Bread is an integral part of any meal, from toast at breakfast to sandwiches at lunch and rolls at dinner. A more unusual way to use bread is as an edible serving bowl. A round, hollowed-out loaf of bread holds thick creamy soups, spicy chili or steamy stews. A bread bowl even holds dips such as spinach, onion or warm melted cheese. While it's not difficult to make a bread bowl, the kind of bread you use determines your success.
A firm crust makes carving out the bowl and filling it while maintaining the shape of a bowl less of a struggle. Use a serrated knife to cut the top of the loaf off as if you were taking the top of a pumpkin off to carve a jack-o'-lantern. Pull out the bread with your fingers until you've created a bowl shape. Using a serrated knife to carve out the bowl looks more professional, but takes practice.
Texture and Thickness
Choose a bread that has a firm texture rather than one that is soft, such as white bread made for sandwiches. The texture has to stand up to the filling. A soup will be slowly absorbed by the bread. Bread bowls made for dips need to stand up to the dip being pushed against the sides of the bowl as people remove the dip with crackers or chips. The sides have to be thick enough -- at least an inch -- to contain the soup or dip.
Bread loaves come in many different sizes and shapes. A bowl is round, so choose a round loaf of bread. Large loaves work for dip and as a soup tureen for an impressive presentation. Serve soup in individual bread bowls as well.
Breads come in different flavors based on the type of flour used and seasonings. Sourdough is white with a tangy taste. Whole wheat is made from flour that is darker in color and has a rougher texture than white flour. Rye is dense and chewy. Cheese is often added to bread as well as sliced olives, spicy jalapenos, sesame and poppy seeds. Match the flavor of the bread to the filling or select a white bread that goes with anything.