Sourdough Bread Bowls

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Sourdough bread bowls are a delicious way to serve your favorite soup.  

The crisp crust and chewy inside pair wonderfully with creamy or broth based soup-and the best part?  You get to eat the bread bowl as you go!  This recipe is adapted from my Artisanal Sourdough Loaves and makes six individual sized boules of bread.  If you’re familiar with my original recipe, this one will be a breeze.

sourdough bread bowl serving

 

What you need to make the sourdough bread bowls:

sourdough bread bowl ingredients

Sourdough Starter

You need an active sourdough starter for this recipe.  I feed my starter daily, so it is always ready to use.  If you store your starter in the refrigerator, make sure you pull it out at least two days before you plan on baking.  Feeding it at least two times will refresh the starter enough to make beautiful loaves of bread.

Leaven

A leaven is the building block for this sourdough bread.  It begins with a small amount of sourdough starter that is fed whole-wheat flour and water.  To jumpstart the fermentation, the leaven needs to rise somewhere around 80ºF.  My oven has a proof setting that works perfectly for this step.  If you don’t have that setting, keep it in the oven with the light turned on (it may take a little longer to double in size though).

Water

For best result, always use warm filtered water when making sourdough bread.  I have a Britta Water Filter Dispenser that I keep in my refrigerator-I use this to top off glass pitcher that I store on the counter for my daily starter feedings.  When I’m ready to make the leaven, I set the glass in hot water for a few minutes until it reaches 80ºF.

Bread Flour

The bulk of this loaf is bread flour-the high protein content gives the bread a beautiful chewy texture.

Whole-Wheat Flour

The whole-wheat flour is used in two ways.  First, in the leaven to jump start the fermentation.  Whole-wheat flour contains more nutrients than all purpose or bread flour, so the yeast has more to eat.  Second, it lends a more robust flavor and texture to the final bread.

Salt

I use Mortons Coarse Kosher salt.  It takes a little time to work into the dough, but that isn’t a bad thing.  If you are using a finer salt it will dissolve into the dough much faster.

Equipment and supplies you need to make the sourdough bread bowls:

Linen or Cotton napkins

You will need six cotton or linen napkins to line the bowls for the overnight proof.  

Soup Bowls

After the bread dough is shaped, soup bowls are used for the final proof.  Normally, a banneton basket is used, but in this case soup bowls work perfectly!  It can be glass, ceramic or plastic-just make sure that the bottom is more round than flat.  You want a bowl that will “cradle” the dough as it grows in size. The ones I use are about five and a half inches wide.   

Baking stone

A ceramic baking stone is essential.  It gets pre-heated, so the bread starts to form a crust as soon as it hits the oven (you can also use it to make awesome pizzas!).

Peel

A wood peel makes transferring the dough in and out of the oven SO much easier!

How to make the sourdough bread bowls:

STEP 1

Make the leaven

The night before you begin, feed your starter so it is refreshed and ready to build the leaven (about 8-12 hours ahead of time).  I build my leaven first thing in the morning.  To begin, mix the starter and warm filtered water in a small jar or bowl.  Add the whole-wheat flour and mix until there are no more dry lumps.  Cover and proof at 80ºF for four hours.   My oven has a proof setting that stays just above 80ºF.  A good alternative is to keep the bowl in your oven with the light on.   The leaven is ready to use when it has doubled in size, looks really active, and has bubbles breaking on the surface.

artisanal sourdough bread bowls leaven rise

STEP 2

Make the dough

When the leaven is ready, make the bread dough.  In a large bowl, add the leaven and 600 grams of warm water.  Stir to break up the leaven.  Add the remaining flours and mix.  Knead the dough by hand until there are no more dry bits of flour (it will be very sticky).  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover, and rest for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle 18 grams of salt on the surface and pinch into the dough with a wet hand.  Continue to mix until all of the salt has dissolved.  Cover again and rest in a warm spot for 4 hours of bulk fermentation. 

