. Bread and Soup Pairings: What are the Best Types of Bread to Pair with Soup? Seriously Soupy

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bread and Soup Pairings: What are the Best Types of Bread to Pair with Soup?

Garden Vegetable Soup - Image Credit: Panera Bread
I recently had the opportunity to learn more about bread at an interactive Panera Bread workshop. Not just the sliced variety that you find at a grocery store, the true art of bread making, as instructed by Tom Gumpel - head baker of Panera, involves learning how it can enhance the flavors in food as well as the overall dining experience. A hands-on class, I learned how to make a savory asiago bread pudding and a chocolate pecan babka (see recipes below). I also learned how to pair bread with food such as how grilled meats goes well with sourdough bread and how French bread goes well with breakfast food but of course my main focus was wanting to learn how to pair soup with bread. Check out this informative list (provided by Panera's Tom Gumpel and Danielle Cook) of what type of bread goes with some common cups of soups. Your soupy experience will never be the same...

French bread - Image Credit: Panera Bread
Soup and Bread Tips Pairing from Panera Bread

Information provided by Tom Gumpel, Head Baker for Panera Bread and Danielle Cook, Bakery Development Project Manager of Panera Bread.  

Low-fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup – Pairs well with asiago cheese bread.  The slightly spicy with flavors of cilantro, cumin and garlic blend perfectly with the nutty flavor of the asiago cheese in our sourdough-based bread.

Vegetarian Creamy Tomato Soup – Pairs well with three cheese bread. The tomato soup has a rich and creamy tomato flavor with hints of oregano. Dipping a piece of three cheese bread in this soup reminds you of sopping up mom’s homemade marinara with great piece of bread.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
– Pairs well with French bread.  The rich and cheesy soup with chunks of broccoli soaks in nicely to the open crumb of our French bread.  Save a little of the bread for the last bit of soup at the end of the bowl so that you can use it to scrape the bowl clean!

French Onion Soup – Pairs well with sourdough bread.  A classic at Panera since we began 23 years ago has been French onion soup in a Sourdough bread bowl.  The soup soaks into the sides of the tangy bread bowl, making the mix of the slightly sweet and beefy soup compliment the sourdough perfectly.

Low-fat Chicken Tortilla Soup – Pairs well with Jalapeno cheddar bagel. The flavors of cumin and lime along with ancho and chipotle chilies of the chicken tortilla soup blend nicely with the slightly spicy jalapenos and salsa spice mix in the bagel.  Roasted corn flour in the bagel dough balances the spices of the bagel and the soup.

New England Clam Chowder – Pairs well with country bread. Clams and potatoes in the rich, creamy broth goes really well with the nutty, yet slightly sour flavor of the country bread. Country bread’s soft crumb is a perfect match for the thick broth of the chowder.

Garden Vegetable Soup with Pesto – Pairs well with whole grain bread. The flavorful tomato broth of the Vegetable soup tastes great soaked into a piece of hearty, slightly sweet whole grain baguette.  With the added benefit of whole grains and fiber from the baguette and a variety of vegetables like zucchini, cauliflower and tomatoes in the soup, it tastes great and is good for you, too.

Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup – Pairs well with sesame semolina bread. The nutty flavor of the sesame seeds on the crust and the semolina crumb tastes great dipped into the creamy, chicken broth of the Wild Rice soup.

Baked Potato Soup
– Pairs well with ciabatta bread. The broth of this russet potato soup is full of flavor with bacon, chives and spring onions. With that in mind, a simple bread with a nice open crumb pairs well with this soup, allowing the flavors of the soup to be the star.

Low-fat Chicken Noodle Soup – Pairs well with asiago focaccia bread.  The sharp flavor of the asiago that tops this focaccia tastes great with the lightly herbed broth of the chicken noodle soup.

Bread Recipes Courtesy of Panera Bread
Asiago Strata 
Serves: 6-8 people
Assembly time: 10-15 minutes
Bake time: 35-45 minutes

Asiago Strata
2 tablespoons sweetened/salted butter (soft)
1-1/2 cup milk
1 cup cream
3 whole eggs
pinch of salt
pinch of cracked black pepper
1 loaf (18 ounces) Asiago bread
1 cup Asiago cheese, shredded (or other cheese shredded)

Preparation: Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Brush the sides and bottom of 8” baking dish or casserole dish with softened butter.

Custard: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, eggs, salt and pepper and set aside.

