An easy Jalapeno Popper Cheese Bread, with all the flavours of jalapeno poppers … in bread form!
I love jalapeno poppers. Anytime I am anywhere where they are served, I will order them up. Truth is though, I’m not likely to undertake filling, breading and deep frying a jalapeno at home any time soon. I’m guessing they’re fiddly little things to make.
That said, I’m definitely not the least bit averse to stuffing my bread with cream cheese, jalapeno and cheddar though. Not one little bit :) It was meant to be that jalapeno poppers and cheese bread should come together in my kitchen at some point in time.
So what we have here is my favourite soft cheese bread recipe, filled with cream cheese that’s mixed with diced, roasted jalapenos and cheddar cheese. Roasting the jalapenos is key. Raw jalapenos have surprisingly little flavour once mixed with other ingredients. And besides, to truly capture the flavour of jalapeno poppers (that are fried), you need to cook the jalapenos, right?
The finished bread has great creamy veins of spicy cream cheese and cheddar flowing through it and peeking out of the top. It is a jalapeno popper … in bread form.
Cook’s Notes for Jalapeno Popper Cheese Bread
This bread is great out of hand, with butter, toasted, as a sandwich bread or try it for a killer grilled cheese (because more cheese is always good!). This bread is a great side for chili or soup dinners, too.
Sometimes I will pan saute the diced jalapeno, then let cool before adding to bread. It makes a nice roasted jalapeno flavour.
The twisting shape of the bread ensures that the loaf bakes up without holes or gaps and with the filling evenly distributed throughout the loaf. Despite the shaping, it bakes up in to a solid and very sliceable loaf. If you roll this one up jelly-roll style, you will probably find large holes/gaps where the filling meets the dough. It will still be delicious, but less sliceable.
Jalapeno Popper Cheese Bread
- 6 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour (can use all purpose if that’s all you have)
- 2 tsp fine salt or 1 Tbsp. coarse kosher salt
- 5 Tbsp white or brown sugar (or 3 1/2 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar)
- 1 cup lukewarm water, about 95 F. for even softer bread, use 1 cup water leftover from boiling potatoes, cooled)
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. lukewarm buttermilk or milk
- 1 1/2 Tbsp instant yeast
- 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil
- 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- 5-6 large jalapeno peppers halved, cored and seeded
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
Preheat oven broiler. Place halved jalapenos, skin side up into oven, about 6 inches below the broiler and broil until the skins of the jalapenos are blistered and blackened in spots, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place into a paper or plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Remove and carefully peel away the skins with the edge of a knife. Discard skins and dice jalapenos. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt and sugar* together. (Tip: If measuring your flour in cups, without a scale, hold back 1 cup to add as needed later). *If you’re using honey or agave, add with the liquid ingredients instead.
In a large measuring cup or bowl, combine the water and buttermilk and whisk in the yeast until dissolved. Add this mixture, along with the melted butter, to the dry ingredients. Mix by hand or with a dough hook, until the mixture is combined, about 2 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Continue mixing the dough, adding more flour or water, as needed, until the dough becomes soft, smooth and tacky, but not sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes, then form dough into a ball. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and either refrigerate for up to 4 days, or allow to sit at room temperature until doubled in size (about 60-90 minutes). (*Tip: I like to use an 8-cup glass measuring cup, so it’s easy to see when it’s doubled by the markings).
Note: If you have refrigerated your dough, remove from the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to bake, to allow it to come to room temperature.
Grease two 8-inch by 4-inch loaf pans and set aside. In a large bowl, stir the cream cheese until smooth and creamy (I like to pop into my stand mixer and stir with the paddle attachment). Fold in 1/3 cup of the diced jalapenos until evenly mixed through the cream cheese. Set aside.
Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Dust each with a bit of flour and then, using a rolling pin, roll into a rectangle approximately 10 inches wide and 16 inches long.
Spread 1/2 of the cream cheese/jalapeno mixture evenly over the dough (spreading out almost to the edges). Sprinkle with 1/2 of the shredded cheddar and lightly press the cheese down onto the cream cheese with the palm of your hand. Starting with the shortest side, roll the dough up jelly-roll style and pinch the seam together.
Using a sharp knife, cut the roll of dough down the centre, lengthwise. Rotate each piece so that the cut sides are facing upward and place them side-by-side. Pinch together the farthest end. Keeping the cuts sides facing upwards as much as possible, place the right-side piece over the left-side piece. Straighen it up and then repeat, pinching together the end closest to you. If any cheese escapes, just place it back on top. Using a bench scraper or spatula, carefully lift the dough into the greased loaf pan. Repeat with the other dough log, then cover both with a greased piece of plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough rises to about 1-inch above the side of the pans in the middle.
Preheat oven to 350° Bake for 45-50 minutes total, but after 25 minutes of baking, rotate pans front-to-back in the oven and loosely cover with a piece of aluminum foil if necessary (if bread is already well-browned), to prevent the top from over-browning. Bread should reach about 185° internal temperature in the centre.
Remove the bread from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for a couple of minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the bread and carefully remove the loaves to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 1 hour before slicing.