As you might already know, my love for bread is endless. Ever since I was a kid I had this little dream of own owning a small bakery, where I would make all sorts of sweet and savory goodies. Of course, when I was a kid, the best part part of making bread was playing with the dough, which didn’t really amuse my grandma since I was stretching it and molesting it, but she always let me make my mini creations and bake them in the oven next to her gorgeous breads. So from a very early age I started experimenting with dough and just throwing ingredients in it to see what works and what doesn’t. From cheese and lumps of sugar, to chocolate and gummy bears, oh how much my poor grandma endured. And by making all that mess I learned that bread is very versatile and it can easily become a snack just by itself. And by playing with flavors and even colors it is very easy to created a wow moment at the table.
So when Daniel challenged me to make a cheesy bread by saying “I really want to taste that cheese” and adding a few moments later “do you think you can make it spicy as well?” I saw my opportunity to finally try a combination that I wanted to try for ages: jalapeños and cheddar cheese. I know there are hundreds of recipes out there and this combination is nothing new under the sun, but I really wanted to bring my grandma’s classic “heavy bread” loaded with eggs, milk and butter, load it even more with cheese and adding a bit of flames. And it worked! It was a huge success, the pockets of cheese were on point and little jalapeños pieces added just the right amount of kick, a perfect appetizer to enjoy with a side of simply tomato salsa.
Cheddar Jalapeño Bread
Upgrade your appetizers game with this spicy and super cheesy bread that you can serve instead of those nothing-new nachos
- 400 gr all purpose flour + 3 tbsp for kneading
- 200 ml warm milk
- 1 tsp sugar
- 7 gr instant yeast
- 1 egg beaten
- 50 ml butter melted
- 250 gr matured cheddar cheese
- 20 gr jalapeños finely chopped (from a can or fresh)
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp salt
From the start we will take 1/2 tsp of jalapeños and 2 tbsp of grated cheese and we will set them aside for decorating the top if the bread.
Grab a big bowl and sift the flour.
Using your hand make a well* in the center using your hand and pour the warm milk in the hole. The milk should not be hot, but warm enough to be able to keep your finger in it without burning.
Add the sugar and the yeast to the milk and let it sit for 5 minutes until bubbly and frothy.
On top of the yeast mixture add the beaten egg, the melted butter, salt and 1/4 of the grated cheese.
Start kneading the dough on a surface lightly sprinkled with flour until smooth and bouncy.
The dough is very heavy so it will take a while until everything comes together, so the easiest way to do it is to use the dough hook attachment on your kitchen machine, but it can also be done by hand, it will just take about 15 to 20 minutes until you get to the perfect elasticity and smoothness.
Lightly oil a big bowl and let your dough rise in a warm place for about 1.5 h or until doubled in size. The dough has a lot of fat so it will rise slower than a flour-yeast-water bread.
When well risen, gently punch the dough to release the air and divide the dough in 2 equal parts. We will color one of the half with yellow and stuff it with jalapeños.
Sprinkle one of the parts with turmeric and knead again for 2-3 minutes until the yellow color is even. This step is purely aesthetic so you can keep the turmeric out if you don't have it or if you want to save some time.
Prepare a 27 cm / 12-13 inch bread tray and cover with baking paper.
Roll the yellow half into a square no longer than 25 cm and sprinkle with chopped jalapenos and 1/4 of the leftover cheese.
Roll tightly into a log and set aside.
Repeat the step with the non colored dough and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.
Overlapping the ends, twist the two logs together like a rope, around each other.
Tuck the ends under and place your braided bread in the tray and let it rise again for 30 minutes or until puffed.
Preheat your oven at 180 C and right before baking sprinkle the top with the cheese and the jalapenos that we set aside at the begging.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes, checking after 30 minutes if the top is not getting brown too quickly.
In case your bread is getting brown too fast, lower your tray toward the bottom of the oven and cover the top of the bread with some extra baking paper for the last 10-15 minutes
*push the flour aside until you can see the bottom of the bowl