We don’t have much experience in making loaves of bread. So, we have decided to start baking them more often to learn different methods. When it’s time to make a new loaf we prowl the internet to find a recipe that sounds good to us. In the past month we have made this jalapeño cheddar bread twice; we found it on epicurious.
One loaf of this bread takes almost 7 hours to make with only about 20 minutes of your actual attention. It would have been much easier if we owned a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, but with our simple wooden spoon and metallic bowl we managed to get through it just fine. The bread was delicious both times. The first loaf turned out well but we thought it should be more spicy so the next time we added more jalapeño and more seeds; we may have put a bit too many peppers the second time even though it was still not very spicy. The flavor, however, was great in both cases and we will make it again according to the recipe.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast (less than a 1/4-ounce package)
1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon warm water (105-115°F)
4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh jalapeño, including seeds and ribs, plus 2 tablespoons
chopped fresh jalapeño, without seeds and ribs (from 3 medium total)
5 ounces coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3/4 cup)
1 large egg, beaten with a pinch of salt
* Special equipment: a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment
Below are the instruction from the original recipe along with our observations of the process….
Stir together yeast and 1 tablespoon warm water in a small bowl; let mixture stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If it doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.) °° We did this a few times and it never foamed so we decided to move on. I was worried that it wouldn’t rise properly since the instructions specifically say to start over. Well, we did start over and it never foamed for us ;( but it in the end it didn’t seem to matter much at all.
Mix together flour, salt, oil, yeast mixture, and remaining 1x cups warm water in bowl of mixer at low speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat 3 minutes more. Add jalapeño, 1 1/2 cups Cheddar, and 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and mix until combined. °° This is where a stand mixer would have been extremely helpful!
Scrape dough down side of bowl (all around) into center, then sprinkle lightly with flour. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) to keep a crust from forming and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (Alternatively,let dough rise in bowl in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours.)
Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and gently form into a roughly 11- by 8-inch rectangle with floured hands.
Fold dough in thirds (like a letter) with floured hands (dough will be sticky), pressing along seam of each fold to seal.
Put dough, seam side down, in an oiled 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. Cover pan with same clean kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until dough completely fills pan and rises above it slightly, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
Brush loaf with egg, then sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons Cheddar and remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano down center of loaf.
Bake until bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen loaf, then remove from pan to test for doneness. °° The Bread turned out to be beautiful after almost an hour of cooking. I can’t say we tapped on the fresh out of the oven loaf to hear the hollow sound but it looked done to us and it was.
Return bread (not in pan) to oven and turn on its side, then bake 10 minutes more to crisp crust. Cool completely on a rack, about 1 1/2 hours. °° We didn’t do this step on the first loaf but we did on the second; I didn’t notice much of a difference.
We enjoyed this jalapeño cheddar bread all week in many fashions. We made a delicious grilled swiss cheese with a mustard seed spread, garlic bread, and an eggs Florentine. A flavored bread is definitely a nice way to spice up your everyday meals. This makes me want to try more!