This Sourdough Jalapeño Cheddar Bread marries pickled jalapeño peppers with sharp cheddar cheese for zing, and sourdough starter discard for tang. You'll have cheesy jalapeño bread goodness in every bite!Adapted from In Fine Taste
1cupsourdough starter discard, unfed, at room temperature, see Recipe Notes
2½teaspoonyeast, instant or rapid rise, see Recipe Notes
½ to ¾cupwater, warmed to 110 to 120°F
1cupcheddar cheese, sharp, shredded
½cuppickled jalapeño peppers slices, rinsed and patted dry, diced, see Recipe Notes
For the topping
¼cupcheddar cheese, sharp, shredded
6 to 12pickled 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!
Using fed sourdough starter can give you a better rise (depending on how vigorous your starter is), but using unfed sourdough starter discard works just fine. If you do use fed starter (and it's active and bubbly), you can omit the yeast, but the rising times can be longer.If you use Active Dry yeast, then you might want to sprinkle yeast on to the warmed water with a teaspoon of sugar and allow it to sit for a few minutes before proceeding with the recipe. Letting it foam "proves" the yeast is active and ready to go to work.Start with ½ cup water (113g), then add more in 1 tablespoon increments as needed to get a soft dough.Instead of using pickled jalapeño peppers, dice 2 to 3 fresh jalapeño peppers for the filling and slice 2 additional fresh jalapeño peppers for the the topping.You can make one large round instead of two small ones. Just increase the baking time to 30 minutes at 425°F and 15 to 20 minutes at 400°F.Sourdough Jalapeño Cheddar Sandwich Bread: 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.Store the bread in an airtight container on the counter for up to three days. It freezes well wrapped in plastic wrap and sealed in an airtight bag for a month or more.