The Scooping Mistake To Avoid For Perfect Bread Bowls

There are few things that equal the satisfaction you feel when you've successfully made your own bread. You've conquered the science, the precise measurements, the proofing and rising, and the perfect temperatures that go into triumphant baking. Plus, your kitchen smells great. If you've created round loaves to use for bread bowls, it's tempting to hollow the loaves out right away to fill them with your favorite tomato bisque ... or more likely to slather the hot, scooped out bread with butter and go to carb heaven.

Resist the terrible urge, if you can, because – as much as there is no equal to hot bread – the texture will suffer for your lack of self control. If you cut into those fresh rounds before they're cool, you'll end up with gummy bread, i.e. it will feel doughy. Even if you've taken the bread out of the oven at the right time and the loaves are baked perfectly, all that hard work will float away upon the slice of a knife. If you must, make an extra loaf, one for diving into while it's still piping hot, but let the others cool and become picture-perfect, excellent-tasting bread bowls.

Premature slicing leads to undesirable texture

When you see steam rising out of bread upon removing it from the oven, this isn't just an indication that it's hot. It definitely is hot, but the steam is just evaporated water coming out of the top. The bread needs this residual steam as it continues to cook, even after it's pulled out of its hot environment. Why wouldn't you just leave the loaves in the oven if it wasn't done cooking? Simply put, the crust would burn.

All that hot steam escaping the bread puts the finishing bake into the bread and once it's cool, you should have a tender, chewy crumb, and a toothsome, browned crust. If you cut into the bread and scoop out the inside before the steam has properly escaped, it actually goes back into the bread, making it moist and gummy, and making it look and even taste underdone. The best course of action is to let the bread cool completely to room temperature before cutting into the loaves and turning them into bowls. Once they're ready, you can scoop out the interior and use them as eating vessels right away.

The many possibilities of a bread bowl

If you've found the willpower to leave your bread rounds untouched while they cool, congratulations, that wasn't easy. Now you can cut a circular piece out of the top and hollow out the inside of the bread. It's now a bread bowl and can be filled with all kinds of yummy dishes. If you are ladling soups inside, be sure it's a thicker soup like bisques or chowders, or any cream-based soup, and thick stews. Brothy soups like chicken noodle and Italian wedding soup are too watery and the broth will easily seep into the crusty bread making it soggy and potentially collapsing the bowl.

Bread bowls can be used to serve shepherd's pie, macaroni and cheese, and pot pies. They also can stand up to thick dips that are either served cold or hot. As for the tops of those bread bowls, it's up to you how you utilize them. Many people place the "lid" back on the bowl for presentation, while others make croutons out of them or simply eat the tops. Consider them a little treat for the chef for all that effort and (especially) patience.