Rustic Jalapeno Cheddar Bread

Craving some warm bread fresh out of the oven?  Give this Rustic Jalapeno Cheddar Bread a shot!

Craving some warm bread fresh out of the oven? Give this Rustic Jalapeno Cheddar Bread a shot!Ah, jalapenos.  One of the few things we can grow in our garden without interference from the chipmunks and rabbits.  You see, we used to grow strawberries.  But apparently chipmunks love strawberries.  They would mow down every single strawberry in the patch…while they were still green!  We put plastic netting around the strawberries.  They chewed through it.  We put a metal wire cage around the strawberries.  They chewed through it.  (Seriously!)  So we just pulled all of the strawberries out and planted jalapenos in their place.

I could repeat this same story with the peas and lettuce this past year.  We had a nice trellis in place, and the peas were happily climbing up.  Then one day, Peter Cottontail mowed down the peas.  The tops were still all there vined in the trellis.  Problem was the bottoms were gone.  We had a fence around that bed, too, but somehow our rabbit friend made his (or her) way in.  No more peas.  And there’s no need repeating the sad tragedy of our yummy garden lettuce.  At least we kept the rabbits full.

Craving some warm bread fresh out of the oven? Give this Rustic Jalapeno Cheddar Bread a shot!While it might seem more appropriate to grow jalapenos somewhere in the southwestern part of the States, they actually do grow well here in upstate New York.  Once we learned the challenges with strawberries (and now peas and lettuce), we’ve begun transitioning more and more of our garden over to jalapenos and bell peppers.

Our growing season is short, and we have to get those starter plants in the ground by the end of May at the latest…but we do end up with a nice crop of peppers and jalapenos.  And the chipmunks and rabbits don’t dare mess with those jalapenos (or Texas pickles as my Dad calls ’em).  One time, it looked like something had chewed on part of a jalapeno.  Let’s just say that critter decided not to finish the job.

Craving some warm bread fresh out of the oven? Give this Rustic Jalapeno Cheddar Bread a shot!Jalapenos have great flavor.  But their flavor often gets overlooked due to their spice.  In my opinion, jalapenos are a bit maligned.  Folks hear jalapeno and immediately think “hmmm…too spicy for me.”  It’s true.  Jalapenos are spicy.  But if you remove the seeds and ribs, then they lose a big part of that spicy punch.  You can also soak the chopped jalapenos in water for 30-45 minutes.  What you’re left with is amazing flavor!  Sure, they can still be a bit spicy, but the flavor really comes through once all that heat is removed.

We had a bumper crop of jalapenos in our garden last year…partially because we turned half of the darned garden into a jalapeno farm!  Before the first frost, I picked all of those jalapenos and diced ’em up.  (Seeds and ribs removed, of course.)  Then I just stashed them in a sandwich bag in the freezer.  Now I’ve got plenty of diced jalapenos for our Saturday night pizzas.

Craving some warm bread fresh out of the oven? Give this Rustic Jalapeno Cheddar Bread a shot!But we had a lot of diced jalapenos.  So I decided to experiment a bit and toss some into a bread recipe.  I know what some of y’all are thinking: “Ah!  Bread!  Yeast!  Run away!  Abort Abort!”  This Jalapeno Cheddar Bread couldn’t be easier to make.  And if you’ve never made a batch of homemade bread, then please give this one a shot.  I can’t sing the praises of homemade bread enough…especially when it’s warm out of the oven!  And if you’re scared of the jalapenos, then just leave ’em out and make Jalapeno Cheddar Bread sans the jalapenos.  I won’t tell.

Craving some warm bread fresh out of the oven? Give this Rustic Jalapeno Cheddar Bread a shot!This rustic bread spread out a bit during the second rise, but that’s ok.  My Jalapeno Cheddar Bread ended up looking a bit more like focaccia in shape, but the taste was out of this world.  This bread played a significant role in my dinner that night.  And the yummy olive oil + Italian herbs + salt played a notable supporting role.  I’m thinking next time I want to try this exact same recipe, but shape the bread into a rectangle (instead of a round) and place it in a bread pan.  It would make for some excellent sandwiches!  Enjoy!

Craving some warm bread fresh out of the oven? Give this Rustic Jalapeno Cheddar Bread a shot!

Rustic Jalapeno Cheddar Bread

Craving some warm bread fresh out of the oven?  Give this Rustic Jalapeno Cheddar Bread a shot!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Resting Time: 16 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 17 hours
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 155kcal

Ingredients

For the Preferment

  • ¾ cup water
  • cups all purpose flour
  • pinch instant dry yeast

For the Final Dough

  • ¾ cup warm water
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • tsp salt
  • tsp instant dry yeast i.e. one ¼ oz. packet
  • 2 jalapenos seeded and diced
  • cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded and divided
  • cornmeal for dusting

Instructions

For the Preferment

  • The night before you make this bread, just mix all preferment ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir until well combined, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 12-18 hours.

