It's rather silly, I suppose, but one of my enduring memories of the Minnesota Renaissance Fair is the cheese soup in a bread bowl.
Back in college it was a fall ritual to road trip from Superior down to Shakopee and spend a day roaming around the fair grounds. We didn't have much money, but everyone pitched in for gas and the shows on the grounds were free.
They had a wide variety of foods, but cheese soup in a bread bowl was something I almost always indulged in.
I hadn't had soup in a bread bowl in years, until the winter of 2007-2008 when I saw it on the menu at a local restaurant. It was so good that I really wanted to have it again, but we don't go out to eat very often. I figured why not make it at home?
Now we don't have to wait for the fair or a restaurant visit to enjoy the crispy crust of a bread bowl filled with piping hot soup. It's warm and filling – plus, it's budget friendly, especially if you use garden veggies and homemade chicken broth.
Sometimes I use the ham, sometimes not – it depends on what I have on hand. My youngest added a small minced hot pepper in our last batch and it added a nice kick. Feel free to mix and match your favorite veggies. If you avoid GMOs, non-GMO cornstarch is available online and in many grocery stores.Print
You'll love this homemade cheese soup in crusty bread bowls. It's fancy enough to impress company, but easy enough that even teenagers can make it.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 14 cups 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop Cooking
- Cuisine: American
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 button mushrooms, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped ham
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 lb sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (reserve a little for garnish, if desired)
- salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- In a large heavy bottomed kettle, melt butter or margarine. Add carrots, celery, onion, green pepper, mushrooms, and ham; cook over medium heat until vegetables are crisp tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not brown.
- Add broth cornstarch. Cook, stirring constantly, until quite thick. Add milk, paprika, cayenne, and mustard.
- Stir in cheese gradually, stirring until cheese is melted. To avoid curdling, do not allow soup to boil after cheese is added. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve piping hot, garnishing with shredded cheese, if desired.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
Keywords: soup, cheese soup
Bread Bowls for Soup or Chili
You can enjoy your cheese your cheese soup served in your favorite soup bowl, but if you enjoy fresh baked bread and have a little extra time, these homemade bread bowls are the bomb. I prefer SAF-INSTANT yeast and King Arthur flour or organic bread flour such as Heartland Mills.Print
Homemade Bread Bowls
These bread bowls have a crackly crust that's perfect for dipping in your favorite soup.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 bowls 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
Salt Water Glaze:
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- To make the dough, you can either use the dough cycle on your bread machine, mix in a heavy stand mixer with dough hook or Bosch Kitchen Machine, or mix by hand. Dissolve sugar, yeast and salt in warm water.
- Add flour cup by cup, mixing after each addition, until a firm dough is formed (or let the dough cycle do its thing). Let rise about 20 minutes, punch down, allow to rise until doubled in size.
- When dough has doubled in size, divide it into four portions and shape it into rounds. Place on baking sheets that are well greased or lined with reusable parchment paper. Let rise until doubled again.
- Make the salt water glaze by mixing the salt and water together in a small bowl. This will give your bread a crispy crust. Use a pastry brush to brush the rounds with the salt water glaze.
- Bake at 400°F for around 15 minutes, until lightly browned.
Since this recipe makes four bowls, you'll need two baking sheets, and will bake the bowls in two batches.
Keywords: bread, bread bowl
More Easy Recipes and Homemade Bread
If you want to make the bread recipe as a loaf instead of bowls, visit Easy Homemade French Bread for a quick rolling tutorial.
You can also check out all our recipes and kitchen tips neatly sorted by category on the Common Sense Home Recipes and Kitchen Tips page, including:
Don't forget to check out my book “Never Buy Bread Again – The Bread Book for Beginning Bakers” for an assortment of bread recipes, including gluten free options. It's available in print and digital versions. Need inspiration to tackle baking your own bread? Take a peek here. Has your bread turned out like a brick? Check out these troubleshooting tips.
A Peek Back in Time…
This cheese soup recipe was one of the first that I published back on the website. In 2009, the boys were quite a bit smaller. In the photo below the bread was still so warm from the oven it was tough to cut it into bowl shapes. The boys were “so hungry, mom!'
They still enjoy the soup, but now both are taller than I am – and they can make the soup and bread bowls themselves.
This post is written by Laurie Neverman. Laurie is the creator of Common Sense Home (formerly Common Sense Homesteading). She was raised on a small dairy farm in northwest Wisconsin, and worked in the family catering business (Irene's Custom Cakes and Catering) as her summer job through high school and college. They baked thousands of homemade dinner rolls, and hundreds of pies, cakes and other tasty treats, as well as full course meals for parties of two to several hundred.
In college, Laurie earned her BS in Math and MS in Mechanical Engineering, with an emphasis in Alternative Energy. She and her family now live out in the country in their Green Built certified home on their permaculture oasis in progress homestead. Learn more about Laurie here.
Originally published in 2009, updated in 2018.