Beer Pretzel Bowls
Last week I had a sudden desire to serve soup in bread bowls. It was one of those strange things that I just suddenly needed in my life, even though I’d never had soup in a bread bowl. I just loved the idea of it. Warm comforting soup or chowder served in freshly made bread, how much better can it get? Being a last minute idea I wasn’t prepared to whip up my own, so I went on the hunt.
I threw out a tweet asking where to find bread bowls and received multiple responses suggesting bakeries and local grocery stores should carry them. Of course living where we do, or rather… living near the store we do, our options are limited and I’m usually taken by complete surprise when they have something I want that is anything slightly out of the ordinary. Well…apparently bread bowls have been discontinued. *Insert shocked and very sad face.* Bread bowls… discontinued?! It just seems weird. I mean it’s bread!
I did however receive confirmation that Panera does indeed have bread bowls for purchase but our nearest location is some 30 minutes away…strangely enough in the town we use to live in. That trip would have to wait for another day when I had more time to spare.
Fast forward several days, bread bowls were still very much on my mind. Have you ever had that happen…get a recipe or idea stuck in your head that you just have to make happen? This was the case. I knew it’d be my mission to make bread bowls sometime over the winter but when I set out to make a soup for Oktoberfest, it needed to be sooner than later. And specifically needed to be pretzel bowls… because beer, cheese, sausage, beer and pretzels just plain go together.
These take your standard time to whip up and require minimal patience but overall this recipe is cake. Do not fear the yeast! Use a stand mixer or food processor to pull the dough together. Two reasonable rising times, a quick soak in a bubbly baking soda bath followed by a generous helping of butter and salt before going in the oven. Out comes a fantastic, flavorful pretzel bread that is perfect to hollow out for soup or eat as a snack with spicy mustard.
Beer pretzel bowls
- 3 C bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 C beer
- 2 1/4 tsp rapid rise yeast
- 1/3 C baking soda
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- Course salt, for topping
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, salt and sugar.
- In a heat safe measuring cup, microwave beer in 30 second intervals until it reaches 110-115F°. Add yeast, allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to begin activating.
- Turn mixer on low, slowly pour beer mixture in. Mix until dough pulls away from bowl and begins forming a ball.
- Lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil. Transfer dough ball to prepared bowl, cover and allow to rise until double in size - roughly 45-60 minutes. Divide into four equal portions, forming each into a smooth ball. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for an additional 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375F°.
- Add 3 inches of water to a large stockpot, bring to a boil. Carefully add baking soda (*this will bubble up immediately). Using a sharp knife, slash an 'x' into the top of each ball of dough. Carefully add to boiling water, cooking each side for 30 seconds. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.
- Generously brush with melted butter and sprinkle with course salt.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a dark golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
- Remove dome top and hollow out all but 1 inch around the exterior if using as a bowl.