As I was putting together my grocery list last week, I thought to myself, I should really make some soup. That sounds good. Ooohh, and even better yet, let's make soup and put it in bread bowls!! Homemade bread bowls!! So I filled out what seemed like a never ending list of items and off to the grocery I went. I decided on Chicken Cheddar Cheese Soup in Sourdough Bread Bowls.
Now, just a little note for all of you adventurous people out there, sourdough bread is not something you can just whip up over night, much to my surprise. It has to be planned, grown, fed, and cared for like an infant child. Minus the dirty diapers :o) I decided I better start this over a weekend. Here's the sourdough recipe that I used.
BASIC SOURDOUGH STARTER
3 c warm water (approx. 110 degrees F)
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit until the yeast becomes foamy, about 5 minutes. (If the yeast does not foam, discard the mixture and begin again with a new yeast.)
Add the flour and stir vigorously to work air into the mixture. Cover with a towel let rest in a warm, draft-free place (an oven with its pilot light or light bulb turned on works well) for 8 to12 hours. (The mixture should become very bubbly.) Use immediately or cover loosely with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Preserving the Starter: Each time you remove a portion of the starter for a recipe, reserve at least 1/4 cup and replace the amount you have taken out with equal amounts of flour and water.
For example, if you remove 1 cup of starter, you must replace it with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warm water. Whisk these ingredients into the starter until blended but not completely smooth, cover loosely, and return to the refrigerator. Also, the starter must be maintained by feeding it every few days. Refresh by removing 1 cup of the starter (give to a friend or discard it) and adding 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warm water. Whisk until blended but not smooth. Cover loosely and return to the refrigerator.
If you plan to be away longer than a week, freeze the starter in a sterilized, airtight freezer container. Thaw the starter 2 days before you plan to bake with it. Refresh as indicated above with 1 cup each of flour and warm water. Cover and leave at room temperature 12 hours or overnight before using.
CAUTION: Never keep your starter tightly closed! The gasses expelled by the yeast will build up pressure and may cause the container (such as a glass jar) to burst!
I left my mixture sit over night before using it to mix up the bread. I have a feeling though, that had I left it longer and "fed" it a few times that the bread would have had a much sour taste to it.
BASIC SOURDOUGH BREAD
2 cups bread flour ( I used all-purpose and it worked fine)
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
3/4 teaspoon salt
In a bowl mix all ingredients together. Once it starts to mix together pour it out onto a lightly floured work surface and mix until combined well. Try not to over work dough. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle lightly with flour and knead gently, removing any large air bubbles. Knead into a small circle, then shape into a tight ball (for bread bowls, separate dough in half and shape into two tight balls), pinching the seams together underneath. Place on a well-floured board or baking peel, seam-side down. Cover with a kitchen towels and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Once dough has risen, preheat oven to 400 and lower oven rack to the lowest setting. With a sharp serrated knife cut an "X" in the top of the dough. Bake dough for 60 minutes or until outside is a nice golden brown color. I brushed the outside of my bread bowls with butter when they came out of the oven.
|Mixing the water, yeast, sugar, and flour.|
|This is what the mixture looked like after sitting overnight.|
|The beginnings of the sourdough bread.|
|Split dough into two balls for bread bowls.|
|Allow dough to rise and then cut an "X" pattern in the top.|
|The beautiful babies after they come out of the oven!|
As if these weren't good enough to eat, I decided to fill them with one of my most favorite soup recipes. We have a restaurant here in Sidney, C.J. Highmarks. They have the absolute best Chicken Cheese Soup. It's always so warm and cheesy, I've been trying for years to replicate this recipe. Well to my surprise a few years ago, my mother-in-law created one that was pretty darn close to their recipe. Here's how you make it.
Chicken Cheddar Cheese Soup
3 large chicken breasts, cooked and cubed or shredded
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 small onion, diced
1 lb. velveeta cheese, cubed
1 1/2 cups whole milk
scallions, chopped for topping
shredded cheddar cheese
Boil the potatoes, carrots, and onions in a pan until tender. Drain, place back in pan and set aside. In a medium sauce pan, melt Velveeta cheese in a 1/2 cup of milk on low heat. Watch this closely, stir frequently, this can burn very easily, trust me, I've done it more than once :) Once cheese is melted, pour the cheese mixture over the potatoes and carrots and place back on the stove. Add in chicken. Turn burner on low and add remaning 1 cup of milk. Simmer on low until soup thickens. Pour soup into bread bowls, top with shredded cheese and scallions. Serve and Enjoy!!!
|Peeled potatoes, with the best ever potato peeler from Wal-Mart!|
|Boil potatoes, carrots, and onions.|
|Cheese sauce ready to mix into potatoes and carrots.|
|Add in chicken and remaining milk.|
Even on a not so cold, rainy winter day this soup is perfect! It takes a little time to put it all together, and you can certainly cheat on the bread bowl part and buy some from a "P" named restaurant (their's are pretty good) but from scratch is even better!! Enjoy the soup! And check back to see what I made for dessert!!