Italian Bread Bowls

This is an adaptation of the original recipe here – I used rapid rise yeast to lessen rise time, added more seasoning to the dough and to the loaves while baking. Kids love it!

Ingredients:

2 packages of 0.25 oz rapid rise active dry yeast

2 tsp sugar

2.5 cups warm water, 110 degrees

1 tbsp fine sea salt

2 tbsp olive oil

7 cups all-purpose flour

4 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tbsp cornmeal

1 egg white

1 tbsp water

dried oregano for sprinkling

Directions:

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Add salt, oil, Italian seasoning 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.

When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes. 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 free from drafts until at least doubled in volume, 1 hour. (I place bowl inside oven turned off but with bowl of warm water underneath bowl of dough.)

Punch dough down, and divide into 8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a 4 inch round loaf. Place loaves on lightly greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, beat together egg white and 1 tablespoon water; lightly brush the loaves with egg wash then sprinkle dried oregano over the top of each loaf.

Bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.

To make bowls: Cut a 1/2 inch thick slice from top of each loaf; scoop out centers, leaving 3/4-inch-thick shells. Fill bread bowls with hot soup and serve immediately.

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