The broccoli soup will be on tomorrow's post or possibly Tuesday's (I have a paper to write tomorrow. Sigh), since you have to make these bread bowls in advance. The dough must have the chance to rise overnight, so it's best to bake them off the next morning, the day you are eating the soup. But, these bread bowls make great gifts too. Here we go!
For 4 bread bowls, you need the following:
|Bowls, measuring devices, yeast, salt, flour, a cooking utensil |
(Dutch Oven) and water (not pictured, too shy)
Fill your 4 plastic bowls with these things:
1 1/2 cups flour in each bowl
3/4 tsp. salt in each bowl
|Someone didn't measure this very precisely. Oh well.|
|That's right. I'm a professional photographer. HA!|
Okay, next up, you need to combine 1 c of warm water with 1 1/8 teaspoon of dry active yeast for EACH bowl of flour and salt, and then let it sit for 8 minutes so the yeast can wake up. A side note about yeast: if the water is too hot, you kill the yeast deader than a doornail. If the water is too cold, the yeast just shivers and huddles inside it's yeasty fur coat and does absolutely nothing. Ok done with Yeast/101.
I just did four cups of warm water with the yeast to make it easier for myself:
|Yeast with warm water! Any questions?|
Pour one cup of the yeast and water mixture into each bowl with the flour and salt. Stir with a rubber spatula until mixed, but don't over do it! The mixture should be sticky, maybe a little watery even. That's ok, this is a new way to make bread, the lazy way. Here is a visual:
|The lighting here is atrocious|
The one in the middle of these three is PERFECT, but don't worry, this recipe is extremely forgiving. You can add a bit more warm water if your dough is too stiff, like the first bowl (to the left), or a bit more flour if it's too watery like the third bowl (on the right). Or don't. They will all turn out brilliantly anyway.
|The middle bowl is what we are looking for, but all of |
these will bake up nicely. Sweet!
Ok that's it. You are done for the night; the last thing to do is cover your bowls with plastic wrap, or if you don't have plastic wrap (guilty) and your bowls are deep enough that the bread won't rise over the tops, you can cover with a clean kitchen towel. Here's how I roll:
|Funny story...I did this once with a shallow bowl and half|
of my dough was stuck to the kitchen towel the next
morning. Ok it wasn't funny at the time, but I feel
that you should learn from my mistakes.
Ok so the next day, after you've had your coffee and breakfast, here's what's up next. Grab your Dutch oven (hopefully it's well-seasoned) and throw it in the oven, and crank that baby up to 475*. Now, it is sort of important to have a Dutch oven to do this with, and if you don't have one of these very useful instruments of cooking splendor, you owe it to yourself and your future descendents to get one. Literally, you can pick a nice, cast iron model up at Walmart for $22.87, I just checked. Mine was passed down to me from my stepfather, and no, you cannot have it. Here it is in the oven, preheating. And, apparently, it's time to clean the oven.
|A gift from Nick|
While your Dutch oven is preheating, pour your dough out onto a heavily floured surface. I mean HEAVY on the flour, this dough is super sticky. Fold the dough onto itself four times, and let it rest a few minutes while the oven is preaheating. In fact, if you have the counter space, do the same for another bowl of dough while you're waiting. Oh yeah, I repurposed some plastic wrap from a package of tortillas we finished off, to use as a barrier between the dough and my counter. For some reason, it just sticks to my countertops no matter how much flour I use, so this way works good for me. If you have a sticking problem, try this out.
|Sticky and elastic is the goal here|
Try to shape the dough into a nice round ball; it will sink into itself but it should stay round. I use the plastic wrap to sort of lift all corners and make it the shape I want it. Once you've got it rounded out, place it in the Dutch oven CAREFULLY: remember, that sucker is screaming hot! Usually I try to drop it in the center of the Dutch oven, but if you hit the side, DO NOT try to fix it. The pan is so hot that it starts cooking the bottom right away. I know from painful experience that where you drop it in the Dutch oven is just where it is staying. Period. So drop carefully.
I peeked at it while it was cooking. I couldn't help it! It smelled so yummy.
The bread needs to cook for 25 minutes, each one. No more, and no less. For some reason, 25 minutes is exactly the right amount of time, even if you are making a bigger loaf of bread. It's the oddest thing. So next, take your bread bowl out of the Dutch oven very carefully; I use a metal spatula to lift it out of the pan so I can grab it. And no, there's no picture of that, what do you think I am, an octopus?! I can't spatula, lift, grab, and photograph at the same time you know! But isn't it beautiful?
You can slice off some pieces and make delicious paninis with it, or you can chop off the top, hollow it out, and put soup in it (that's next); use it for sandwiches, make crostini with it, or spread any number of concoctions of deliciousness on it...anything where a few nice slices of artisan style bread is just what is needed. Enjoy!