We were lucky enough to have been given a ton of jalapeno peppers recently. Andy's parents grew them this year, especially for Andy and I (since nobody else in their family eats spicy food; go figure!), and a couple weekends ago we received over a hundred! Seriously, this is no exaggeration: they handed us over a hundred jalapenos all at once, thereby leaving me both extremely grateful and a bit overwhelmed all at once. We're certainly fortunate to have access to such a fabulous supply of peppers, lovers of all things spicy that we are. However, I didn't know what I could do to make the most of them before they weren't usable anymore.
My panic disappeared pretty quickly, though, once I started researching jalapenos online and discovered that, among other things, I could freeze some! This was a relief to know, and I set about readying some jalapenos for the freezer. I made up a freezer bag of regular, fresh jalapenos, and another freezer bag of roasted jalapenos with the skin peeled off. Hopefully, they'll survive being thawed out when I need them; I'll keep you posted on that whenever I get around to using some of them.
Anyway, this post is actually supposed to be about this yummy bread I made, so let's get to it! I found this wonderful recipe for jalapeno cheddar bread that I instantly wanted to try. I have been pushing myself more and more lately to make yeast-based goodies, and this one was just the latest effort to make me more confident in my bread-making abilities. Fortunately, it worked out very well, so I'm getting braver and braver with every new recipe I try.
It's pretty simple, actually. You dissolve your yeast in warm water and allow it to get all nice and foamy. Add an egg and some butter, and mix to combine. Next comes a mixture of flour, sugar, and salt, which is added to the wet ingredients to form a dough. The dough needs to be kneaded (knead, need, ha ha!) for just a minute, then shaped into a loaf and placed in a loaf pan to rise and then bake. It's very low maintenance, as far as yeast breads go, because there's hardly anything you have to do with your hands. The minimal kneading that is required of you is effortless, and you don't even have to worry about the shape of the loaf, because it eventually conforms to the shape of the loaf pan anyway. For my particular skill level, this recipe was perfect. I (almost) feel ready to tackle something a little more advanced next time! Almost. We'll see. Maybe. In the meantime, I have this yummy, slightly spicy, cheesy, flavorful bread to reward me for my bravery. Life is good.
Poppin' Jalapeno Bread
adapted from Food.com
makes 1 9x5x3-inch loaf
1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 cup water, 100 to 110 degrees F
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
4-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
3 small canned jalapenos or 3 small fresh jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (the original recipe used 1 cup)
1/4 cup minced onion
Nonstick cooking spray
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in the bowl of an electric stand mixer; let sit 5 minutes until foamy. Add the eggs and butter to the bowl and mix until the butter has melted.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together 3 cups of the flour, sugar, salt, and garlic salt. Gradually add the flour mxiture to the yeast mixture, beating with the electric stand mixer until smooth. Beat in the jalapenos, cheese, onions, and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Shape dough into a loaf and place into a greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
4. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts (I used my oven, which was turned off), 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (but make sure your risen bread is no longer in the oven before you turn the oven on!).
5. Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes or until done and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.