artisanal sourdough baguettes mixing the dough  

STEP 3

Bulk fermentation

While bulk fermenting, you will need to stretch and fold the dough every 30 minutes.  With a wet hand, scoop one quarter of the dough from the bottom of the bowl.  Stretch upwards as far as it will naturally pull and fold it back onto the center of the dough.  Rotate the bowl and repeat three more times, so that all of the dough has been stretched.  Cover and place the bowl back in a warm spot to continue proofing.

artisanal sourdough baguettes stretch and fold

STEP 4

Dividing the dough

After the four hours are up, the dough will have grown substantially and will have a very supple texture.  At this point, quickly scrape the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface with a bowl scraper.  Divide the dough into six pieces with a bench scraper. 

sourdough bread bowls six portions of dough

Starting with one portion of the dough, bring the top, bottom, left, and right sides to the center-starting to form a ball.  Bring the remaining four corners to the center, tightening the shape.  Use the bench scraper to pick up the dough and flip it over onto the seam.  Gently round the ball with the side of your hand and the bench scraper.

sourdough bread bowls shaping process how to make round boules

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

sourdough bread bowls six portions shaped

STEP 5

Shaping the dough

To form the dough into the final boule shape, flip one of the dough balls onto a well floured surface.  Loosen the top and bottom corners to from a long rectangular shape.  Pull the top edge down to the center.  Pinch a small amount of dough from the left and right sides and bring to the center.  Overlap the dough as you work your way down, like you are stitching the seam together.  Once you get to the bottom, tightly roll the dough up towards the top.  Use a bench scraper to flip the dough over.  Roll the dough between the edges of your palms to tighten and form more of a ball shape.  

sourdough bread bowls final shaping

STEP 6

Final Proof

For the final proof, you will need cotton or linen napkins and soup bowls.  Line the bowls with the napkins and generously dust with flour.  Once the bread is rolled into the final shape, transfer into the lined bowl and fold over the flaps of the napkin to cover the dough.  Once all six portions are covered, place in the refrigerator to proof overnight.  

sourdough bread bowls proofing

 

STEP 7

Scoring and Baking

Pre-heat your oven to 475º F with a ceramic baking stone on the middle rack and a heavy metal sheet tray on the bottom rack.  When you are ready to bake the first batch of bread bowls, (it will bake in two batches) transfer three rounds of dough onto a sheet of 12×16” parchment paper set atop a wood peel. Sprinkle over flour and quickly make four slashes (to form a box) with a bread lame or razor blade.  For an extra flourish, I like to add a wheat design to the center.

sourdough bread bowls scoring peal

 To bake, quickly slide the parchment paper off the peel onto the hot baking stone.  Pour 1/2 cup of ice onto the hot baking tray.  The steam will form a beautiful crust.  Bake at 475ºF for 25 minutes.

sourdough bread bowls baked on sheet trays

Now for the hardest part…wait until the bread is completely cool before serving!  I know it is so tempting, but this ensures that the inside reaches the perfect texture.

 

How to serve sourdough bread bowls:

To turn the boules into bread bowls, cut into the bread along the square design.  A serrated knife works best for this job.  Try to cut at an angle (towards the side of the bowl) so you have lots of room for the soup.  Pull off the top and scoop out any extra bread. 

sourdough bread bowls how to prepare

 Ladle in your favorite soup and serve with the lid!  As you finish the soup be sure to pull off pieces of bread to enjoy!  

Sourdough bread bowls soup ladle

Store any unused bread in a bag at room temperature for a week, or wrap tightly and store in the freezer for one month.

Sourdough Bread Bowls

The crisp crust and chewy inside pair wonderfully with creamy or broth based soup-and the best part?  You get to eat the bread as you go!
Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Proofing/Fermenting Time: 1 day 8 hours
Course: Main Course, Soup
Keyword: sourdough
Makes: 6 Bread bowls
Author: Corey Grimsley

Equipment

  • 6 Cotton or linen napkins
  • Six 5-6” wide soup bowls
  • Wood Peel
  • 12x16” parchment paper
  • Baking Stone

Ingredients

Leaven

  • 25 grams sourdough starter fed and still at peak
  • 50 grams whole-wheat flour
  • 50 grams water filtered, 80ºF