For the Final Dough

  • Using a large bowl, add the preferment along with all remaining ingredients. (Note: Only use 1¼ cups of cheese at this stage. The remaining ¼ cup will be sprinkled on top of bread before baking. Note #2: Use a large enough bowl to allow the dough to double in size as it rises.)
  • Stir for 2-3 minutes, or until all ingredients are well combined.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and turn out onto a well-floured countertop. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Shape each piece into a rough round and place on a piece of parchment paper dusted with cornmeal. Sift a small amount of flour on top of rounds. (Note: This dough is sticky. Just do your best in shaping it into a round. This bread is called rustic for a reason!)
  • Cover loaves lightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 75 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup of cheese on top of loaves. Using a sharp knife, make 3 or 4 (½” deep) cuts into top of bread.
  • Bake at 450°F for 23-25 minutes, or until deep golden brown in color. (Note: If you tap on the bottom of the loaf, it should sound hollow.)
  • Let bread cool completely before slicing.

Notes

The basic ingredients in bread are simple: flour, water, yeast and salt. As such, it is important to carefully measure each ingredient. I recommend scooping flour into a 1-cup measure, and then scraping the top of the measure with a flat tool (table knife) to level. Alternatively, the most accurate way to measure flour is by using a kitchen scale. If you have access to a kitchen scale, use it whenever baking bread!
A good pizza stone will make a huge difference in the quality of your bread. If you have a stone, place it in the oven while it preheats, and then bake bread (with parchment paper) directly on stone.

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28 Comments

  1. Yum! I love a little spiciness, but not a mouthful of fire. Your tip about soaking the jalapenos is one I will definitely use! I really like the taste of jalapenos, but they are often way too spicy for me! This bread looks really delicious! I’ll be it would make a great grilled cheese sandwich!

    1. Yes! Soaking the jalapenos really does make a difference if you want to pull out a bit of the spiciness without losing the flavor. I love jalapenos! And this bread was amazing…and, yes, some of it did indeed turn into grilled cheese sandwiches! Thanks, Kathy! 🙂

  2. Your chipmunks mean business! They sure are persistent little fellows – especially tackling that metal wire cage y’all put on y’alls strawberries! But glad to hear they are leaving your jalapenos and peppers alone! Btw, when I used to work in a bakery during my college years, we used to get to take home a loaf every now and then and I always went for the jalapeno cheddar loaf! It was and is my absolute favorite! Lil Shashi and I were reminiscing about our bread baking days and we decided that this summer we need to start bread baking again – before she goes off to college – and then when she’s home – and you bet we are trying this one! Happy Monday, my friend – hoping this is one abfab week for all of y’all!

    1. Yeah, the chipmunk situation was a little out of control. I’m sad that we can’t grow strawberries up here…our strawberry patch was so happy! But I’m ok with the jalapenos and peppers instead. We’ll use ’em! Yes, you guys should totally get back into your bread baking days! I really would like to make more myself, but the days just seem shorter lately. They are so many awesome things you can do with bread dough! Thanks, Shashi…and tell Lil Shashi I said hello! 🙂

  3. Texas pickles – love that! I don’t really find jalapenos spicy and usually leave the seeds in ’cause I love me some spice. Too funny about your garden, but, like you said, at least you’re keeping the little critters feed, lol 😀 Least that don’t bother your peppers,….for now…hahaha! We have a little herb/veggie garden and would love to expand on that this year, maybe more veggies ’cause nothing beats homegrown! This bread sounds perfect to have smeared with butter or on a sandwich and wish I could bottle up the scent of freshly baked bread. Nothing like it! Happy Monday to ya 🙂

    1. Haha…yeah, my Dad isn’t a jalapeno fan even though he lives in Texas. But he does call ’em Texas pickles. And, yes, we were keeping the local chipmunk population very well fed…with green strawberries! Sad because our strawberry patch was so happy. But I’m ok with jalapenos and peppers instead. Jalapenos actually grow quite well. Nice and easy crop…give ’em a shot this year! Thanks so much, Dawn!

  4. Well, I can say your chipmunks are quite smart dudes opting for some particular produce, David! But I wouldn’t be so sure. Who knows, maybe one day they decide to give a try to your jalapenos…and they will like it! So you need a backup plan – lavender. You can always grow lavender:) As per jalapenos, I used to reject them thinking they wouls be too spicy for me. But for the last 2 years, I’ve been using jalapenos quite often, and I do like their flavor. However, I’ve noticed, jalapenos can have different spicy lever. F.ex., the jalapenos I was buying in January and February, were nicely hot, almost sweet that I even used some seeds to spice food up. Recently I’ve bought another package, and I could barely eat a tiny slice cause they were badly hot. Bread and cheese is always a good combo, and together with jalapenos that must be a very delicious one!

    1. I think (hope!) we’re safe with the jalapenos instead of the strawberries! Last summer, there was evidence that someone nibbled on one of the jalapenos…but it was quite obvious that the offending party did not like the jalapeno. But you know…what if the chipmunks love lavender? Then I’m just feeding the whole local chipmunk popular all of my lovely lavender. Wait…that would be ok with me! 😉 You are totally right about jalapenos, though…they can vary greatly in how hot they are. But I do love a good jalapeno in bread or chopped up on our pizza! Thanks, Ben!

