Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bread Bowls as Party Appetizers - Super Bowl or Other

My Kitchen Aid Mixer Bread, just baked
While Super Bowl is coming soon, there are always parties, get-togethers and celebrations to plan for. The other day, my husband was talking about bread bowls as a concept. I have eaten at places that use bread bowls for a soup or stew, but have never made them. I had just made some really delicious Guinness Chili con Carne a couple of days prior, and that recipe uses 3 pounds of meat, so there was plenty left. I figured I would make some bread bowls and see how they worked. 

My Kitchen Aid Mixer Bread Bowl, Chili inside
I make all our bread here at home. Once in a while I do buy buns for burgers or Sloppy Joes, but often I make buns, also. We were out of bread and it was time to make a batch, so I started as usual, with what I call My Kitchen Aid Mixer Bread. Not an advertisement for a Kitchen Aid, per se, though I love mine, but since that is what I use nowadays to make my bread, that is what I called it. The recipe is an adaptation of a lovely, rich egg bread that came from my Mom and Grandma. It is so great for everything, like sliced bread for sandwiches or toast, cloverleaf or other roll shapes, doughnuts, buns. This time I was going to try the bread bowls. 

As it turned out, for a single serving, one loaf of bread will make 4 bread bowls. I used a little more flour than usual, to make them a bit more hearty, the better to withstand hot chili inside. These turned out wonderfully, and with the chili inside they were, well, pretty as a picture. This was wonderful and heartening, so I decided to try this out with my Tuscan Italian Bread recipe, below.  

Large Tuscan Italian Bread Bowl
Large Tuscan Italian Bread Bowl
I love this recipe for Tuscan Italian Bread, because it is just slightly soured. A simple starter can be made 1 to 3 days in advance, giving it just enough time to make the flavor interesting. It is wonderful with an Italian or other flavorful meal. I made it, allowing a two day start this time. I used one half of the dough, since this recipe makes 2 loaves. I divided it into two sections, but they seemed so very small, so I thought instead I would just make 2 bread bowls out of that one loaf. 

Well! These grew a lot. More than I thought they might. Maybe I was just not thinking clearly, because I know for a fact this bread makes two very nice sized loaves. Surely, dividing the one loaf into 4 pieces should have been fine. It will be, in the future. In the meantime, these half-loaf sized bowls are nicer as a serving type bread bowl. Today I made my husband's favorite dip, with process cheese and a can of chili. I put it into the remaining Italian Bread bowl and yum. While I am not over fond of process cheese and cans of chili, it was sure good with this bread.

Tuscan Italian Bread 

Tuscan Italian Bread sliced
Tuscan Italian Bread, sliced
Makes 2 loaves

1 cup water, warm
1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons yeast
¼ cup water, warm
1 cup water, warm
3½ cups unbleached flour
1¼ teaspoons salt

Make Starter: Mix 1 cup warm water with yeast and let proof for 5 to 10 minutes. Add 1 cup flour and mix well, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place on the counter to rise from 1 to 3 days.

On the day you are ready to work with the bread, mix the 1¼ teaspoon dry yeast and the ¼ cup warm water. Let proof about 5 minutes, then add the extra 1 cup warm water. Add to the starter and mix well. (At this point, the mixture can be placed in the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer with dough hook to proceed. Add in the flour and salt and set at speed 2 for 10 minutes.) Add the flour and when it holds together, knead on a floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Return to bowl and coat with olive oil. Let rise about 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.

Prepare pans by greasing and sprinkling with cornmeal. Punch down dough and shape into two loaves. The loaves can be placed onto a metal former as pictured above, or onto a baking sheet, lengthwise and well separated, or if the taste and flavor of this bread is preferred, but a more structured loaf is desired, use two loaf pans. Let rise. Sprinkle a heated stone or a baking sheet with cornmeal and bake loaf at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

NOTES: I have also used this bread to make Bread Bowls. One loaf will make 4 individual bread bowls, or 2 larger bowls that can be used to hold things like dip at a party.

Making a big batch of chili for a party or other get together is an easy thing to do, especially if you have a large crock pot to keep it warm while the party progresses. These bread bowls are pretty and functional. They can be made well ahead and frozen, to be thawed when needed. If you like to make bread, give these a try, even if you only make 4 out of one loaf worth of bread the first time. Obviously, these are great to use for a family meal also, at any time.


My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.