Bread Dough

  • 125 grams leaven as prepared above
  • 600 grams water filtered, 80ºF
  • 625 grams bread flour
  • 175 grams whole-wheat flour
  • 18 grams salt I use Mortons Coarse Kosher

Instructions

  • Prepare the leaven. 
    Mix the starter and water in a small jar or bowl.  Add the flour and mix until there are no more dry lumps.  Cover and proof at 80ºF for four hours.  The leaven is ready to use when it has doubled in size, looks really active, and has bubbles breaking on the surface.
  • Make the dough.  
    In a large bowl, add the leaven and 600 grams of warm water.  Stir to break up the leaven.  Add the remaining flours and mix.  Knead the dough by hand until there are no more dry bits of flour (it will be very sticky).  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover, and rest for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle 18 grams of salt on the surface and pinch into the dough with a wet hand.  Continue to mix until all of the salt has dissolved.  Cover again and rest in a warm spot for 4 hours of bulk fermentation. 
  • Bulk fermentation. 
    While bulk fermenting, you will need to stretch and fold the dough every 30 minutes.  With a wet hand, scoop one quarter of the dough from the bottom of the bowl.  Stretch upwards as far as it will naturally pull and fold it back onto the center of the dough.  Rotate the bowl and repeat three more times, so that all of the dough has been stretched.  Cover and place the bowl back in a warm spot to continue proofing.
  • Dividing the dough
    After the four hours are up, the dough will have grown substantially and will have a very supple texture.  At this point, quickly scrape the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface with a bowl scraper.  Divide the dough into six pieces with a bench scraper. Starting with one portion of the dough, bring the top, bottom, left, and right sides to the center-starting to form a ball.  Bring the remaining four corners to the center, tightening the shape.  Use the bench scraper to pick up the dough and flip it over onto the seam.  Gently round the ball with the side of your hand and the bench scraper. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  • Shaping the dough
    To form the dough into the final boule shape, flip one of the dough balls onto a well floured surface.  Loosen the top and bottom corners to from a long rectangular shape.  Pull the top edge down to the center.  Pinch a small amount of dough from the left and right sides and bring to the center.  Overlap the dough as you work your way down, like you are stitching the seam together.  Once you get to the bottom, tightly roll the dough up towards the top.  Use a bench scraper to flip the dough over.  Roll the dough between the edges of your palms to tighten and form more of a ball shape.  
  • Final Proof
    For the final proof, you will need cotton or linen napkins and soup bowls.  Line the bowls with the napkins and generously dust with flour.  Once the bread is rolled into the final shape, transfer into the lined bowl and fold over the flaps of the napkin to cover the dough.  Once all six portions are covered, place in the refrigerator to proof overnight.  
  • Scoring and Baking
    Pre-heat your oven to 475º F with a ceramic baking stone on the middle rack and a heavy metal sheet tray on the bottom rack.  When you are ready to bake the first batch of bread bowls, (it will bake in two batches) transfer three rounds of dough onto a sheet of 12×16” parchment paper set atop a wood peel. Sprinkle over flour and quickly make four slashes (to form a box) with a bread lame or razor blade.  For an extra flourish, I like to add a wheat design to the center.
    To bake, quickly slide the parchment paper off the peel onto the hot baking stone.  Pour 1/2 cup of ice onto the hot baking tray.  The steam will form a beautiful crust.  Bake at 475ºF for 25 minutes.
  • Allow the bread to cool completely before serving for the best texture.
  • How to Serve the Sourdough Bread Bowls
    To turn the boules into bread bowls, cut into the bread along the square design.  A serrated knife works best for this job.  Try to cut at an angle (towards the side of the bowl) so you have lots of room for the soup.  Pull off the top and scoop out any extra bread.  Ladle in your favorite soup and serve with the lid!  As you finish the soup be sure to pull off pieces of bread to enjoy!  

Notes

  • For best results, feed your starter 8 hours before making the leaven.
  • Allow the bread to cool completely before serving.
  • Store any unused bread in a bag at room temperature for a week, or wrap tightly and store in the freezer for one month  
Did you try this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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About me

Corey Grimsley

I’m an artist and art restorer who spends an equal amount of time in the kitchen. Follow along as I put an artisanal touch on all of my bakes!

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