    1. Oh, yeah, leave it to my Dad to come up with a new name for jalapenos…and he doesn’t even like the things! Hah! Homemade bread is amazing…like seriously one of my favorite things all time. Add in some chopped jalapenos and cheese? Yeah, I’m in heaven there! 🙂

  5. Wow! sounds like you have some pretty crafty chipmunks, I have the same trouble with a few critters in my garden as well, they burrow underground and eat the roots.

    Your bread looks outstanding, great tip about soaking the jalapenos.

    1. Yeah, we also had problems with the chipmunks burrowing under and then up into the garden. So far they’ve avoided the roots…but we finally just gave up on the strawberries. Kinda sad. But then again, now we have tons of jalapenos and peppers every year! 🙂 This bread is so tasty, Cheri…thank you!

  6. We live right next to a forest and I can so relate to your garden stories! We once watched a squirrel dig up a few flower bulbs and take off with them – little bandit! But, you’re right, they never touch the jalepenos.

    I’ve just come to appreciate jalepenos in the past few years. I used to think that they were too hot / spicy for me – but without the seeds, they’re the perfect amount of flavorful heat so I use them in everything. Except for bread!! Which is a wonderful idea…how fabulous would a grilled cheese sandwich be on jalepeno bread!? I just had lunch and now I’m hungry again! 🙂

    1. What! The squirrel stole the flower bulbs? The nerve! Jalapenos do indeed have such a great flavor. They’re a bit misunderstood as everyone thinks they are just hot. But they have a unique flavor, too! If you’re worried about the heat, you can soak the diced jalapenos (ribs and seeds removed) in a bowl of water for about 30 minutes. That helps tame the heat, too! This bread was awesome dipped in olive oil…and, yes, some of it did indeed turn into grilled cheese sandwiches! Thanks so much, Marissa! 🙂

  7. You grow jalapeños that’s exciting. I didn’t know chipmunks like strawberries, it makes sense, but that had to be annoying. I can’t believe they ate every single strawberry, even the green ones, that’s more than annoying. Chipmunks can chew through metal cages. I bet you don’t have that issues with jalapeños. This bread looks soooo tasty. I love making bread, sadly every time I try to make bread it never comes out right. Too dry, not baked enough, no flavor, but that doesn’t stop me from trying, and this Jalapeño Cheddar Bread looks like it’s fool proof.

    1. Surprsingly, jalapenos are pretty darned easy to grow…even here in upstate New York. Back when I was living in an apartment in Louisiana, I even planted a jalapeno plant next to my patio…and sure enough, I got jalapenos! 🙂 Oh man, you totally need to give this bread a shot, Mary! Don’t give up on it…homemade bread is amazing, and I know you’ll get it! (In fact, for a very, very easy homemade bread recipe, try this one: http://spicedblog.com/cheesy-spinach-and-sundried-tomato-focaccia.html It’s amazing! And you can easily sub in different flavors depending on what you like.)

  8. Maybe what you need to plant is kittens. Or puppies. Anything that will grow up to chase rabbits and chipmunks. That aside, this sounds like a delicious bread. I completely agree with you: jalapenos without the seeds have a fantastic flavor with hardly any of the characteristic Heat. I bet this bread would be delicious with pickled jalapenos, too.

    1. Haha! I like that idea, Jeff. I’ll plant some puppies this year. Although we have 2 dogs, and that didn’t seem to stop the ‘munks from getting into my strawberries! You know, that’s a great idea. You could totally make this bread with pickled jalapenos, and it would be amazing. I love the cheddar in here, but you could also have fun with different flavors/types of cheeses, too. I’m never one to turn aside homemade bread!

  9. Your story brought back lots of memories of my gardening in both Maine and New Hampshire. Critters…chipmunks in Maine and groundhogs in New Hampshire but don’t get me started. I did have bumper crops of peppers though and you put some of yours to good use with your bread, it looks good.

    1. Oh man…we had a run-in with a groundhog a few years ago, too. He literally wiped out half of our garden in one night. You can imagine the looks on our faces the next morning! Jalapenos solved that problem…and I love using them in both bread and on top of homemade pizzas. Yum! Thanks, Karen! 🙂

  10. Not going to lie, jalapenos and peppers are a great garden addition (main star?!) as these two are so expensive here haha! Did I tell you jalapenos are like…$4 a tiny tiny jar. I wonder if there is a way to keep some of those little buggers out to continue the strawberries too (maybe not the lettuce).

    Anyway, this jalapeno infused bread sounds delicious, and LOVE the addition of cheese!

    1. Oh man, jalapenos are so cheap here! I often wonder why I even bother growing them since I can buy them for like 20 cents in the store. But I guess I just enjoy watching things grow in the garden…and the chipmunks actually leave the jalapenos alone! We tried so darned hard to create a chipmunk-proof cage for the strawberries. Fail. So we decided to go jalapenos…and make bread…instead! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Smruti! I love (love!) making homemade bread, and this jalapeno + cheddar version turned out so well. I want to try it again in a loaf pan and use it for sandwiches! 🙂

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