If you want to make an impressive presentation at your super bowl party, serve chili, thick soup or creamy dip in a homemade bread bowl.
Bread, like fruits and vegetables, are beautiful on their own, but when used as serving pieces they often become spectacular, taking center-stage on your table. And best of all, using frozen bread dough makes this an easy project.
I love baking bread to eat, but the frozen dough works well for this purpose. You can find the loaves in the frozen food section of your supermarket.
Place a loaf of frozen dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature until completely thawed. I turned my oven on a low temperature and set the baking sheet on top of the stove to help speed the thawing process since it was cold morning.
Divide the thawed dough in half and form into two balls. Cut an “X” in the tops with a sharp knife.
Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
Note: Bread recipes tell you to cover the dough while it is rising. This keeps the surface of the bread from drying. The old way was to use a damp towel to cover the dough. A wet towel still works fine but plastic wrap is cheaper than purchasing tea towels (today’s designer towels are beautiful, but expensive) plus disposable wrap is easier than cleaning the towels.
Let the balls rise until doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 350. When the dough has fermented to twice its size, prepare an egg wash with one beaten egg and 1 teaspoon water and lightly brush tops and sides of dough. (I use a plastic brush that can be purchased in a kitchen supply store. I think they are cleaner than bristles.) An egg wash gives the bread a little color and a sheen.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden.
When the bread is done, it will have a hollow sound when tapped. Remove to a wire rack for cooling.
When baked and thoroughly cooled, the bread rounds are easily carved into bowls using a serrated bread knife. Cut a circle in the top as if you were carving a pumpkin and remove the center of the bread. Be careful not to go all the way through the bowl when hollowing. Use kitchen shears to increase the size of the opening and to “clean-up” the edges.
Save the removed bread to make bread crumbs by finely chopping in a food processor.
I realize that you can go to the grocery store and purchase rounds of bread for making bread bowls. However, artisan bread can be expensive. This “semi-homemade” method is less expensive, plus it gives you the satisfaction of having made it yourself.
You can fill the bowls with the dip of your choice. I think creamy, thicker dips work best so the bottom of the bowl does not become soggy.
Following are two delicious hot crab dips that are perfect for a bread bowl presentation:
Spicy Hot Crab and Parmesan Dip
Nonstick cooking spray
8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
½ cup sour cream
½ cup grated parmesan reggiano
8 ounces crab meat
1 tsp. OldBay seasoning
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. white pepper
½ tsp. sweet paprika
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
Extra parmesan for mixing with bread crumbs
Green onion (snipped) for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine cream cheese, sour cream and parmesan cheese until well blended. Add crab meat and seasonings. Spoon the mixture into a small baking dish that has been sprayed with a non-stick spray. Mix bread crumbs (saved from the bread bowl) with extra parmesan and sprinkle on top.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
If you are serving in a bread bowl, spoon the hot dip into the bread bowl. Lightly sprinkle with a little cayenne for heat and color. Garnish with snipped green onion.
Serve with baguettes and assorted vegetables for dippers.
Roasted Corn and Crab Dip
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
½ cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces crabmeat
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese with jalapenos (4 ounces)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup sliced green onions
¼ tsp. cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a shallow baking pan, combine corn and sweet pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast, uncovered, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While vegetables are roasting, combine crabmeat, cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, green onions and black pepper. Stir in roasted vegetables. Transfer mixture to a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Reduce oven to 350 and bake for about 20 minutes until hot and bubbly around edges. Transfer to bread bowl and serve with tortilla chips and vegetable dippers.
*In both recipes I used Trader Joe’s Wild Caught crab meat—a new item found in the frozen food case that is reasonably priced.
Happy Supper Bowl Sunday!