The bread in the picture above represents our third attempt to make the perfect loaf of Jalapeno Cheddar bread. On our first attempt, the cheese and jalapenos were mixed evenly throughout the bread dough and the bread came out dense and not nearly cheesy or spicy enough for our liking. We were so crushed that we didn’t attempt to bake another loaf for nearly two years. Last weekend we mustered enough courage to try again.
For our second attempt, we used a different bread recipe and incorporated the cheddar and jalapenos in a swirl through the center of the loaf. However, we didn’t ‘swirlize’ the bread enough and the swirl of tasty goodness was more like one measly arch. We knew we were close so we made our third attempt just one week later.
This time, we made sure that we rolled the dough out long enough so that we could have a true swirl and get a little cheddar and jalapeno in every bite. Success! This bread rose perfectly on both occasions and has a light but chewy consistency…the melty cheese and zesty jalapenos put the bread over the top and when you try it toasted with a little butter you’ll never want to buy bread again.
Jalapeno Cheddar Bread:
1 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 ½ tablespoons white sugar
1 ¼ cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
2 tsp. salt
3 ¼ cups bread flour
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 fresh jalapenos, de-seeded and finely chopped
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Stir in oil, salt and one cup of the flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
2. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
3. Combine cheddar and jalapenos.
4. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll or stretch the dough so that it is approximately 22 inches long and 9 inches wide (the width of a loaf pan.) Sprinkle all but a ½ cup of the cheese and jalapeno mixture over the surface of the dough. Starting from the narrow end, tightly roll the dough until you’ve formed a loaf shape. Place the loaf, seam side down, into a lightly greased 9×5 inch loaf pan. Cover the loaf with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
6. Before putting the bread in the oven sprinkle the remaining cheddar and jalapenos over the top of the loaf. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and bake bread for about 32 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool in pan for 10-20 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before slicing.