Sourdough Bread Bowls
Sourdough bread bowls are the perfect vehicle for serving your favorite hearty soups and party dips! This recipe is an adaptation on my easy bread bowl recipe but I’ve kicked it up a notch by using sourdough starter for an extra depth of flavor.
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Techniques Used: How to Make a Sourdough Starter
As all sourdough bread lovers know, sourdough starter gives bread an extra depth of delicious sour flavor. There are so many ways to use sourdough starter and making homemade bread bowls is one of my favorites!
These edible bowls are crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. The best way to serve up these yummy bowls is filling with a hot, creamy soup or a hot or cold dip like spinach dip.
Why you should make sourdough bread bowls
- An edible bowl is a fun and delicious way to eat your favorite soup!
- Not only soup but these bowls are a great way to serve hot or cold dips perfect for game day!
- Instead of throwing it away, use up your sourdough discard in this bread bowl recipe.
- Crusty on the outside and soft, pillowy on the inside – you will love the flavor and texture of these bowls!
How to Make Homemade Sourdough Bread Bowls
Bread bowl recipes uses basic ingredients like flour, salt, and water. The ingredient that makes the bread dough rise in the oven can either be dry yeast (like in my easy homemade bread bowl recipe) or active sourdough starter, as we are making here.
Make the Dough
The first step to sourdough bread bowls is to make the dough. Combine the active starter with the warmed water in the recipe and use a rubber spatula to distribute it.
Over the top of the water, add the flour and salt and mix together. After mixing together as best you can with a spatula, use your hands to pinch and squeeze the dough until all of the flour is mixed in.
Dust a clean work surface with additional flour and knead the dough by hand for about 5-6 minutes until smooth and elastic. It doesn’t have to be super well kneaded because of the long fermentation time. You can also knead it in a stand mixer fit with the dough hook attachment at medium speed for about 3-4 minutes. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean towel (a shower cap also works really well!) and set it in a warm place. Let it bulk ferment at room temperature for about 6 hours. I like to make my bread bowl dough in the morning so that it’s ready to shape and bake right before dinnertime.
Shape the Dough
After bulk fermenting, gently press down on the dough with your hand to deflate it.
Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. I like to use a kitchen scale to equally divide out 4 pieces of dough. However, this extra step is optional and you can simply eyeball the dough into 4 pieces.
Working one quarter of dough at a time, pull up on the sides and pinch together. Flip the dough ball over so that the seam side is down. Place the palm of your hand over the top of the ball and roll in a circular motion, keeping the seam side down to seal.
Transfer the rolls to a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap. Let proof for another 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Bake the Bread Bowls
After proofing, lightly dust the bowls with flour and use a sharp knife or bread lame to slash the top of the bowls with an X pattern. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and crusty.
Cut the Bowls and Fill
Let the bread cool slightly. Use a pairing or small serrated knife to cut a circle out of the top of the bowls. Use a fork to scoop out some of the extra bread so that you have enough room in the bowl to fill. Reserve the extra bread pieces for dipping.
Fill up the bowls with your favorite soup or dip.
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN MY SOURDOUGH STARTER IS READY TO PUT IN DOUGH?
To check if your sourdough starter is ready to bake with, gently drop a spoonful of the starter into a glass of water. If it floats, you are good to put it in your dough. You should have a several hour time frame when your starter is vigorous enough to leaven dough.
Here is an in-depth video guide on Understanding Sourdough Starter including how to feed your starter and how to bake with it.
WHAT CAN I SERVE OUT OF A BREAD BOWL?
My favorite dishes to serve out of bread bowls are thick, hearty soups like this chicken & potato chowder from Damn Delicious, broccoli cheddar soup, clam chowder, tomato soup, and chili. A thick and creamy soup, as opposed to a thin broth-based soup, is more ideal for bread bowls as it won’t leak out or absorb too much into the bread.
Dips served in bread bowls are a beautiful and creative addition to any party table. Classics include spinach dip, queso, baked brie, French onion dip, and hummus.
CAN I MAKE SMALLER SOURDOUGH BOWLS?
Yes! For smaller bread bowls, divide the dough into 6 balls instead of 4. This makes the perfect size bread bowl for kids and smaller portions of dips.
STORAGE & MAKE-AHEAD INSTRUCTIONS
How to Store Sourdough Bread Bowls: After baking, let the bowls cool to room temperature. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Do not cut the tops off the bowls until ready to fill. To refresh, bake at 300°F/150°C for about 10 minutes.
How to Make-Ahead Sourdough Bread Bowls: After bulk fermenting the dough, gently press it down with your hands to deflate, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and then continue with the step of shaping the dough. You may need to proof the dough balls for longer as the dough might still be cold.
- 150 grams active ripe starter
- 420 grams (1 ¾ cups, 420 milliliters) filtered water, warmed to 90ºF/ 32°C
- 660 grams (5 ½ cups) unbleached all purpose flour or bread flour
- 13 grams (2 ¼ teaspoons) kosher salt
- 1 large egg, optional for egg wash
- 1 tablespoon water, optional for egg wash
To make the dough
- In a large mixing bowl, combine active starter (150 grams) with warm water (420 grams/ 1 ¾ cups). Mix together until the starter is distributed in the water. Add the flour (660 grams/ 5 ½ cups) on top followed by the salt (13 grams/ 2 ½ teaspoons). Mix all of the ingredients together until the flour is completely saturated. Start with a rubber spatula and then use your hands to finish mixing.
- Dust a clean work surface with additional flour and knead the dough by hand for about 5-6 minutes until smooth and elastic. Alternatively, you can do this in a stand mixer fit with the dough hook attachment at medium speed for about 3-4 minutes. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky.
- Grease a clean large bowl with oil or nonstick cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let bulk ferment in a warm spot for about 6 hours.
To Shape the Dough
- Gently deflate the dough by pressing in the center.
- Optional Step: Weigh the dough by transferring it to a clean bowl on top of a scale. Take the total weight of the dough and divide it by 4. This amount will be the weight of each bread bowl.
- Gently transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface or countertop. Use a bench knife to divide the dough into quarters. Weigh each piece and add a small piece or remove a small piece of dough until you have the targeted weight. Alternatively, you can skip weighing the dough and divide it into 4 equal portions (simply eyeball it).
- Working one quarter of dough at a time, pull up on the sides and pinch together. Flip the dough ball over so that the seam side is down. Place the palm of your hand over the top of the ball and roll in a circular motion, keeping the seam side down to seal.
- Transfer the rolls to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let rise for another 45 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size.
TO BAKE THE BREAD BOWLS
- Preheat oven to 425ºF/ 220°C.
- After the rolls are done proofing, use a sharp knife or bread lame to score an "x" shape into the top of each roll.
- As an optional step, whisk together the egg (one large) and water (1 tablespoon) and gently brush the egg wash over the rolls. This will give the bread bowls a shiny exterior.
- Bake for 28-32 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
- Cool on a wire rack before cutting tops off.