Sourdough pumpkin bread bowls

These sourdough bread bowls have an amazing sourdough taste, are crispy on the outside and tough on the inside. Their perfect texture makes the best bread bowl for soup.

How to make sourdough bread bowls

If you've never made sourdough bread before, then read this post first and learn how to make a simple sourdough bread. The big difference in making bread bowls is that you don't bake them in a Dutch oven. You can technically bake them in a Dutch oven, it just depends on how many you make. You will need to bake them in batches as only 2 pieces will fit in a standard size Dutch oven at a time.

The method I used for this one will still give you a crust outside, so fear not! So let's get down to making these bread bowls:

Step 1: Mix your sourdough in a bowl and follow the rest, pulling and stretching, bulk rise steps. (See the recipe below for detailed steps on how to do this.)

Step 2: After rising, divide your dough into 6 pieces. They should weigh about 200 grams, or 7 ounces each. If you want to make smaller or larger bowls of bread, you definitely can! Just divide your dough into more or less pieces.

Step 3: Shape each piece of dough into a round ball. To do this, first lightly dust your counter with flour. You will now be folding the dough into itself from every corner. First, fold the bottom part of the circle to the middle. Then fold the left side up and to the right, the right side up and to the left. Finally, fold the top down to about the middle. Turn your dough over and place both hands over the dough so your thumbs are close together and your hands and fingers are wrapped around the side of the dough. Bring your hands together in a circular motion and, with one hand, press the dough into the other as it is tightened between your hand and the counter. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, a silicone mat, or a cooking spray.

Step 4: Once your dough is shaped into balls, you need to cut your string. I recommend boiling twine as it is oven safe. This is a great brand. You should cut your string long enough to fit around your ball of dough and be loosely tied at the top. I cut mine about 14 ". Place 3 cut pieces of string crisscross in the spot where you want to place your ball of dough.

Sourdough bread bowl batter laid out with string on a baking sheet

When you have all the dough balls on the bowls, loosely tie the pieces of string together on each dough ball so that a loose knot forms on top of the dough. This is what will shape the dough into a pumpkin shape. You can adjust the twine as needed after tying it. The binding allows the dough to continue to rise while the shape is being formed.

Sourdough bread bowl batter tied with string to create a pumpkin shape on a baking sheet

Step 5: Let your bread bowls rise and cover them with a damp cloth. I let them rise on the baking sheet and then cover them with a cloth and tuck the edges of the cloth under the sheet.

Step 6: Bake your bread bowls. So there are several ways to do this. You usually bake sourdough in a Dutch oven because the steam is locked in and you get that crispy outside that everyone loves. If you don't want to bake these in a Dutch oven, you'll have to create your own steam.

  • To do this, you need an ovenproof metal pan into which you can pour a small amount of water. Place the pan on the bottom of your oven or on the bottom rack before preheating the oven.
  • You can cook the bread on the baking sheet they rose on, or you can transfer it to a brick. If you have a brick that will fit in all of your bread bowls then this is sure to be the preferred method! A baking stone can heat up a lot hotter than a baking sheet and gives you a better crust. If you are using a baking brick, place it in the oven before preheating while also placing your metal pan in it.
  • Once your bread bowls have risen, put them in the oven. Pour about half a cup of water into the metal pan and quickly close the door!
  • After baking, place them on a cooling shelf and cut the string when they're cool enough to touch.

Sourdough bread bowls baked fresh from the oven with twine

Why sourdough is the best type of bread for a bread bowl

Sourdough pumpkin bread bowls that are golden-brown-orange with a pecan as a stem and basil for leaves

The texture of sourdough bread is denser than that of a typical traditional yeast bread. This is great for a bread bowl as you don't want your soup to mess up your bread bowl or leak. These sourdough bread bowls will stand up to any soup you can imagine!

The crispy outside gets a little softer when dipped in a delicious soup, but it gives you the amazing texture variation that makes eating different foods so delicious.

Sourdough pumpkin bread bowl Close-up of a golden brown-orange bread bowl with a pecan as a stem and basil for leaves and soup in the background

Boost the diet with added pumpkin

Adding pumpkin puree to your bread is a great way to improve your diet without changing the taste or texture of the bread. In this recipe, the bread has turned a slightly deeper orange color that was perfect for those pumpkin bread bowls!

