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The Perfect Sourdough Bread Bowls for Thick and Hearty Soups

5 from 2 votes

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Sourdough bread bowls are such a fun way to serve up a thick and hearty soup, stew, or chili. This recipe makes 6 to 8 bowls.

sourdough bread bowls on cooling rack

This recipe gives you mini artisan style sourdough boules with a crispy crust. These sourdough bowls are deliciously soft on the inside, but still dense enough to hold thick soups, stews, and even chili!

There’s nothing I love more on a cold or drizzly night than a bowl of something hot and delicious that will stick to my ribs!

And I love to serve all those wonderful things in these amazing sourdough bread bowls! 

Pretty much everything tastes better in these sourdough bowls, but my favorite bread bowl soups are Pumpkin-Thyme Soup and Loaded Potato Soup.

And let’s be honest here, they look kinda cool on the plate too…

This recipe for sourdough bread bowls makes 6 bowls for a generous serving, or 8 to 9 for a smaller serving.

And to make it easier for you, you can choose between the traditional sourdough method or use some added yeast for a faster rise.

So, grab your apron and let’s go make some sourdough bowls!

Don’t have a sourdough starter yet? Grab a copy of my eBook “Learn How to Create a Sourdough Starter” and get yours going today!

Sourdough Bread Bowls

Ingredients

  • 3 cups active and bubbly sourdough starter
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 1 scant Tablespoon yeast (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • 6 – 8 cups unbleached flour

NOTE:

In general, 1/2 cup of a strong, active starter is about equal to a packet of dry yeast which is 2 1/4 teaspoons. This recipe is enough dough for 3 loaves of bread. Which would normally just have 1 1/2 cups of starter. However, I wanted this to rise faster so I have doubled the amount of yeast (starter).

Instructions

Start by dissolving the yeast in warm water if you’re using it.

Mix the starter, water/yeast, salt, and 2 cups of flour in a large mixing bowl or the large bowl of a stand mixer. 

Beat the batter until it’s smooth.

sourdough bread bowl ingredients in mixer bowl
so very smooth

Now add the remaining flour, a little at a time, just until the dough holds together. The amount of flour you will need will vary depending on the type of flour and the humidity level of your kitchen.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky, about 8 to 15 minutes. Or you can knead for the same amount of time with the dough hook on your mixer. 

This sourdough recipe yields a soft dough, so don’t add too much flour while kneading.

bread dough ready for first rise
ready for first rise

After kneading, place dough into a large greased bowl and turn it over to grease the top.

Now you’re gonna cover that with a damp bread cloth or plastic wrap and and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled, about 1 – ½ to 2 hours.

For traditional (non-yeast added) method: the dough will need to rise between 2 and 4 hours depending on the strength of your starter and the temperature of your kitchen.

bread dough in bowl after first rise
doubled in size

Forming the Sourdough Bread Bowls

After the dough has doubled, punch it down and turn it onto a lightly floured surface to shape.

Divide the dough into 6, 8, or 9 pieces. Form into a ball by pulling down and under on the sides towards the bottom.

The more tension you put on the surface of the ball, the more it will rise up instead of spread out.

When you form the dough balls, put them on a parchment lined baking sheet to rise. Leave 4 to 6 inches between the rounds of dough so they don’t become one big lump while they’re rising.

sourdough dough balls in parchment covered cookie sheet
ready for 2nd rise

Cover them again with a damp bread cloth and let them rise until doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.

Traditional method: the rise time will be between 1 and 2 hours.

About 20 minutes before time to bake, place a baking stone in your oven and preheat to 450°F. Add a smaller pan on the shelf below the baking stone for generating steam.

Baking the Sourdough Bread Bowls

After the bread bowls have doubled in size, it’s time to get those guys in the oven!

Brush the tops with melted butter or water. Using a sharp serrated knife or a bakers’ lame, slash the top with a cross.

slashing a buttered dough ball
buttered and slashed

Now slide the parchment paper with the bread bowls onto your preheated baking stone in the oven. Toss a cup of water into the pan on the shelf below and quickly close the door.

pouring water into hot tray in oven
don’t forget the water!

Bake the bread bowls with steam for 25 to 35 minutes, or until they are a beautiful golden brown. You may need a little more time for larger bowls.

