Basic Bread Bowl Recipe

    I start out with a trip to my favorite bakery to get as many rounds of bread as I need. That's right -- I don't make them from scratch. Feel free to try that route if you'd like. I'd just as soon spend that time making my soup from scratch. I pick out sourdough, whole grain or French rounds to suit the soup that I'm planning. I told the baker about my plans for the rounds once and shortly thereafter, hollowed-out rounds began appearing on the bakery shelves that were labeled "bread bowls". It was a great idea and nice if you're in a hurry, but I'd rather purchase the whole rounds and keep the insides for bread crumbs or homemade croutons!

    Once I get your bread rounds home, I ignore them for a bit while I get the soup started. I usually don't worry about them until about 20 minutes before I'm ready to serve my meal. When that time arrives, I get a sharp paring knife and cut a 3-4" diameter circle out of the top of each bread round. Then, using my fingers, I pull the top off and set it aside. Then it's time to work away the inside of each bread round -- leaving about 1" of bread on the walls and bottom. I usually put all the removed insides into a resealable bag and send them to the freezer to be used as bread crumbs or croutons in another life!

    Now that I have some bread rounds that actually resemble bowls, I lightly spray the insides of the bowl with olive oil and rub some crushed garlic onto the walls of the bowls if it will enhance the flavor of the soup -- which, in my case, is almost always true. Then, the bowls and their reserved covers get popped into a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until the bread turns a golden brown.

    Finally, it's time to enjoy a tasty homemade soup in a slightly cripsy bread bowl. I begin by scraping small bits of bread into the soup and bringing them to my mouth with spoonfuls of hot soup. Then, as the bowl begins to empty, small pieces of the bowl are torn from the top and generously dipped into the soup. By the time the bowl is empty, the bottom crust has softened slightly and taken on the full flavor of the soup that was served in it. After enjoying it bite by bite, dinner is done!

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