Cut the Asiago bread across the loaf in thin, even slices, approximately ¼ “thick. Start assembly of the strata by placing bread slices on the bottom of the dish until bottom is completely covered. Sprinkle shredded Asiago cheese as necessary on the bread slices to cover completely. Cover with another layer of bread slices and sprinkle cheese on top, again covering bread slices completely. Continue to build the strata for as many layers as dish allows, then pour custard mixture over top of strata. Cover the strata and refrigerate for 15 minutes, allowing the bread slices to soak in custard mixture.

Place the strata pan on a cookie sheet to catch any dripping of the custard. Set the strata in the center of the pre-heated oven and allow to bake for approximately 35- 45 minutes. The custard should gain a rich dark color and rise slightly from the pan (it will settle after removal from the oven). Carefully remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 15 minutes before unmolding.

Carefully invert the strata by placing a 10” plate over the top of the pan and slowly flip the plate and pan over together. Place on the counter and allow the strata to fall from the pan onto the plate. If the strata does not release from the pan, cut around the sides of the pan and try to invert again. Serve hot or warm as an accompaniment with meat and vegetables to fill out the meal.

Chocolate Pecan Babka:
Makes: 3-5 Babkas
Assembly time: Dough 20 minutes (not including rest times), fillings 15 minutes each
Final Babka: 15 minutes
Bake time: 25 -35 minutes

Chocolate Babka
Dough Ingredients:
5 oz unsalted butter (soft)
5 oz sugar
5 oz whole milk
5 oz water
5 oz whole eggs
1 lb 13 oz bread flour
1 tblsp dry instant yeast
¼ oz salt
Chocolate Ganache Filling
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate (finely chopped)
4 oz heavy cream
1 Tblsp corn syrup
Pecan Topping
1 lb pecans (coarsely chopped)
Egg Wash
1 egg
1Tbls milk
Pinch salt

Dough Instructions:
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour with the instant dry yeast using a hand whisk. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all other ingredients. Place the flour mixture into bowl on top of other ingredients.

Turn the mixer on low speed and blend for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, scrap sides and bottom of bowl and turn mixer on medium speed and continue to mix for 8-10 minutes or until a smooth, homogenous dough is achieved.

Remove the dough from the mixer and place on a lightly flour table or board. Cover the dough with a cloth to prevent gaining a skin. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, divide the dough into 3-5 equally sized pieces. Round them carefully and place in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap.

Ganache Instructions:
Heat the heavy cream just until it reaches a boil. Shut off the heat and stir in the corn syrup. Place the finely chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Allow to reach room temperature before using as a spread.

Remove the chilled dough pieces from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured table, pin out a piece of dough into a rectangle about the size of a note paper. Spread about 4 T of chocolate ganache across the entire surface of the dough. Take a handful of chopped pecans and cover the surface of the ganache evenly.

Starting from the top downward, begin rolling the babka piece into a cylinder –shape. It should now be a cigar shape with the chocolate filling tucked inside. Taking a sharp knife, cut down the middle of the cylinder pressing all the way to the table. You will now have two halves of the cylinder separated. Begin by twisting the two strands together into a simple braid.

Place babka onto a paper lined sheet pan. Brush the babka carefully with egg wash and sprinkle pecans as a garnish. Place in a warm area and allow to rise for two hours, brush again (carefully) with eggwash and place into a 350*F oven.

Bake for about 25-35 minutes or until evenly mahogany brown. Serve warm or room temperature.

More About Bread: How to Make it Last!
What’s the best way to keep bread tasting fresh? Here’s the secret Tom Gumpel, the head baker for Panera Bread®, doesn’t just know how to make fresh, great-tasting bread; he also knows how to keep it fresh and great-tasting a little longer if you can’t buy it daily. There are two basic strategies, he says. The one you use depends on how long you plan on keeping the bread:

Three days or more: As soon as you get home, cut off the portion you won’t be eating immediately and
wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Then bundle it in aluminum foil and freeze. “It’ll last a week to a week-and-ahalf, no problem,” says Gumpel. When it’s time to enjoy it again, remove the foil and plastic while the bread is still frozen, rewrap in foil, and place in a 350-degree oven for 5 to 15 minutes (depending on its size). “Just knock the chill off,” says Gumpel. “You don’t need it hot.” There’s no need to spritz it with water either. The bread will draw moisture from the inner ice crystals.

One or two days: Never refrigerate bread. “That ruins the starch, and it’ll get that day-old feel faster,”
says Gumpel. If it came in a paper sack, repackage the loaf in a plastic bag. This will help the bread retain its moisture.

What bread do you like to use with your soup?

Seriously Soupy Serena

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