Recipe: Beer And Cheese Soup Bread Bowl


I didn't give James a recipe brief. I don't like cheese. He gave me a cheese soup recipe. I do like beer though, so that's something. This is actually a delicious recipe... try it for yourself!


  • 500 g strong white flour
  • 7 g dried instant yeast
  • 10 g salt
  • 350 ml tepid water
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 ea large shallots
  • 1 ea carrot
  • 1 stick celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 90 g pancetta cubes
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 ea bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 200 ml double cream
  • 300 ml pale ale (or your favourite beer, but something not too bitter)
  • 150 g cheddar cheese
  • 25 g pumpkin seeds
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 ea chives, sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Make the Dough

Step 1

Make The Dough

Tip the flour into a mixing bowl and add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt on the other side. Combine everything, then begin pouring the water into the middle of the bowl, mixing it with the flour by hand (you can use a spoon but you’ll have to get your hands involved soon). Keep pouring and mixing until you have a wet but combined dough. Dust a work surface with flour and tip the dough out of the bowl. Knead the dough on the surface, folding it over and pushing into the surface, turning and repeating, for 10 minutes, until the dough is smoother and comes away from your hand rather than sticking. Keep adding a little flour if the dough continues to be sticky. Strip the leaves from the herbs and finely chop them. Once kneaded, add the chopped herbs and knead for another few minutes to fully incorporate it into the dough. Shape into a ball and place it back into the bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for an hour, or until it’s doubled in size.

Second Prove

Step 2

Second Prove

Scoop the dough out of the bowl and onto the work surface again. Shape into a tight ball, folding the bottom over itself to help keep structure (at this point you could also split the dough into 4 balls to make individual bowls). Place the dough onto a baking tray and cover with greased clingfilm. Prove for another hour.


Step 3


Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Pour boiling water into a small, deep roasting tray so that it reaches about half way up. Place it on the bottom rack of the oven. Place the loaf tin with the bread onto the middle rack and bake for 40 minutes, until the crust is a deep golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Fry the Veg

Step 4

Fry The Veg

Peel and finely dice the shallots, carrot and celery. Mince the garlic. Heat a small glug of oil in a large saucepan. Add the pancetta and fry until well browned. Remove and drain the pancetta. Set aside for later. Add the diced veg and the garlic to the pan used for the pancetta along with the butter, thyme and bay leaf. Continue to fry until the veg is beginning to soften. Stir in the flour and cook until it’s golden in colour.

Add Cream, Cheese and Beer

Step 5

Add Cream, Cheese And Beer

Pour in the cream and stir so that there’s no lumps. Let the mixture bubble away for 5 minutes. Grate the cheese. Pour in the beer and bring up to a simmer, then add all of the cheese. Turn the heat right down and stir until the cheese melts into a smooth soup.

Scoop and Fill the Bread Bowl

Step 6

Scoop And Fill The Bread Bowl

Grab your cooled bread and slice off the top crust and scoop out the middle of the loaves. Fill the loaves with soup and garnish with the pancetta, parsley, chives, seeds and olive oil. Serves 4

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