Bread Bowls

I have had several requests for the bread bowl recipe I used for the soup I posted a while ago. I actually use two recipes and love them both – just depends on which one falls out of the recipe binder when I’m ready to make them! Both recipes create a dense, hearty bowl perfect for soup. If you twisted my arm and made me choose a favorite, I would say the Italian Bread Bowl recipe but either one is delicious! If you are looking for the Artisan Bread Bowl recipe, click HERE. It used to be housed right here but I split it into its own post so you could save to Ziplist if you’d like.

Italian Bread Bowls

Yield: Makes 6-8 bread bowls

Italian Bread Bowls

Note: As with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I've added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.

I often use half to 3/4 finely ground white whole wheat flour with good results - and sometimes I get crazy and use 100% whole wheat flour (always finely ground white wheat) but the bread is a bit more dense with 100% whole wheat flour. If using part or all whole wheat flour, add a few minutes to the kneading time to help develop the gluten.


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast (use 1 tablespoon instant yeast)
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal


  1. In a large bowl (or bowl of an electric mixer), dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. (You can omit this step if using instant yeast.)
  2. Add salt, oil and 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well with an electric mixer at medium speed after each addition until a soft but not sticky dough is formed (you may not need to use all 7 cups). This bread bowl dough needs to be a bit firmer than a roll/bread dough so that the bread bowls rise up instead of out.
  3. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes (or let knead in an electric mixer). Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Punch dough down, and divide into 6-8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a round ball. Place loaves on lightly greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal (or use silpat liners or parchment paper). If desired, slash the top surface of the bread bowl several times with a sharp knife or razor. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 35 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and baked through.

Recipe Source: adapted from

140 Responses to Italian Bread Bowls

  1. Heather F says:

    I tried the artisan one and failed horribly however I will be trying them again.

  2. Nichole says:

    Perfect perfect bread bowls!!! Thanks for the recipe!!

  3. Amy says:

    I tested the Italian Bread bowls last night, and they didn’t seem to be crusty enough to hold soup, so we just ate them. I made the Artisan ones this morning (and because they had such great reviews, I made three batches – we’re having a soup party tomorrow), but when I took them out of the refrigerator after about 8 hours, they fell! I rolled them back into balls, and I’m letting them rise again on the table… hopefully this will work!

  4. Monica says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I’m excited to make them!

  5. Robin says:

    I made the italian, but was only able to get 5 1/2 cups flour in. The bread rose fine in the bowl, but the “bowls” spread out instead of up as they rose. Started with nice ball. I can cut the sideways and make nice big sandwiches. Good bread, bad bowl. Any suggestions.

  6. Mel says:

    Hi Robin – usually a bread will flatten like that if it is underfloured. Bread bowls can take a bit of extra flour (even if you think you have enough) to make a sturdier dough.

  7. […] For the bread bowl: (Recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe) […]

  8. Meredith says:

    Made the Italian bread bowls last night. Filled them with your Split Pea, with ham and barley soup. YUMMMM!!!

  9. […] Bread Bowl – Serving size 2 (6-8 in parenthesis) 1 1/8 teaspoons Active Yeast (4 1/12 teaspoons) 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons Warm Water 110 F (2 1/2 cup) 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (2 tablespoons) 1/2 teaspoon salt (2 teaspoons) 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil (2 tablespoons) 1 3/4 cups flour (7 cup) […]

  10. […] than called for, but that’s just because I love me some broccoli. The bread came from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. I will add that I had to slather butter on my bowls at the end and put them under the broiler for […]

  11. […] recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  12. Brianne Seamons says:

    I am pretty new to bread making and had the hardest times shaping them into balls. They were full of cracks and I could never get them smooth. Did I do something wrong with the dough? Maybe they aren’t meant to be smooth. I have made your rolls before ad tries to so the method you use of rolling them in your hands with no luck. Thanks for the input. =)

  13. Mel says:

    Brianne – yes, the dough balls should be smooth. Do you think you might need to add more flour? They should pretty easily roll into a ball if the dough is soft and supple and well-floured.

  14. Leah says:

    Can you freeze the extra dough if you don’t want to use it all at once?

  15. Kaitlyn says:

    I tried making these the other day, and they tasted great fresh out of the oven, but when I tried one later (a few hours later, after they had cooled off,) they taste rather “doughy”
    They are cooked all the way through, so is there any other reason this might happen, and how can I fix it? I really liked this recipe

    • Mel says:

      Kaitlyn – I am not sure if you are referring to a doughy taste or a yeasty taste? Either way, you could try increasing the baking time by a couple of minutes or reducing the yeast just slightly (but not too much or the bread may not rise properly).

  16. Diane says:

    I really have a problem getting these to rise “up.” I enjoy eating them just the same, but they don’t hold very much in a disk shape, so I have to refill them. But. Do you have any suggestions? Is it possible I overflour them? This particular go-around, I probably used 7 1/2 cups, and I’ve definitely used more. I don’t think I’ve tried them with less, though. I use plastic wrap to cover them, but I try and just sort of toss it gently over – should I try using a cloth instead? Please be my bread bowl guru.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Diane – so do they rise at all? Like, are they rising but just outward instead of upward? If that’s the case, you may need more flour so that the dough can hold it’s shape and have the structure needed to rise up. You can also try putting them closer together on the baking sheet so they use each other’s sides to rise up instead of out. I always cover with greased plastic wrap, too.

  17. Julie says:

    I used to make this recipe off your website but I remember it had an egg wash. Do you not recommend the egg wash anymore?

    • Mel says:

      Hey Julie – it’s been a long time ago that I updated the recipe and honestly, I can’t remember if I took out the egg wash or not. Either way, I don’t use the egg wash. It’s an extra step that I don’t use but you could still do it if you want a shinier top.

  18. Dana says:

    Hi mel,
    I wanted to ask a question can i use corn starch instead of the corn meal ?

    • Mel says:

      I wouldn’t sub cornstarch for cornmeal. It’s not really the same at all in texture. If you don’t have cornmeal, that’s fine – you can bake them on parchment or a greased baking sheet.

  19. Rosemary says:

    I happened to have leftovers of these bread bowls, which are great. I turned them into garlic bread bowls and served pasta and meatballs in them. Fabulous result.

    • Gina says:

      What an awesome idea, to make them into garlic bread bowls. Could you give a brief description of how you did it. I think it would be fabulous for many soups, as well.

  20. Jessica says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I would like to try it with bread flour instead of all purpose. Do you know if there a reason I shouldn’t or should I adjust the amount of flour? Thanks!

  21. Kanani says:

    Have you had any success with gluten free bread bowl recipes?

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