Pumpkin is:

  • Rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene
  • Rich in fiber
  • Good source of vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B2 and vitamin E.

Sourdough pumpkin bread bowl Close-up of a golden brown-orange bread bowl with a pecan as a stem and basil for leaves

I made the stems with two pecan halves and the leaves are fresh basil. This is where you can get creative and have fun with different types of stems and leaves! Hope you enjoy these fun sourdough pumpkin bread bowls for your next autumn soup night!

Sourdough pumpkin bread bowl close-up on a refrigerated shelf with other sourdough bread bowls in the background

  • 100 Gram active sourdough starter ~ 1/4 cup
  • 330 Gram water ~ 1 1/3 cups
  • 10 Gram Salt- ~ 1 1/2 tsp
  • 500 Gram All-purpose flour ~ 4 1/2 cups
  • If you don't have a sourdough starter, this post is a good place to start!
  • Stir your appetizer and water together in a large bowl. I like to use a Danish dough whisk. Add flour and salt. Mix until a stiff batter forms, then finish by hand to fully incorporate the flour. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • After the dough rests, you'll be folding and stretching the dough to strengthen the gluten and incorporate more air into your dough. Take a piece of dough, stretch it out, and then fold it over. Rotate the bowl slightly and repeat the process until you have stretched and folded all sides of your dough.

  • Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let it rise for about 10-12 hours. (Mass increase) I usually let mine rise for 12 hours. Letting it rise overnight is a great option. You will know the dough is ready when it no longer looks dense and has doubled in size.

  • After the mixture has risen, remove the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 6 even pieces weighing 200 g each.

  • To shape the dough into balls, fold the dough towards the center. Turn it over and fold over the next section. Repeat until the circle is complete. Turn the dough over and use your hands on the bowl sides of the dough to rotate it in circular motions, applying light pressure downwards.

  • You can either bake on a baking sheet or a brick. If you are using a baking sheet, cover it with parchment. The next step is cutting your cord. I recommend boiling twine as it is oven safe. You should cut your string long enough to fit around your ball of dough and be loosely tied at the top. I cut mine about 14 ". Place 3 cut pieces of twine crisscross in the spot where you want to place your ball of dough.
  • Once you've cut and laid out all of the string, place your balls of dough in the center of the pieces of string. Loosely tie the pieces of string together on each ball of dough and form a loose knot on top of the dough. This is what will shape the dough into a pumpkin shape. You can adjust the twine as needed after tying it. The binding allows the dough to continue to rise while the shape is being formed.

  • Let your bread bowls rise for 30-45 minutes. Make sure you cover them with a damp cloth or piece of plastic wrap that's sprayed with cooking spray. The dough is ready to bake when it looks puffy and has risen slightly.

  • There are several different ways to bake your bread bowls. You need to generate steam using either method. To do this, you need an ovenproof metal pan into which you can pour a small amount of water. Place the pan on the bottom of your oven or on the bottom rack before preheating the oven.

  • Baking Sheet: You can cook the bread on the baking sheet that they rose on. This method won't give you a crust, but it still works great! Remove the cloth or plastic wrap and place the entire pan in the oven. Pour about half a cup of water into the metal pan and quickly close the door! After baking, place them on a cooling shelf and cut the string when they're cool enough to touch.

  • Brick: If you have a brick that will fit in all of your bread bowls, then this is sure to be the preferred method! A baking stone can heat up a lot hotter than a baking sheet and gives you a better crust. If you're using a baking brick, place it in the oven before preheating while placing your metal pan in it. Once your bread bowls have risen, transfer them to the preheated baking stone. Pour about half a cup of water into the metal pan and quickly close the door! After baking, place them on a cooling shelf and cut the string when they're cool enough to touch.

  • Brush the tips with butter. You can make a stem by putting two pecans together and placing them in the center of each pumpkin. To cut the tips, turn a sharp knife inward and cut a circle to create a bowl. Serve with your favorite soup!

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