Monday, June 9, 2014

Go Beyond Simple Salad Recipes - Zesty Italian Sourdough Bread Recipe

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In the summertime I am a salad and breadsticks sort of gal. The warmer weather has me craving a lighter and fresher fare. It doesn't matter what kind of salad, from grilled chicken over hearts of romain to a classic caprese, I just can't get enough fresh veggies right now. From simple salad recipes to easy pasta salad, I like to have my pantry and refrigerator stocked and ready to go. Of course, when I can fix a meal like that at home I can also save a little money (...and my sanity with small children) by not eating out.

You might have noticed here on my blog, I love to bake fresh bread. My sourdough starter, Frank, likes to be used even more often in the warmer months and most days you can spot him bubbling away on my counter. Instead of making my usual baguette though, this time I wanted to see if I could improve on the flavor with a simple trick and I went for a flavored loaf of sourdough.

My trick was I used Kraft's Zesty Italian dressing to flavor the bread. Yeah, right in the bread dough.

Baked right into the  bread, chunks of garlic, onion and bell pepper are the perfect way to bring this sourdough bread  to the next level.

But before I could get baking, I had to stop at my local Walmart to pick up some supplies.

I opted to grab a bottle of both Kraft classic Ranch and Kraft Zesty Italian. With all my Summer salads I knew I would need options and these two both pack a flavorful punch and can be used in a variety of recipes. Did you know the new Kraft Pourables have been reinvented with a new, better taste? All #FoodDeservesDelicious flavor.

With my flavor secret weapon, I was ready to spend some time with Frank.

Frank is actually a new addition. I had a trusty sourdough starter before my first child was born. We got along great and I baked with him weekly for several years. Then I had a baby and things got a little ugly. Like green and fuzzy kinda ugly. We had to break up (I threw him out) and I began a rotating door of temporary replacements. I guess you could say that I am hard to live with.

My fingers are crossed that Frank will be "the one". So far things are going great.

I feed him once a week and the flavor is great. If you have ever worked with sourdough you will know that each starter has their own slightly unique flavor and personality. This starter isn't sluggish at all and bakes up nicely.

Making sourdough is easy and requires very few ingredients. For this one I replaced 1/2 cup of the water with my Kraft Zesty Italian dressing. The Kraft Zesty Italian now has even more herbs & spices. Perfect for a little added flavor kick.

Being a busy Mom, I love using my stand mixer to help knead my dough. I keep it at a speed of 4 and let it do it's magic for 5 minutes. I know I have achieved the correct wet/dry balance when the dough comes cleanly off the side. The pig-tail dough hook works like magic.

Then I transfered the dough to my rising bucket. I used to use a bowl, kitchen wrap and a tea towl over the top, but the lid on this does a great job of keeping in the moisture and I can get an easy visual on when my dough has doubled in size.

After shaping, I went rather rustic here, and then covered them to rise again.

Right before baking I used my baker's lame to slash the tops and then brushed the tops first with melted butter and then just a little more Zesty Italian Dressing.

This bread turned out with an amazing aroma, dense crumb and crisp exterior.  Spread with just a little butter, dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar or topped for a winning appetizer. This bread is the perfect partner for all your easy salad recipes all season long.

Zesty Italian Sourdough Bread

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You Will Need:
  • 1 c. 'fed' sourdough starter (feed it 4-8 hours before using it)
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 c. Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
  • 2 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 5 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing, for brushing the top of the loaf
Combine the starter, water, dressing, and salt in a stand mixer and dough hook, begin by adding 3 cups of flour. Gradually add in 1/2 cup of flour until the dough starts to come together and the sides of the mixing bowl are clean. Place in a greased bowl or dough bucket until it has doubled in size (1- 1 1/2 hours).

Divide the dough and shape into 2 loaves. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a non-stick cooking mat. I bake with a  black silicone baking mat from Silpat to help to create a crispier crust. Cover the loaves with a towl and allow them to rise for another hour.

Before an hour is up, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slash the top with a sharp knife or baker's lame, brush each loaf with melted butter and then Kraft Italian Dressing. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool completely before slicing.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy this Zesty Italian Bread is slightly grilled or toasted and topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced tomato, basil leaves, drizzled with just a little Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing and a pinch of salt and pepper. This is the taste of Summer, right here.

You can find more recipe inspiration on Kraft's Pinterest page or on the Kraft Facebook page.

Have you ever tried cooking or baking with Kraft Pourables? 

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