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The Practical Baker
Jalapeno/Cheese Bread
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 • Posted July 16, 2008

The Practical Baker

Jalapeno/Cheese Bread

In the baking world, purists abound. There are many of these folks, who write nice books about baking, who seem to believe that the ONLY way to bake bread is the old fashioned, labor-intensive way. Their products are, indeed, wonderful to behold and to consume. But for those of us who sometimes have other things to do with our time besides sitting around and waiting for bread to rise (twice!) there are some shortcuts that can be taken. The end product is very acceptable, and many people can’t really tell that, just possibly, you’ve taken a slightly shorter route to putting a nice loaf of bread on the table.

This Jalapeno/Cheese Bread is a perfect example. Additionally, I have had several folks ask me about bread machine recipes. Now, if you want to get the baking purists’ feathers ruffled, drop a bread machine recipe into the conversation! So, to make sure that I ruffle as many feathers as I can, I’ll include a couple of machine recipes in future columns.

Jalapeno/Cheese Bread; The Original, More Complicated Recipe

1 pkg active dry yeast

¼ C lukewarm water (105 to 115 degrees)

1 T plus ½ t sugar

3 T butter

¾ C milk

1 ½ t salt

1 egg

1 egg yolk

3 ½ C flour

1 ½ C sharp cheddar cheese

2 to 4 T chopped, canned jalapenos

Dissolve yeast in warm water with ½ t sugar in a small bowl. Heat butter and milk to lukewarm. Place in a large mixing bowl with remaining sugar and the salt. Mix in the egg, egg yolk and dissolved yeast. Beat in 2 cups of flour. Gradually beat in enough remaining flour until a soft dough forms. Knead until smooth and elastic. Cover. Let rise in a greased bowl until doubled (about 1 ½ hours). Punch down dough. Roll into a rectangle about ½-inch thick. Sprinkle with the combined cheese and jalapenos. Roll up tightly, jelly-roll fashion, beginning with the long side. Pinch seam. Grease a baking sheet. Twist the roll into a spiral (coil) shape. Place on sheet. Cover. Let rise until almost doubled (about 30 minutes). Bake at 375 to 400 for about 40 minutes until golden brown.

Tip: Before baking, the bread can be brushed with egg white and sprinkled with a little cheese and paprika.

Jalapeno/Cheese Bread, The Practical Baker’s Quick Recipe

1 ½ C sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

2 to 4 T chopped, canned jalapenos

1 can of refrigerated French Bread (in the long, slender tubes)

Remove the dough from the can and slowly, carefully unroll it, starting at the seam.

Add cheese and jalapenos, distributing them as evenly as possible over the dough.

Roll the dough up, jelly-roll fashion. Pinch seam. Grease a baking sheet and place, seam down, on the sheet. Twist into a coil. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. You may also use the “Tip,” above, before you begin the baking of the bread.

We’ve tried this bread many times, preparing it both ways. The “original” recipe is excellent, and in a side-by-side comparison (which we did), it won, by a small margin, because of the better texture. However, without the “real” bread to compare it to, most people think the quick recipe is just as tasty. If you’re in a hurry, it’s no contest!

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