Jalapeño-Cheddar Bread
Jalapeño-Cheddar Bread

Jalapeño-Cheddar Bread

Recipe by Martin Philip

This tender bread is studded with pockets of cheddar cheese and slices of pickled jalapeño, creating the perfect balance between creamy richness and tangy acidity. The large batch of dough will make a loaf (think the ultimate grilled cheese) plus eight large rolls perfect for dipping in any soup or stew.

This recipe was adapted from Breaking Bread: A Baker’s Journey Home in 75 Recipes by Martin Philip. Martin notes that his original inspiration for this recipe came from the bakers at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles. Thanks to them, you can now make the best ever grilled cheese bread at home. 

1 hr
18 to 35 mins
6 hrs 35 mins
1 loaf and 8 rolls
Jalapeño-Cheddar Bread - select to zoom
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  1. To make the pickled jalapeños: In a small saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil.

  2. Combine the jalapeños and garlic in a nonreactive bowl, jar, or plastic container.

  3. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the jalapeños and garlic. Let the mixture steep at room temperature for a couple of hours, or overnight.

  4. To prepare the cheese: Divide the cheese roughly in half. Grate half and cut the other half into 1/2" cubes. Refrigerate airtight until ready to bake. (The cheese can be prepared up to a week ahead.)

  5. To make the dough: For best results, weigh your flours; this recipe was developed by metric weight. However, if you prefer to work with volume measurements, please be sure to measure your flour the King Arthur way: gently spoon the flour(s) into a cup, then sweep off any excess.

  6. In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flours, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and yeast.

  7. Add the water and butter, mixing until homogenous; in a stand mixer, use the dough hook with the mixer at medium-low speed. Knead until the dough is smooth — about 5 to 7 minutes at medium-high speed of a mixer, longer if kneading by hand.

  8. Mix in the jalapeños and cheese (both grated and cubed).

  9. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for 45 minutes.

  10. To do a bowl fold: Use your wet hand to grab a section of dough from one side, lift it up, then press it down firmly into the middle. Repeat this eight to 12 times.

  11. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for 45 minutes, or until roughly doubled in size.

  12. Divide the dough into two pieces, 800g (for the loaf) and 600g (for the rolls). Set the larger piece of dough (for the loaf) aside.

  13. To prepare the cornmeal topping: Sprinkle 78g (1/2 cup) cornmeal into a rough 4” x 8” rectangle on a clean baking sheet. Wet a clean dish towel, then wring it gently to remove excess water, leaving it well moistened. Set both the baking sheet and towel aside.

  14. To pre-shape the rolls: Lightly flour your work surface. Divide the 600g piece of dough into eight equal pieces (about 75g each). Working with one piece at a time, fold the edges of the dough into the center. Pinch to seal and set aside. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Cover the pieces and let them rest for 15 minutes.

  15. To shape the loaf: While the rolls are resting, flatten the 800g piece of dough into a rough 6" x 8" rectangle. Fold the sides in toward the middle, press to seal, then roll the top down. Roll briefly to elongate until you’ve created a 9” to 10” log. Turn the log over so its seam is on the bottom.

  16. Roll the loaf across the wet towel, fully moistening the top surface (not the seam side) and place into the cornmeal top side down, rocking to fully coat. Then use a sharp knife or lame to make eight 45° angled cuts 1” apart the length of the loaf (think the angled cuts on a baguette).

  17. Place the coated loaf into a lightly greased 9” x 5” loaf pan or  9” x 4” x 4” (pullman) loaf pan. Cover the loaf with your favorite cover; a clear shower cap or reusable bowl cover works well here.

  18. To finish shaping the rolls: Place one of the pieces of dough seam-side down on an unfloured surface. Use your cupped fingers and palm to roll it into a tight ball, moving your hand in a circular motion. It should stick slightly to the surface in order to create the surface tension necessary for a smooth exterior. If it’s unmanageably sticky, add a very light dusting of flour; if it slides around on the surface without smoothing out, use a damp towel to moisten the surface and try again. Repeat with the remainder of the dough.

  19. To coat the rolls: Roll the top of each roll across the wet towel to moisten, then place onto the cornmeal top side down, rocking to fully coat. Add additional cornmeal if necessary to fully coat the tops of all the rolls.

  20. Place the rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving at least 2” between them; a 3-2-3 row pattern works well. Cover the rolls with your favorite cover.

  21. Let the bread and rolls rest at room temperature for about 60 to 75 minutes. The rolls will become noticeably puffy; if you’re using a 9” x 5” loaf pan, the risen loaf should crest over the rim of the pan by 1” or so.

  22. While the loaf and rolls are resting, preheat the oven to 425°F. Just before baking, prepare the oven for one of the four steaming methods outlined in our blog post, Steam in bread baking.

  23. To fill the rolls: With kitchen scissors, make a single deep vertical cut in the top of each roll, about 1 1/2” to 2” deep. Insert a few slices of pickled jalapeño into the cut, pressing to wedge them in, then fill with roughly 1 tablespoon of the grated cheese.

  24. To bake the loaves and rolls: Add steam to the hot oven using the method you’ve chosen. Bake the rolls for 18 to 22 minutes, or until they’re a rich golden brown and the cheese is melted and crisp. Bake the loaf for 30 to 35 minutes, until it’s golden brown and feels firm. Remove the rolls and loaf from the oven; transfer the rolls to a cooling rack, and turn the loaf out of the pan onto the rack. Feel free to enjoy the rolls warm, but let the loaf cool completely before slicing.

  25. Storage information: Wrap the bread and rolls loosely and store at room temperature for up to several days; freeze for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Durum flour isn't the same as semolina flour, though it does lend a similar golden-yellow hue to this bread. If you don't have durum flour, substitute an equal amount (318g, 2 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon) King Arthur All-Purpose Flour instead; no other changes are necessary. 

  • In warmer months (or when your indoor temperature is 70°F to 75°F), the water should be 80°F to 85°F. In cooler months (when your indoor temperature is around 65°F), use 100°F to 110°F water. The DDT (desired dough temperature) at the end of mixing is 76°F to 78°F.

  • The recipe makes more than enough pickled jalapeños for both the loaf and rolls. You’ll have about 50g (1/3 to 1/2 cup) left over. Use the excess anyway you like, adding them as a spicy garnish to almost any dish: eggs, tacos, even a salad. Pickled jalapeños can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.