Quest for Jalapeño-Cheddar Bread, Pt 2

Quest for Jalapeño-Cheddar Bread, Pt 2
Khorasan wheat. The berries are significantly larger than most other grains.

Khorasan wheat. The berries are significantly larger than most other grains.

Read part 3 here.

Last time I set some preliminary goals for developing my own jalapeño-cheddar recipe. Here's my report.

I drafted a recipe and selected a few cheeses. Since it's a work in progress, I won't share the full recipe, but I've started with a 12-hr liquid levain and built the dough with 40%/40%/20%/60% bread flour/semolina/freshly-milled khorasan/water. This hydration stat is really a lie; it doesn't account for the butter (15%) I added and any hydration from the pickled peppers or cheese.

One goal I had was to find a great cheese for this bread. I browsed the cheese selection at my local Kroger. I'm always surprised by the variety. There's really nothing like Kroger in New England where I grew up. I usually find it way too big and often have to mentally prep myself before going inside, but I do miss it when I'm away. I picked out three cheddars to try: high plains, extra sharp, and horseradish. They are decent cheeses on their own, though I'd personally like a lot more kick from the horseradish. When I'm wanting horseradish, it's not because I'm in the mood for subtlety.

I pickled the jalapeños myself - it's super quick to heat some water and vinegar. I just used plain white distilled, but next time I'll see if apple cider vinegar is a good choice for this bread. My hope is yes. 

I built one large dough (nearly 2kg), split it into three, and then worked the cheese and peppers into each of them. Dough with semolina is a pleasure to work with. It starts out like damp sand but with guidance and patience, it transforms into a golden cohesive sphere. The butter gives it a silky texture. I did a bulk rise for 3 hours, folding after 15/30/45/60/120 minutes. After shaping and a relatively short final proof, into the oven these went! The smell really permeates the apartment. I love fragrant breads.


The Good:

  • Beautiful golden crumb

  • The slices of bread held together much better than in the recipe I followed in part 1.

  • Good balance of spice and cheese; these flavors are forward and the levain and khorasan provide secondary complimenting flavors.

Needs Improvement:

  • Currently this dough would probably work best as a pan loaf, but I'm really aiming for a boule, maybe even a miche. The loaves didn't really rise in the oven so much as they spread out like a cat trying to cover every inch of that newspaper you're reading. Potential fix: less semolina, more khorasan.


  • High plains: Creamy! It's an interesting complement to the spice of the jalapeño. It is a bit subtle, though. I'd increase the quantity when I use this again.

  • Extra-sharp: Boldest cheese choice. Feels pretty classic, too. My housemates liked this the best.

  • Horseradish: Flavor didn't really come through.

Overall, a success. Look for a part 3 soon!


Edit: Read part 3 here.