This extra-flavorful Sourdough Jalapeño Cheddar Bread has pickled jalapeño peppers, sharp cheddar cheese, & sourdough starter discard. Yum!
It's time to spice up sourdough bread.
Making basic bread requires just 4 ingredients...flour, water, yeast, and salt, and has a good, plain flavor.
And when you maintain a sourdough starter, the unfed starter can be substituted for some of the flour and water. That sourdough starter discard also adds its tangy flavor to the bread, although it's subtle.
Another way is to add mix-ins. Enter Sourdough Jalapeño Cheddar Bread. Flavor amped to the max!
Plus, it's another way to use unfed sourdough starter. Score!
What you need
It's best to use a medium to sharp cheddar for this Jalapeño Cheddar Bread recipe. Any milder, and you won't taste the cheese, while anything sharper won't melt as well.
I use pickled jalapeño pepper slices, rinsed and patted dry, for this bread. The pickling softens the peppers, and adds a nice saltiness to the spiciness. If you prefer, just dice 2 to 3 fresh jalapeño peppers for the filling and slice 2 additional fresh jalapeño peppers for the topping.
How to make a layered filled bread
The difference between this cheesy jalapeño bread and a normal sourdough bread is the layering. It's even different than a rolled filled bread like a babka.
We're layering in filling more like a laminated dough, think puff pastry or croissants. Will get to that in a minute.
Step 1: Make the dough
Step 2: Layer in the fillings
Here's when we mix in the cheddar cheese and the diced jalapeño peppers.
The goal is to have an even distribution of the cheese and peppers throughout the bread, so layering makes sure you don't get clumps of cheese and peppers in the bread.
Pat out the dough into a rectangle, then sprinkle some of the filling across it. Bring the corners over the filling, then pat the dough out into a rectangle again and repeat the process until all the filling is used, about four more times.
Step 3: Allow the dough to rise until doubled
Gently shape the dough into a large ball, being careful not to tear open the layers you've just created.
Here's another view of the rising dough...
Step 4: Shape the dough into rounds
Divide the dough in half. Here's where you can see all those lovely layers you created.
Shape the dough halves into rounds, then cover and allow to rise again.
Step 5: Slash the dough before baking
The idea with slashing dough is to control how the dough will split while baking.
You can use a serrated knife, but a more professional tool is called a bread lame. It's a stylized handle for a razor blade that creates a much sharper cut, allowing for cleaner, deeper slashes. It's also great for creating designs.
Step 6: Bake the rounds
These rounds are baked in two stages.
First bake at 425°F for 20 minutes, then top them with the extra cheddar cheese and jalapeño pepper slices and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.
You'll know the bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom and a digital thermometer measures at least 200°F.
Questions asked and answered
Here are some questions that you might have...
It's best to grate your own cheese for this recipe. Bagged shredded cheese can have additives that will prevent it from melting, and you're after that ooey-gooey cheesy goodness here!
You can, yes. But just dumping in all the fillings at once and kneading them in can lead to a less even distribution. By layering in the fillings, you'll be less likely to have clumpy pockets of cheese and peppers in your bread.
Sure! After the first rise, shape the dough into a loaf by patting the dough out into a rectangle and rolling it into a log from the short end. Ease the dough into a standard loaf pan sprayed with baking spray, cover, and let rise. Bake as directed for the round.
So much flavor in one bread
This Sourdough Jalapeño Cheddar Bread is spicy with a soft interior. Fresh from the oven, the cheddar cheese is ooey-gooey and oh, so yummy.
Delicious warm with butter, this bread makes a great accompaniment to a bowl of chili.
You'll love having this flavorful bread in your repertoire for using sourdough starter discard!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Recipes using sourdough starter discard
When you maintain a sourdough starter, you have a dilemma. What do you do with your unfed sourdough starter discard? I've got lots of suggestions for sweet and savory ways to use your fed sourdough starter and the sourdough starter discard. Here are a few samples...
Sourdough Starter Maintenance
Here's all you need to know about feeding your sourdough starter. Whether you're new to sourdough or just need a refresher, this is the place to start!
Sourdough Jalapeño Cheddar Bread
For the bread
- 3 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 cup sourdough starter discard, unfed, at room temperature, see Recipe Notes
- 2½ tsp yeast, instant or rapid rise, see Recipe Notes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ to ¾ cup water, warmed to 110 to 120°F
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, sharp, shredded
- ½ cup pickled jalapeño peppers slices, rinsed and patted dry, diced, see Recipe Notes
For the topping
- ¼ cup cheddar cheese, sharp, shredded
- 6 to 12 pickled jalapeño peppers slices, rinsed and patted dry, see Recipe Notes
- In the bowl of a large stand mixer filled with the dough hook, combine the flour, starter, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add a ½ cup water (113g) to the mixture and mix on low just until you get a soft dough. If needed, add additional water in 1 tablespoon increments to get the right dough consistency. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and flatten into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Sprinkle a small amount of cheese and diced pickled jalapeños evenly across the dough, then gently fold the edges up and over the filling (see the picture below). Flatten the dough again and repeat the process four more times until all the cheese and diced pickled jalapeños have been layered into the dough.
- Gently shape the dough into a large ball, being careful not to tear open the layers you've just created. Place the dough into a bowl that’s been lightly sprayed with canola oil spray and cover with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in a warm place and let rise for 60 to 90 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Return the dough to the floured surface, divide in half, and gently shape into two small rounds. Place the rounds on a half sheet baking pan lined with a Silpat silicone mat or parchment paper and cover them with a greased piece of plastic wrap. Let the rounds rise for 30 to 60 minutes in a warm corner of the kitchen.
- While the rounds are rising, preheat the oven to 425°F and place a pan of water on the bottom rack.
- Slash the top of the rounds with two perpendicular slices about 1-inch deep to form an X shape. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and top the rounds with the ¼ cup shredded cheddar and pickled jalapeño slices.
- Reduce the heat to 400°F and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crusts are golden brown and a digital thermometer reads 200°F at the bottom of the loaves.
- Transfer the rounds to cool on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!