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Cheddar-Ale Soup in a Pretzel Bowl

Oct 30, 2012 05:04AM ● By Anonymous


For the bread bowls
Makes 2 bowls

2 3/4 cup bread flour
1 package quick-rising yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup plus two tablespoons hot water
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg white, beaten


Combine the bread flour, yeast, salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set the speed on low and let it mix until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn it up one notch and let it knead for five minutes until the dough looks smooth.

Place the dough in a medium-sized bowl that’s been oiled. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a towel. Move the bowl to a warm area and let it rise for about 35 minutes.

Flour a baking sheet, and then punch the dough down and knead it lightly until it’s smooth again. Divide the dough into two pieces and shape each one into a bowl. Place them on the baking sheet, cover it with a clean tough, and let the dough rise again from 20 minutes, until it’s doubled in volume.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil, and then add the baking soda and 2 tablespoons sugar. This will make the water foam slightly. Add one bowl to the water and boil for 30 seconds. Flip it over, and boil for another 30 seconds.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bowl to a baking sheet that’s been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cook the other bowl.

Brush each bowl with egg white glaze, and then sprinkle them with coarse salt. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the rolls are golden brown. Remove from oven, and let them cool until you can handle them. Use a bread knife to cut a hole in the top of the bowl and hollow them out.


For the Soup
Serves 4 to 6

4 thick-cut bacon slices, cut into 3-inch strips
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pale ale
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups (about 1 pound) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 package baby spinach (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Extra crumbled bacon, for garnish


Cook the bacon until crisp, about eight minutes in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Discard most of the fat, and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.

Add the garlic and cook for one minute, and then add the flour and stir, coating the vegetables. Pour in the ale and cook for two to three minutes, stirring constantly. Add the Worcestershire sauce, milk, and chicken broth, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let it cook for 10 to 12 minutes, and then use an immersion blender to puree the soup to a smooth consistency.

Add the cheese by the handful, stirring constantly. Add the spinach and let it wilt. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Ladle the soup into the bread bowls and top with extra bacon.