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Is there a special type of bowl I should use to keep soup hot longer?

I'm a huge fan of soups (especially miso) and congee, but it seems like my soups turn cold too soon! It's expecially a problem with the miso soup, because you can't boil the miso. The bowls I use aren't plastic, just a normal pottery type bowl. Any suggestions?

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  1. when my father visits me he insists on drinking his coffee out of a cheap plastic cup I have rather than my usual pottery ones, saying that it stays warmer longer. My guess is that the pottery sucks the heat out. So maybe you could preheat your bowl by pouring some boiling water in first. Or use plastic :)

    2 Replies
    1. re: DGresh

      I'm too much of a snob to use plastic =), but I will try pre-heating the bowl next time.

      1. re: DGresh

        So maybe you could preheat your bowl by pouring some boiling water in first.

        Much like a hot coffee hits a cold cup, the coffee will drop in temperature a little.

        The is the obvious solution to your problem, is to preheat or warm the bowls first before filling them with soup. How you do this depends on the size and shape of the bowls you are using and whether you are using the oven or stove top when you will be serving the soup. In commercial kitchens, plates are heated under heat lamps, kitchen warming cabinets or in the oven itself. At home in your kitchen and on top of the stove top, you can leave the bowls near a burner just to get the chill out, or you can place them on top of a fry pan(cast iron works best) on low flame to warm while you are heating your soup. If you are like me and eat soup frequently as a meal (large bowl), the larger bowl can be put over the pot ,in lieu of the sauce pot lid, while the soup is heated....... This way the bowl get very hot and the soup will not drop in temperature when the bowl is filled.

        The only other option I see if you do not want to take these steps is to purchase a double insulated bowl similar to a thermos.....or to use a thermos made especially for meals.

      2. There are a couple things I can think of. One is to warm your bowls first with hot water before you pour that out and pour the hot soup in. There are covered bowls like these that will hold in the warmth -- http://www.pmsoup.com/French-Onion-So... Then you could look for double walled bowls like these Bodum ones that will insulate to some degree -- http://www.bodumusa.com/shop/line.asp...

        The Bodum glass makes for very pretty presentation but I must warn you they have their downside. They're not inexpensive. It's very frustrating how easily they break -- you won't want to run them through the dishwasher. They take up a considerable amount of storage space because they can't be stacked. AND, personally, I think you give up one of the great pleasures by not being able to pick them up and have the warming sensation in your hand.

        1. Preheating is definitely the answer. The hot water method suggested below works , but I think heating them in the oven does a much better job and is easier/less messy. Just throw them in a low oven, 150-200, for a few minutes while you're finishing or reheating the soup.

          1. http://www.koamart.com/shop/47-asian_...

            Scroll down the page to the earthen bowls. These types of bowls are great for keeping soup dishes hot longer. You can cook individual servings in the bowl, preheat the bowl in an oven or with boiling water, etc.

            4 Replies
            1. re: hannaone

              The Korean stone bowls and earthen bowls toward the bottom that page are meant to keep soup and other meals hot. Of course the bowl itself has to start out hot.

              1. re: paulj

                These are the types of bowls we used in my former restaurant. The protective trays were a must have also.

                1. re: hannaone

                  I was just going to suggest using restaurantware. I have vintage jadite restaurantware cups that are great for keeping hot drinks hot.

              2. re: hannaone

                Thank you! I will definitely be buying one of those. Come to think of it, whenever I get Bibimbap at a restaurant , it does stay hot for a very long time.

              3. Nothing to add, except WOW! Do i love Chowhound! This site is the BEST!

                1. If I am serving something communal that has to keep warm for a while on the table then I preheat my granite mortar.

                  If it's just for you you can eat out of a fondue pot. The cast iron ones retain heat well if you want to go the pre-heated route.

                    1. Emile Henry makes soup bowls of French Burgundian clay, and I have found that these keep soup hot through the course. You may be able to find other manufacturers' bowls of similar construction. These were a bit pricey at William Sonoma, so I do wash them by hand to take care of them, but boy am I happy that I have these when I am serving soup. I think they are dishwasher safe, and I am just being over cautious because I like them so much.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: RGC1982

                        don't put your emile henry in the dishwasher. you'll be sad when they eventually develop minute but fatal cracks.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          I have never done it, but it' good to know that they shouldn't go in there, just in case someone else decides to use them in this house (daughter, husband). They might put the dog in the dishwasher if I didn't tell them not to.

                          1. re: RGC1982

                            i lost a very nice little emile henry casserole dish that had been part of a wedding present set. it was the perfect size for a scalloped potatoes dish. i do miss it. ;-(.

                            i cringe when i see my mom putting old (vintage) serveware into the dishwasher. i scolded her saying that it would craze it (at the very least), and she said, "oh it won't hurt it.." i wash any vintage (i.e., not marked "dishwasher safe") pieces by hand. and emile henry -- even if new -- is too expensive (and wonderful) not to pamper.

                            i just looked up some emile henry bowls, and this says the new process makes them dishwasher safe! i STILL wouldn't do it! http://www.surlatable.com/nav/i/categ...

                      2. Consider the shape of the bowl... more surface area means faster cooling. That's why a summer tea bowl is wide and shallow and a winter tea bowls a little different shape. Its typically deeper and narrower at the rim. They hold the same amount of liquid but cool at different rates. Just something to consider, it does make a difference.

                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            I agree. I stack them with a little bit of water in each bowl. Same goes for plates. Hot food on cold plates is an anathema to me.

                            1. re: Paulustrious

                              And if the prime directive is to "enjoy the food", just get up from the table and carry the cooled plate or bowl to the microwave and give it a zap.

                              If such an act defies the decorum of your mealtime, then that's a choice you are making. If you want to have food at perfect temperature, use this marvelous 20th century tool.

                              Exceptions are plates and bowls that can't take the MW, but again, that's part of your choice.

                          2. This won't work with your jook, but on cold mornings, I sometimes send my daughter to school with miso soup in an insulated coffee mug. The insulation keeps it warm, plus it's portable, too.

                            1. Just thinking about the shape of the bowl. Fancy, schmancy soup bowls are usually proportioned very wide and shallow -- usually the problem is that the soup is served to hot, and a wide shallow bowl allows the soup to cool quickly.

                              The ideal shape for keeping your soup warm would then be tall and deep -- to wit, a MUG! Pre-heat a nice heavy mug with boiling hot water, and your soup will stay nice and hot. You could take it a step further and use one of those tea cups that have a lid (or pop a saucer on top of the mug).