These are amazingly cheesy and delicious. Warm and gooey macaroni and cheese served inside a toasty bowl made of bread. These may take some extra time to make, but if you or someone you know is in need of some super yummy comfort food, these are well worth it!
First I will explain how make the bread bowls and at step 7 starts my special mac n' cheese recipe!
Note: I am writing this between homework assignments so I'm sorry if there are any errors or mistakes.
Step 1: The Bread Bowls
These are fairly simple to make. I got the recipe from Taste of Home a while ago but I thought the directions were kind of lacking so hopefully I explain it better. The bread is moist and dense on the inside and hard on the outside. This combination allows the bowl to hold their shape and not turn to mush once they are stuffed. While they are fairly simple, they do take some time make so make sure you make these ahead of time. They can be made a day or two before and left uncut until you are ready to stuff them.
- 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 Cups Bread Flour
- 2 Tbsp Instant Dried Yeast
- 3 Cups Warm Water
- 2 Tbsp Sugar
- 2 tsp Salt
Step 2: Making the Dough
The first thing you need to do is to is combine the yeast, warm water, and a small sprinkle of sugar in a bowl. Let this sit for about five minutes. This won't be long enough for it to get very foamy but that's okay.
In another bowl, mix the sugar, salt, and 3 Cups flour together. Now, pour in the yeast mixture then mix until it starts to become a sticky dough. I used a stand mixer with the paddle attachment to do this, but you can do it by hand if you want.
Step 3: Kneading the Dough
At this point, I like to continue kneading by hand so I can feel when it gets to the right texture, however, it is much faster and easier to just use a dough hook. If you are going to knead by hand, turn the dough out on to a floured surface. The dough should be very sticky and hard to deal with so make sure you have your flour on hand. Knead in enough flour so that the dough is work able but still just a little sticky to your hands about 3-4 1/2 Cups. Now just keep kneading...
Eventually, the dough should mostly stop being sticky and should be a little stretchy and bounce back a little when poked. This can take 5 to 10 minutes depending on how good of a kneader you are or if you are using a stand mixer instead of kneading by hand.
You can add a tiny bit more flour as you go if you have to, but the point is to get the gluten in the flour to do what ever gluten does. This gives the bread the right texture and keeps it moist where as adding too much flour will make it dry and crumbly.
Once the dough is the right texture, put it in a bowl in a warm place and allow it to rise for 30 minutes.
Step 4: Forming the Rolls
These cook at a very high temperature. Set your oven to 475 or 500 degrees Fahrenheit depending on your oven. My oven temp tends to run low so I used 500F.
Prepare two cookie sheets by generously sprinkling them with cornmeal or spraying them with cooking spray.
After the dough has risen and looks about twice it's original size, gently pat it down while it is still in the bowl. just pat it down some to make it a little less puffy then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Next, being careful not to squish it too much, cut the dough into six equal-ish portions and put these on the cookie sheets. Put these in a warm place with a towel over them and allow them to rise 15 minutes.
Step 5: Baking the Rolls
Once the oven is preheating and the rolls have risen, gently brush the top of each roll with water (or an egg wash if you want them to look extra pretty.) Right before putting them in the oven, use a very sharp knife to slice an X on top of each one. The knife needs to be sharp enough to cut through the dough without squishing it down too much.
Now they are ready for the oven. Timing these can be a little tricky. once they have finished cooking, they will start to burn pretty fast. Mine usually take 15 to 20 minutes. At the 15 minutes mark it is best to keep a close eye on them until they are done. They should have an internal temperature of 200F when checked with a thermometer. they will also be golden brown and have a hard crust. Once they are out of the oven, immediately move them to a cooling rack. Be careful, the rolls and the pan will be extremely hot!
Important note: My oven is old and never worked right to begin with so cooking times might be a little different.
Other note: I forgot to get a picture as soon as I took them out of the oven, but I did add this one of a cooked one on a cutting board.
Step 6: Making the Bowls
After the rolls have cooled completely, it is time to make them into bowls. Using a sharp knife, slice the top off the roll about a third of the way down. It depends on how puffy your rolls come out and how deep you want your bowls.