Remove the sourdough bread bowls from the parchment and return them to the baking stone if the bottoms are a little pale.

Always check your breads for doneness by thumping the bottom. If it sounds hollow, it’s done.

Now put these on a wire rack and let them cool completely before you cut them.

If you can… 

I have a terrible addiction to fresh-from-the-oven-slathered-in-butter bread…

It’s always a great idea to have a batch of these in the freezer!

I can’t tell you how long they will stay good in there though, because we usually eat them within 3 to 4 weeks. 

Of course, in a pinch, you can just slice them up for sandwiches!

Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions About Sourdough Bread Bowls

How long will these sourdough bread bowls keep?

Sourdough typically keeps longer than other fresh breads and should be find on the counter for at least a week. If it’s particularly humid where you live, store in the fridge instead.

Can I freeze sourdough bread bowls?

Absolutely! Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and pop into a freezer zipper bag and toss in the freezer. This will keep for 4 to 5 months frozen.
To thaw, simply place on the counter for 1 to 2 hours.
To reheat, place in a 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Can I freeze sourdough bread bowl dough?

Yes you can! If you would prefer to bake your bowls fresh when you need them, simply form the bowls and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place in a zip top freezer bag and put them in the freezer.
When you are ready to bake them, them must thaw completely and then rise before baking. It will take about 2 hours or so to thaw on the counter depending on how warm your kitchen is. You can let them thaw in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours or overnight. Then let them rise till doubled, and follow the rest of the directions.

More bread recipes for you to enjoy:

Sourdough Bread Bowls

Sourdough bread bowls are such a fun way to serve up a thick and hearty soup, stew, or chili. This recipe makes 6 to 8 bowls. Traditional and added yeast methods.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 6 bread bowls
Calories 1023 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cup active and bubbly starter
  • 1 ½ cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp yeast optional
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 6 – 8 cups unbleached flour

Instructions
 

Traditional Method:

  • Mix starter, water, salt, and 2 cups of flour in mixing bowl. Beat until smooth.
  • Add remaining flour, a little at a time, until dough holds together.
  • Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, 8 to 15 minutes. Or knead for the same amount of time with the dough hook on your mixer.
  • Put into greased bowl and turn to grease top. Cover and let rise till doubled. The time will depend on the strength of your starter and the warmth of your kitchen. Anywhere form 2 to 6 hours.
  • Punch down, turn onto lightly floured surface and shape. Makes 6 or 9 bread bowls.
  • Place bread bowls on parchment lined cookie sheet(s) to rise.
  • Let rise till doubled. Again, the time will vary from 1 to 3 hours.

Optional Yeast Method:

  • Dissolve yeast in warm water.
  • Mix starter, water/yeast, salt, and 2 cups of flour in mixing bowl. Beat until smooth.
  • Add remaining flour, a little at a time, until dough holds together.
  • Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, 8 to 15 minutes. Or knead for the same amount of time with the dough hook on your mixer.
  • Put into greased bowl and turn to grease top. Cover and let rise till doubled, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  • Punch down, turn onto lightly floured surface and shape. Makes 6 or 9 bread bowls.
  • Place bread bowls on parchment lined cookie sheet(s) to rise.
  • Let rise till doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.

For both Methods:

  • 20 minutes before baking, put baking stone in the oven and preheat to 450° F.
  • Brush tops with melted butter or water and slash with a cross. Slide parchment paper onto preheated baking stone in oven.
  • Bake at 450°F with steam 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Remove from parchment and return to baking stone until the bottoms are golden brown.
  • Always check for doneness by thumping the bottom of the bowl. If it sounds hollow, it is done. Let cool completely before cutting.

Notes

NOTE: In general, 1/2 cup of a strong, active starter is about equal to a packet of dry yeast which is 2 1/4 teaspoons. This recipe is enough dough for 3 loaves of bread. Which would normally just have 1 1/2 cups of starter. However, I wanted this to rise faster so I have doubled the amount of yeast (starter).

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowlCalories: 1023kcalCarbohydrates: 206gProtein: 34gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1174mgPotassium: 269mgFiber: 7gSugar: 1gCalcium: 39mgIron: 2mg
Keyword sourdough
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on March 15th, 2022

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