Monday, February 14, 2011

Jalapeno-Cheddar Bread

Despite my best intentions to pull together a Superbowl party this year, travel and other commitments nixed that plan.  Instead, my parents brought chili, and I supplied the toppings and sides.  While I had originally intended to make cornbread, Kira at Cook, Pray, Love reminded me how much I had liked Homesick Texan's Jalapeno Cheddar Bread a couple of years ago when I was first starting out with yeast breads.  I did sub cornmeal for the semolina to give it some heft, and reduced the amount of peppers since my dad's chili is always super spicy.  The bread was great with the chili, and has made excellent toast for breakfast and BLTs since then.

Jalapeno-Cheddar Bread

What's in it:

2 1/4 teaspoons
1/4 cup of warm water
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg
2 1/2 cups of bread flour plus more if needed
1 cup of yellow cornmeal

3 jalapenos, stemmed and seeded, diced
2 cups of cheddar cheese, grated.
1 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt (can add more to taste)

How to make it:

Mix together the yeast and water.  Mix together the melted butter, egg and buttermilk and add to yeast and water.  Add the salt, sugar and bread flour to the liquids and mix well. Then add the cornmeal to the dough and mix well. If the dough is too wet, gradually add more bread flour 1/4 cup at a time.  I did end up adding nearly a cup of flour, I'm guessing because the cornmeal doesn't absorb as much water as the flour.

Place dough on a floured surface and knead for five to ten minutes until dough is smooth.  Form dough into a ball and place into a bowl greased with butter.  Cover the bowl, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size—about an hour.  Turn out dough on a floured surface, and slowly knead into the dough the jalapenos and cheese, a little bit at a time.  When cheese and jalapenos are incorporated into the dough, place dough into a greased bread loaf pan (8-1/2" x 4-1/2" x 2-3/4). 

Cover the pan and let dough rise until doubled in size (it should be at the top or a bit over the top of the pan)—about an hour.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake bread for 40-45 minutes on a center rack (when you thump the top and it sounds hollow, the bread is done).   Let cool for ten minutes, and then slide it out of the pan, slice and serve with your favorite chili, barbeque, or sandwich, or just toast and drizzle with honey!

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