Next, cut around the inside edge of the roll being careful not to cut through the bottom. Now, using your fingers scoop out the inside of the bowl. It should come away from the bottom fairly easy but you might need to dig with your fingers a little bit. If you want you can scoop out more bread from the inside rim of the bowl to make the inside wider.
You now have a bread bowl ready to be stuffed.
When the inside of the bowls come out in piece, I like to take those and the tops and make garlic toast out of them. Just spread a thin layer of butter on them and sprinkle with a little garlic, salt and oregano or Italian seasoning. Then just pop them in the oven until they are lightly browned on the edges.
Important Note: Be very careful when cutting the rolls. When cutting the inside, keep the roll on the cutting board. The knife can poke through the bottom and cut your hand if you are holding the roll while cutting it!
Step 7: Macaroni and Cheese
This is my recipe for macaroni and cheese. I'm sure any experienced mac n' cheese makers will say I am making it wrong, but this way never fails and tastes awesome. If you already have your own recipe, feel free to use it just make sure it has enough extra sauce or it might become too dry in the bread bowls.
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- A little less than a Tablespoon of Flour
- 2 Cups Milk
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- 2 oz Cream Cheese
- 16 oz Cheese - I used mild cheddar and a cheddar and Monterrey blend. I also like to get the cheese bricks and shred it my self, but pre-shredded works too.
- One 16 oz box of macaroni
- 1/2 cup Bread crumbs
- 1 tsp Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp Salt
Step 8: Prepare Macaroni and Cheese ;)
Cook the macaroni according the instruction on the box. Once cooked and drained, set aside until the cheese sauce is ready.
If using blocks of cheese use a cheese grater to shred the cheese to help it melt faster. Cut the cream cheese into smaller chunks too.
Step 9: Making the Cheese Sauce
In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter on medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and keep stirring with a whisk for about a minute.
Now pour in the milk and immediately whisk together. Then add the salt and the pepper. Up the temperature to medium and stir frequently to prevent it from burning on the bottom. Keep cooking until it starts to thicken.
Now remove from heat. Add the cheese and cream cheese in small handfuls letting each one melt before adding the next.
Step 10: Fixing the Broken Cheese Sauce
About 90% of the time I make this the cheese sauce curdles. I have been told that mustard will stop it but I don't like mustard so that's not going to happen. Instead I have found a quick and easy way to get rid of the curdles and get a deliciously creamy sauce.
If your cheese sauce curdles, you can use either an immersion blender or a regular blender to blend the curdles away. I have found this works extremely well and even makes for a lighter, creamer sauce than other curdless recipes.
Step 11: Macaroni and Cheese
Combine the macaronis and the the cheese sauce and stir until all the macaronis are covered. At this point, go ahead and taste it to make sure it has enough salt and pepper and add more if needed. The sauce should be a little thinner and there should be a little more extra sauce than regular mac n' cheese because it will dry out some in the oven. Add more milk a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the consistency you want.
Note: You don't want mac n' cheese soup just mac n' cheese with a little extra sauce.
Step 12: Filling and Toasting the Bowls
Preheat your oven broiler to high. I'm not sure if all ovens have broiler so if your doesn't just setting your oven to 400F should be fine.
Now arrange the bread bowls on a cookie sheet. I fit three per cookie sheet. Only fill and cook them one batch at a time. Now scoop the mac n' cheese into each bowl and fill them to just over the rim of the bread bowl. Once they are filled, sprinkle the bread crumb mix over the top of the mac n' cheese.
Now, pop them in the oven. You just want the bread crumbs to brown a little. They will only take 30 seconds to a minute so its best to stay right next to the oven and watch them. As soon as they are nicely brown, immediately take them out of the oven.
Note: If you don't want to use bread crumbs, you can sprinkle more cheese in top instead.
Step 13: Mac 'n Cheese Bread Bowls
You now have some awesomely delicious mac n' cheese bowls. You can also experiment and try other types of fillings. I recently made some with alfredo and pasta and they also turned out delicious.
Note: These are pretty big and take a while to eat so after a lot of experience with these I suggest eating them on a cold day while sitting on your couch wrapped in blankets and watching a movie.