Delicious homemade Jalapeno Cheese Bread, flavoured with buttermilk and semolina (finely ground cornmeal), for a perfect side for soups or chilli. Makes a killer grilled cheese, too!
I was recently on the hunt for a great Jalapeno Cheese bread to have with a big pot of chilli and happened on a popular one from The Homesick Texan. I hopped from that recipe to the recipe she based hers on, one from Sheila Lukins. As I often do, I looked at them both and created my own version, part intentionally and part not :)
I borrowed the use of buttermilk instead of milk from the Homesick Texan version and incorporated the pre-cooking of the jalapeno from the Lukin’s version (because, from experience, I have learned that raw jalapeno in bread has surprising little flavour). I also changed how the cheese and jalapeno was added to the dough and the shaping of the loaf, not because I thought I knew better than either of these cooks, but simply because I found myself working ahead of actually reading the instructions. I do that a lot :) Yes, I scattered the cheese and cooked jalapeno over the rolled dough, then rolled it up jelly-roll style, before reading the instructions that indicated otherwise. Ooops :)
In my defence, most filled loaf bread is done this way, then rolled or at least folded, before placing in to the loaf pan. The original recipes both kneaded the jalapeno and cheddar in to the dough though, then formed in to a loaf-sized rectangle and just plopped the dough in to the loaf pan. Hmmmm. Oh well. I plodded on and the loaf you see here was the result. I loved it and was not the least bit put off by the holes and gaps that filling and rolling it up jelly-roll style created. All the better to rip of some hunks and stuff them in my mouth, I say! That said, perhaps a bit less than ideal for sandwiches.
So as I am always somewhat disappointed when I bake a recipe differently without ever having tried making it the way it was written, I did bake another loaf later, where I actually followed the kneading-in and shaping instructions from the original. And yes, the result was a solid (no holes) bread, which of course, makes for perfect slices. I do think the actualy bread itself was a bit more dense and didn’t rise to the fluffy heights of the first version, no doubt owing to the different shaping method. Still a delicious loaf though, for sure!
So there you have it. Take your pick of the two methods. You won’t be disappointed with either!
I loved the addition of semolina flour (finely ground cornmeal) to this bread. It added great flavour! You’ll usually find semolina flour in with the cornmeal at the grocery store. If you only have or have access to regular cornmeal, use the finest ground you have or can find.
The buttermilk also adds great flavour to this bread. If you have some on hand, I’d definitely recommend it. You can also make a quick buttermilk equivalent by souring 1 cup of regular milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar.
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1/4 cup finely diced jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed
- 2 1/4 tsp. active dry or instant yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110 F.)
- 1 cup buttermilk, well shaken and at room temperature
- 3 Tbsp. butter, melted then cooled to room temperature
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups semolina flour (or fine cornmeal), plus a bit more more to scatter in pan
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt (a bit less if you've used salted butter)
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (plus a bit more for top, if desired)
- Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add jalapeno and cook, stirring until just softened, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl of the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a kneading hook, combine the yeast and water. Stir and allow to stand 5 minutes. Add the buttermilk, the 3 Tbsp. melted and cooled butter and the egg and mix well.
- Add 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, the semolina (cornmeal), sugar and salt. Mix to combine. Begin adding addition all-purpose flour in small increments, until you have a smooth, moist (but not sticky) dough. Remove to the dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan and sprinkle with a bit of semolina flour or fine cornmeal. Set aside.
- Remove the dough to flour work surface.
- For a filled rolled loaf: roll dough in to a 8-inch x 16 to 18-inch rectangle. Scatter with grated cheddar cheese and cooled jalapeno. Starting with the short edge, roll up jelly-roll style. Place in to prepared 9x5-inch loaf pan.
- For a solid loaf, knead grated cheese and jalapeno in to dough. Form in to a rough 9x5-inch rectangle an place in to prepared pan.
- Cover loaf with greased plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. *Check at the 45 minute point of cooking and cover loosely with aluminum foil if it is dark enough already.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove plastic wrap. Sprinkle top with additional grated cheese, if desired. Bake in preheated oven until the top is deep golden and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 1 hour. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on a cooling rack.
Adapted from both The Homesick Texan and Sheila Lukins