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Old 01-03-2018, 12:30 PM   #1
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Bread bowls for soup?

In spite of title, I am familiar with soup bowls made from hollowed out bread. I havenít had one in years, I think the last time I went San Francisco.

What I donít get is why there are recipes for soup bowl bread? Wouldnít any standard French or Italian loaf, formed into the iconic shape and hollowed out, do as well? Or is there something special about soup bowl bread that makes it hold the soup better?

Just out of curiosity, I looked at a few of the recipes on-line. They all contained a blend of flours (either bread flour and whole wheat flour, or bread flour and AP flour), they all had a bit of oil (not butter), but there didnít seem to be anything inherently different about them. And no bigas or poolishes. I would think that a biga would add structure to dough so the bread would hold up to the soup a bit better. And I would probably either but a pan of hot water in the oven, or bake the bread in a cast iron Dutch oven, to get that nice crackly French bread crust.

But I digress. So, can anyone tell me if there are dough differences peculiar to soup bowl bread?

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Old 01-04-2018, 12:10 PM   #2
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I can't help you with any info on recipes for soup bowl bread, and I've never put soup into a loaf of bread. However, I think that dutch oven bread would work as well as any bread. I often make bread in a 3 qt. dutch oven (half of the regular recipe - 200 g. flour, 150 g. water). The crust is fairly substantial, especially on the bottom. I think that it would be a good size for soup.

I found the best deal on these small dutch ovens at Kohls on Black Friday. I picked up another one this year for $15. It's a Food Network brand (which I think is exclusive to Kohls) enameled dutch oven. Not up to Le Creuset quality, but fine for bread.
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Old 01-04-2018, 12:39 PM   #3
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I think a Wisconsin Beer Cheese Soup in a bread bowl would be pretty tasty.

I'm not sure an exclusive soup bowl recipe is necessary. Whatever makes a nice crispy brown exterior, soft crumb inside, so French, Italian, Sourdough. I'd eat 'em. And to gussy it up for serving, a nice bread cap on top, cut like a Halloween pumpkin so when you lift the top off you get a nice warm soup smell too. Yum.
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Old 01-04-2018, 03:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by tenspeed View Post
I can't help you with any info on recipes for soup bowl bread, and I've never put soup into a loaf of bread. However, I think that dutch oven bread would work as well as any bread. I often make bread in a 3 qt. dutch oven (half of the regular recipe - 200 g. flour, 150 g. water). The crust is fairly substantial, especially on the bottom. I think that it would be a good size for soup.

I found the best deal on these small dutch ovens at Kohls on Black Friday. I picked up another one this year for $15. It's a Food Network brand (which I think is exclusive to Kohls) enameled dutch oven. Not up to Le Creuset quality, but fine for bread.
Thanks. I’m not really planning on making any soup bowls in the near future. I was just curious as to why there are recipes specifically written for soup bowl bread. It seems disingenuous to take a perfectly good recipe for French bread, and, without changing the recipe, renaming it “soup bowl bread.” If I were king of the world (yeah, that’s gonna happen any day now!), I would insist that “soup bowl bread” be included in a recipe as an addendum, like “this bread would make a great soup bowl. Bake it round and hollow it.”

It’s been many years since I had soup in a bread bowl. Fisherman’s Wharf, clam chowder, I don’t remember being very impressed, though Mom was nearly giddy!
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Old 01-04-2018, 06:27 PM   #5
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Personally, I prefer my soup in a crockery bowl with a couple of slices of good bread and butter on the side. Most of the time when I see someone having this in a restaurant, most of the "bowl" just goes uneaten anyway.
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:02 PM   #6
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Any bread can work depending on your want. Yo say French or Italian bread I say mmmmm yum. But some other people my love there beef soup in rye bread or even a chowder in pumpernickel.

The original idea behind the soup bowl was to stretch a meal and a penny when flour was a cheap staple. So if that’s the case they’d use what they had locally.

If you look French, English, Dutch, American,Canadian, etc and so on if you could look back 100 or 200 Years breads would be based of local or supplied ingredients and fashioned depending on what kind of people immigrated to that area.

So people get posh about somethings now but if your bowl is bread it can’t be wrong if it suits your taste.
On that note some breads will absorb everything like a sponge leaving little broth and some are denser acting more like a bowl. So to each there own.

My 2cents anyway
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:44 PM   #7
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One thing I look forward to on skiing trips is a good, thick, creamy soup like New England clam chowder in a bread bowl.

Other faves are broccoli cheese soup, tomato basil, and split pea with ham.

Besides the soup type being of a thick viscosity, the bread bowl should be made from a very dense, thick crusted bread recipe in order to hold the soup.

Thin soups, or flaky bread wouldn't work.
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Old 01-04-2018, 11:18 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by buckytom View Post
One thing I look forward to on skiing trips is a good, thick, creamy soup like New England clam chowder in a bread bowl.

Other faves are broccoli cheese soup, tomato basil, and split pea with ham.

Besides the soup type being of a thick viscosity, the bread bowl should be made from a very dense, thick crusted bread recipe in order to hold the soup.

Thin soups, or flaky bread wouldn't work.
All those soups sound warmiful (my husband coined that word)! Why a bread bowl though?

And what type of dough would you use to make one? I’m seriously thinking about it, just for the spits and giggles even though I find it a bit too faddish.

I was thinking an Italian loaf made with a biga to strengthen the dough...
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Old 01-04-2018, 11:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Kevin86 View Post
Any bread can work depending on your want. Yo say French or Italian bread I say mmmmm yum. But some other people my love there beef soup in rye bread or even a chowder in pumpernickel.

The original idea behind the soup bowl was to stretch a meal and a penny when flour was a cheap staple. So if that’s the case they’d use what they had locally.

If you look French, English, Dutch, American,Canadian, etc and so on if you could look back 100 or 200 Years breads would be based of local or supplied ingredients and fashioned depending on what kind of people immigrated to that area.

So people get posh about somethings now but if your bowl is bread it can’t be wrong if it suits your taste.
On that note some breads will absorb everything like a sponge leaving little broth and some are denser acting more like a bowl. So to each there own.

My 2cents anyway
I think a rye would be very nice with a hearty barley or lentil stew! But can’t one just serve the bread on the side, with lots of European style butter? And stretching a penny by serving soup in bread bowls seems to defeat the purpose. A loaf of bread will last at least a few days, but one bread bowl is done after one meal. Wouldn’t it make more economic sense to buy really cheap soup bowls and serve the bread on the side?

Very interesting commentary though. And certainly throughout history, people haven’t really thought things through, particularly if they’re hungry and don’t know where the next meal is coming from. Thanks!
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Old 01-04-2018, 11:28 PM   #10
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Personally, I prefer my soup in a crockery bowl with a couple of slices of good bread and butter on the side. Most of the time when I see someone having this in a restaurant, most of the "bowl" just goes uneaten anyway.
I would have to agree! But I think I’m gonna make it anyway, just once for spits and giggles, and to satisfy my curiosity. Who knows? I might be on Master Chef and have to make one (lol don’t hold your breath. Please.)
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