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Sourdough Rye Bread Bowls

Fun-to-make sourdough rye bread bowls are so tasty and complement your favorite soups!

Sourdough Rye Bread Bowls | SoupAddict.com

I had never thought to serve soup in a bread bowl until Panera came along. The first time I had its (now sadly long discontinued) Cuban Black Bean soup in that tender sourdough bread bowl, I was completely smitten. The whole experience is a soup lover’s treat: the soup thickens ever-so-slightly as it mixes with the bowl’s interior crumbs; the cap cut from the bowl is highly noshable; and finally, when the soup is gone, you get in there with your hands, tear the bowl apart, and enjoy the soup-soaked bread down to the last bite.

It’s not, perhaps, a meal to enjoy on a first date, or with your snarky co-workers who might be angling their camera phone in your direction as you go all medieval on the thing.

And actually, I’ve often wondered if people actually eat the bowl. Is it gauche? Is there a social faux pas in consuming the dinnerware?

Yes or no, I don’t care: I eat the bowl. Especially when it’s one of these adorable homemade sourdough rye bread bowls.

Sourdough Rye Bread Bowls | SoupAddict.com

Last week, I shared with you a super easy, foolproof method for creating your own sourdough starter. Now, I won’t be bombarding you with sourdough bread recipes, but I did want to show at least one awesome little bread project you can create from it.

This is a honey-sweetened rye bread that complements the sourdough tang, and marries well with richly flavored soups. The dough is easy to make — there’s no special handling, just mix everything up in your heavy duty mixer, knead the dough, let it rise, and you’re off and running. The dough is also make-ahead awesome, and it develops even more flavor if left to rise overnight (or longer) in the fridge.

Sourdough Rye Bread Bowls | SoupAddict.com

And aside from the ease and lovely flavor … aren’t they just the cutest? Before baking, cut festive slashes on the bread, which decorate the tops when removed to create the bowl.

Here’s a quick list of soups that are fabulous in sourdough rye bread bowls:

Vegetarian French Onion (from earlier this week, served in one of these very bowls)
Jalapeño Beer Cheese
Chicken Chili
Sweet Potato Chorizo Boursin
Sweet and Smoky Sriracha Black Bean Soup
White Bean Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup
Carrot Ginger Soup

It’s flurrying madly outside my window as I type this February morning — the perfect day for homemade soup and homemade bread.

Karen xo


Sourdough Rye Bread Bowls
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Sourdough Rye Bread Bowls

This recipe requires sourdough starter. If you already have some, you're good to go. If you need to make one first, there's a how-to link below. Note you'll need about 7 days to create your starter.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Servings: 4 bread bowls
Author: Karen Gibson


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1/3 cup water room temperature, plus extra as needed
  • 1 cup sourdough starter room temperature (recipe
  • here
  • if you need one)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose plus extra as needed
  • 3/4 cup white or light rye flour*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 4 teaspoons vital wheat gluten optional


  • Add the web ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment until combined. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add one cup of the flour mix to the bowl and combine on "2" speed. Stop the mixer and switch to the dough hook. Resume mixing on "2". Add the remaining flour mixture one cup at a time. The dough should quickly come together in a dense ball. If the dough wants to hug the side of the bowl and work its way up and out, add a teaspoon of water directly on the dough and continue mixing to loosen it. Knead in the mixer for 8 minutes.
  • Turn out the dough on a lightly floured board and knead for a couple of turns. Transfer the dough to a lightly oil bowl, cover loosely, and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours (or, refrigerate overnight for extra depth of flavor - bring to room temperature before continuing with the next step below).
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball by stretching the dough with your hands and tucking the two ends under. Rotate the dough a quarter turn and stretch and tuck the ends under again. Repeat rotating, stretching and tucking until a nice ball is formed. (Note that the bottom of the ball will look like a cracked mess, but that's okay - it will close up during oven rise.) Repeat with remaining three pieces.
  • Place the dough balls several inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with a towel, and let rise for a half hour.
  • Use a sharp, serrated knife (or a proper bread lame) and cut slashes across the top of the dough ball.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven, and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Begin checking at 30 minutes: the crust should be a nice, even golden brown. Remove and let cool.
  • Before serving use a sharp paring knife to cut a circle into the top of each loaf, taking care not slice down too deeply into the bread. Use your fingers grasp the edges of the circle and lift out - a nice portion of the crumb should come with it. If you need more room in your "bowl" just pull out of more of the crumb (chef's treat!). Ladle soup into the bowls, and serve the tops alongside.


* White or light rye flour may be difficult to find locally. I used regular rye flour which is denser than white or light, and rebalanced the flours to use a 2 1/2 cup a-p flour to 1/2 cup rye flour ratio.
Tip: Measure the olive oil first, then use the same, unrinsed spoon to measure the molasses and honey - both should slide right out, thanks to the coating of oil.
Vital wheat gluten is optional, but gives the loaf fabulous oven spring.
Make your own sourdough starter!
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.

adapted from KingArthurFlour.com’s bread machine recipe

Recipe Rating


Tuesday 12th of September 2017

What would be a good replacement for molasses in this recipe? I bought some just to make this and I can not stand the smell of the stuff.


Tuesday 12th of September 2017

Hi Michelle, I can't vouch for this, but try using all honey, rather than the molasses/honey combo. Honestly, I can't stand molasses either, but *in* things is a different story. The molasses adds a certain quality to the flavor of the bread, but I don't think I'd be able to identify that it's molasses -- which has an earthy sweetness, without being cloying -- if I didn't already know it's an ingredient.

Actually, I think I'd feel better recommending just rebalancing the honey and molasses, rather than eliminating it altogether. Say, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 scant tablespoon of molasses? If you try it, I'd love to hear how it worked for you!

Thalia @ butter and brioche

Thursday 12th of February 2015

I never thought to serve soup in a bread bowl before but after seeing this post though it is something I must try. Such a great idea!

Rocky Mountain Woman

Thursday 12th of February 2015

I love this idea! The bread bowls they sell in the grocery here are ok, but they're just namby pamby white bread. Rye is the ticket! I've actually made sour dough bread with rye flour and it turned out pretty good, so I'm up for trying this.