls, the last of the bread recipes until next winter probably, comes from reader, Kim, and it helped me to offer an easy method for making bread bowls, a request made by another loyal reader, my mom.
The original recipe was meant for baguettes, I believe, but I thought the seasoned dough would make nice bowls for soups too, adding a little extra flavor in the background. This dough was very interesting to work with as it wasn’t like any other I’ve made before. It started with making a batter! And then beating that batter until it was nearly frothy wiht a heady yeast smell. Then it became a very fast riser and generally much shorter process from start to finish, which is perfect if you’re trying to get a bunch of them together for a dinner party.
Thanks to the milk, butter and egg, the resulting crumb of the bread is very light and soft with a good crust – perfect for bread bowls. The seasoning wasn’t as prominent as I expected so I’ve added some extra in the recipe below that I think will give it a boost. I found I liked my second bread bowl better than the first since it had sat for a day, getting ever so slightly stale (I forgot to seal the bag) and developing its flavors more.
I don’t have any to test it on, but I think this would be a great recipe to get the kids involved with, particularly the shaping of the dough balls. The dough is super easy, even downright fun, to work with so have them thump it around a bit and then use their little hands, which are much better proportioned than adult hands, to rotate the dough to form small taught balls. And how excited will the be to then eat their soup out of the bread bowls? I know I sure was!
SEASONED BREAD BOWLS
Recipe adapted from one submitted by reader, Kim, and her mom
4-5 c. white bread flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 T. wheat gluten
2 packages of rapid rise yeast
1 package of Ranch-style Buttermilk Dressing Mix, 2 t. reserved
1 t. garlic salt
1 t. dried dill
1 ½ c. buttermilk
½ c. water
¼ c. margarine
1 egg, beaten
1 t. salt dissolved in warm water
1 T. melted butter
Combine 2 cups of the white flour with the yeast, wheat gluten, and the Ranch mix (reserving 2 teaspoons) in a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, melt the quarter cup of margarine. Add the water and buttermilk and heat until warm.
Add the warmed buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Add the egg and mix vigorously for about three minutes until you can really smell the yeast and the batter is noticeably airy. Gradually stir in the wheat flour and then as much of the remaining white flour as needed to form a firm dough.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for five minutes or more until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turn the dough over to grease both sides. Cover and let rise in a warm spot, such as on top of a warm stove or radiator, for 20-30 minutes. If it’s not rising, you can use the oven on its lowest setting to give the dough a boost.
Punch dough down and divide into eight equal pieces. Press a piece out into a rough rectangle and fold over in thirds like a business letter. Turn dough over, forming a ball, and rotate with your palms against the counter until a taught surface forms on the dough ball. Set on a parchment lined baking sheet and repeat with each remaining piece of dough. Place four balls evenly apart per baking sheet.
Cover dough balls and let rise in the warm spot again for about 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 F. Brush the tops of each dough ball with salted water and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom. Once removed from the oven, brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with some of the remaining Racnh dressing mix.
Store in a ziplock bag until ready to use. Cut off a thin slice from the top of each bread bowl and scoop out the insides. Fill with hot soup and serve immediately. These little bread bowls also work well for serving dip or really thick burger rolls.
(makes 8 bread bowls)