Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jalapeno Cheese Bread

This recipe has been on my to-do list for awhile now. The past few months have been so busy for me, I just haven't had the time to sit around and wait for bread to rise. Well today I did, and boy was it worth the wait. If you have a few hours to devote to it, homemade bread is always worth the effort in my opinion. There is nothing like the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven. And when it's studded with spicy jalapenos and sharp cheddar cheese, it's just that much better. This bread is great for sandwiches, or just a slice toasted with butter. Try it! It's worth the wait.

Jalapeno Cheese Bread
Adapted from: Pink Parsley

3 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup cold buttermilk
1/3 cup water
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 Tablespoons honey
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 4oz can diced jalapenos
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Toss the jalapeno and cheddar with 1 Tablespoon of flour in a small bowl.
2. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Remove from heat and add the cold buttermilk and stir to combine.
3. Mix 3 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Add the buttermilk/water mixture, butter, honey, and yeast to a liquid measuring cup.  Turn the mixer on low, and add the liquid in a slow stream, increasing the speed of the mixer as you go to medium.  Continue mixing until the dough is smooth and satiny, stopping to scrape the dough from the hook as needed.  After about 2-3 minutes add the jalapeno-cheese mixture, and continue to knead about 10 minutes total, adding flour 1 Tablespoon at a time, as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead to form a smooth ball, about 30 seconds.
5. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, rubbing the dough around the bowl to coat with the oil.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm place (I put mine in the microwave). Let rise 60-90 minutes until dough has doubled in size. Punch down the dough and recover. Let rise another 45-60 minutes. (If you are using Instant Yeast, you can skip the second rise.)

6. Turn out onto the floured surface and gently press the dough into a rectangle that is 1 inch thick and 9 inches long.  With the long side facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers as you roll to make sure the dough sticks to itself.  Turn the dough seam-side up and pinch it closed.
7. Place the dough seam-side down in a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan, and press it gently to make sure it touches all four sides of the pan.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm spot until the dough almost doubles in size, 20-30 minutes.
8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place an empty baking pan on the lowest rack of the oven.  Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and pour  into the empty pan.  Set the loaf onto the middle rack, and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads 195 degrees, about 40-50 minutes.
9. Remove the bread from the pan and cool to room temperature on a wire rack.  Slice and serve.

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