143: Sourdough Bread Bowls with 144: Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

I had sourdough starter that I’d pretty much put on hold, and decided that I wanted to just make some sourdough rolls out of it. It’s much harder to find a simple sourdough roll recipe than I expected – most “recipes” say something like “adapt your sourdough bread recipe and bake for X minutes”, but I don’t have a sourdough bread recipe yet! I came across a tutorial for bread bowls that I thought would be fun, particularly since I wanted to make chicken soup from the remnants of my roast chicken.

I hadn’t learned the proper way to feed my sourdough starter yet at this point, but I also hadn’t messed it up too much yet, either. I’ll discuss my starter at some point in the future. I’ll summarize what I did for the recipe:

I wanted to make 2 bread bowls, so I combined 1.5 cups AP flour, 1/2 tbsp salt, 1/2 cup starter, and 1/4 cup water to make a dough. I kneaded it a while, and then longer, and then longer, and finally decided to put it in the stand mixer with the dough hook because it still wasn’t ready even though my hands and wrists hurt from kneading it so much. This process took 20 minutes. I set the dough aside and let it rise for 2 hours, maybe longer. Before bed, I punched the dough down, formed 2 dough balls out of it, and put them in 2 bowls to rise in the fridge overnight and all day the next day. [I probably let them rise some before that, too. I honestly can’t remember right now.] When I got home from work, I pulled them out of the fridge and let them warm up a little bit before I baked them. They hadn’t risen much. I baked them at 425F for 15 minutes, and then at 375F for another 30 minutes – 45 minutes total.

While the bread bowls baked, I made soup. I had made a stock out of the chicken I made. I came across this recipe for Chicken Wild Rice Soup that seemed promising. I was very happy to discover that I had wild rice in my pantry (buying ingredients on impulse sometimes pays off), so I could make it.

I decided not to use all of the onion it called for since Alex has (legitimately) complained that a lot of the recipes I’ve made have been onion-heavy. I chopped up a little celery to put in it, but no carrot since I knew the stock had carrots in it. I cooked the onion and celery in oil instead of butter, and as always the oil almost always completely disappeared before I could add the flour and pepper. Next I added chicken stock and 2% milk. I probably had about 2 cups of chicken to put in it, and I added cooked carrots, fresh thyme, and the cooked wild rice. The recipe didn’t say to cook it much after that, and I didn’t have the time to, although I thought it should have been thicker.

My bread bowls hadn’t really risen like I thought they should, and so they were rather small, still roll-like. I decided they would become bread bowls anyway. I sawed off the tops, hollowed them out as best as I could, and poured soup into them. I served additional soup in regular bowls as well.

Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup in a (Mini) Sourdough Bread Bowl

I tore the bowls as I cut them so soup drizzled out a little. I thought they were kind of cute, even if they were a little disappointing since they didn’t rise. They tasted good – if anything, the bread bowls might have been a bit salty. I realize now that my starter had been underfed, and that contributed to the lack of volume of the bread. I may try these again, with well-fed starter.

I should have done a better job on the soup. I used too much water when I made my stock, so it wasn’t as strong a chicken flavor as it should have been. I should have used the full amount of onion (and sauteed carrot as well) to get a better depth of flavor for the soup. I didn’t do a very good job of making the roux (butter and flour – I’m pretty sure I should be able to use oil here); my oil almost always cooks away before the flour is added, defeating the point of the roux. I had the same problem with this when I made chicken pot pie (even though I didn’t mention it). If you’re not using cream in this recipe, I think you’d need to compensate with a little extra flour because my flawed version turned out a little thin. I didn’t like the thyme in the soup, but that wouldn’t keep me from trying it again. I’d actually like to make this recipe again to be sure to give it the full chance that it deserves, because I’m pretty sure it’s a good recipe.

3 thoughts on “143: Sourdough Bread Bowls with 144: Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup”

  1. A couple of things that I feel you did wrong that might have contributed to the lack of rising:

    1. Make sure your starter was good… foamy, nice aroma, some brownish liquid is a good sign as long as the smell is good… if it smells like nail polish remover, throw it out and start again.

    2. I don’t think you used enough starter. I’d suggest 1.5 cups of starter and 2 cups of flour. If your starter is the right consistency, you shouldn’t need to add any water as the starter will be all the liquid you need, except for a teaspoon or two of water or flour as necessary to get the right consistency to your dough.

    3. I also think you were a little heavy on the salt. For the amount of flour/starter mixture above, 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt should be all you need.

    4. You are absolutely correct, kneading sourdough is a lot of work. However, if your hands and wrists are hurting, its because you are kneading it incorrectly. Use your shoulders. Knead the dough on a well floured counter top or table that is a comfortable height while standing. Once you are ready to begin kneading, stand back from the counter a little, grasp the dough and with your arms stiff and using the heel of your hand to press the dough, move or rock forward, pushing the dough toward the back of the counter. Once the dough has been elongated, fold it back upon itself and rotate it 90 degrees. Bring the dough back to the front of the counter and again using the heal of your hands (yes, both of them, one on top of the other), rock forward again, flattening the dough as you move forward, and then fold it back on top of itself, rotate 90 degrees and do it again, and again. You should not be using your wrists or your arms… its all done with body movement. You should be able to knead the dough for 20 minutes without tiring.

    5. Your first rise of 1.5 hours to 2 hours is probably about right, but I question the effectiveness of letting it rise in the fridge overnight, and all day the next day! The second rise should be in a warm, draft free area (inside the oven with the light on is a good idea), until the balls of dough have doubled in size -or about an hour.

    6. I also think varying your oven temperature is an unnecessary step. Just set it at 400 degrees and cook for about an hour. You can brush your dough with an eggwash just prior to putting it the oven as well, to get a nice shiny crust.

    Leigh Sheppard

    1. This was my first foray into making anything on my own with sourdough starter, so I expected some failure. It wasn’t until a little later on that I really learned how to feed the starter – it probably wasn’t starving at this point, but I hadn’t really fed it enough to be very active, I think.

      Having made a little more bread, I think you’re absolutely right – I’d rather use more starter and avoid using extra water altogether. I think I probably didn’t have much starter at that point, since I was underfeeding it. I definitely don’t have good kneading technique, so I’ll have to try what you’ve suggested. I’m a little short, so I’ll have to figure out a better place for kneading, or make some other kind of adjustment.

      I know that the dough won’t really rise in the fridge, so I don’t particularly like refrigerating the dough. I work during the day, though, so if I want fresh bread for dinner, I either have to bake it early in the morning (which I could sometimes do, although that would still mean an overnight rise), or right after work. Unfortunately, neither is ideal. Lately I’ve been making bread on the weekends to avoid issues with rising times, but of course that means I can’t have fresh-baked bread right after work…

      Whenever I make bread or bread bowls like this again, I’ll follow your suggestions. Thank you for reading all this, and thank you for your feedback!

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