Growing Dawn » Recipes » Sourdough » Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread [Simple Recipe!]

Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread [Simple Recipe!]

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Do you believe in a match made in heaven? If you do, then this jalapeño cheddar sourdough bread would be it. Spicy, flavorful jalapeños combined with melty sharp cheddar cheese, baked into fluffy, delicious sourdough bread. What could be better?

Nothing, that’s what.

The best part is, a specialty loaf like the one in this jalapeño cheddar sourdough bread recipe is really not any more difficult than a traditional rustic sourdough loaf. So, what are you waiting for?

I occasionally sell loaves to the locals, and this is one of my most requested mix-ins by far. I totally understand why. If I had to choose a favorite sourdough flavor, jalapeño cheddar would be it. My husband and kids aren’t crazy about spicy foods, but that’s okay. It means more for me.

jalapeño cheddar sourdough bread sliced on wooden board

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Honestly, I could eat a whole loaf by myself in a matter of a couple of days. But let’s keep that our little secret.

A loaf like this will make your day a little extra special. It’s delicious fresh from the oven with butter, or made into a toasty grilled cheese. I will often just tear hunks from one of these loaves as a snack. It really doesn’t need much dressing up, because it’s just so flavorful on its own.

Jalapeños and cheese as sourdough inclusions

If you aren’t familiar with the term inclusions, allow me to explain. Inclusions are simply added ingredients or flavors that are mixed into your dough before baking. Typically they are added before the bulk ferment, when we let the dough rise.

Inclusions can be sweet (chocolate chip sourdough bread anyone?), savory, or both. They’re a fun way to add some excitement to your sourdough baking routine!

There are a few different ways to add inclusions to your dough, either by stretch and folds (my usual way) or a process called lamination. In this recipe though, I’ll be focusing on doing stretch and folds. This is not only an effective way to mix in the jalapeños and cheese, but it also adds strength and structure to the dough.

sourdough bread dough with pickled jalapeños and diced cheddar

Tips for making jalapeno cheddar sourdough

The most important thing you need for making this jalapeño cheddar bread is a strong sourdough starter. If you aren’t sure yet how to get your hands on a sourdough starter, you can buy a reliable, dehydrated starter in my shop or make your own following some basic instructions.

A few more tips to keep in mind:

  • Using a kitchen scale will produce a more accurate, consistent result when making sourdough. However, this recipe includes cup measurements as well.
  • Use a wet hand when performing each set of stretches, as well as when you’re shaping the dough. This will help if you have a hard time with dough sticking to your hands.
  • Watch your dough and not the clock. The time it takes for sourdough to bulk ferment can vary widely based on the temperature of your kitchen among other things.
  • Cut your cheddar into quarter inch chunks instead of shredding it. It helps the flavor shine through and those chunks of cheese look amazing when you cut into the bread!
  • Use fresh or pickled jalapeños (I prefer pickled). If you do use fresh, you will want to dice them up pretty small. Also, if you used pickled, be sure to drain them first!
  • Take the internal temperature of your bread using a kitchen thermometer. The thermometer should always read at least 195F to avoid gummy and underbaked bread!
jalapeño cheddar sourdough bread crumb shot

Ingredients you’ll need

  • Unbleached all purpose flour: I prefer organic. Thrive Market is definitely a favorite spot to buy organic flour for cheaper-than-grocery-store prices. All purpose flour is great because it is fairly inexpensive and readily available.
  • Bread flour: I use a blend of both all purpose and bread flour. However, you can substitute one or the other. If you use exclusively all purpose, you may want to decrease the water by about 50g to make the bread dough easier to work with.
  • Active sourdough starter: The starter (or levain) you use in your dough should be active and bubbly. It’s usually pretty easy to tell when your starter is ready, but if you need more guidance you can learn how to perform the float test.
  • Water: I use tap water with no problem, but use filtered if you feel you need to.
  • Sea salt: Any fine grain salt will work.
  • Jalapeño peppers: You can use fresh jalapeños or pickled. If they are pickled, be sure to drain and give them a rough chop. Fresh peppers should also be diced.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: Sharp cheddar gives the most cheesy flavor in this jalapeño cheddar sourdough recipe.

tools you may need

Most of these tools are optional in some sense, but they are helpful to have on hand for any kind of sourdough bread making. (All links are items I use in my kitchen.)

slices of jalapeño cheddar bread on wooden carving board

sample schedule and timelines for jalapeño cheddar sourdough

Since everyone has their own busy schedule to work around, and kitchen temperature plays an important factor, here are two separate timelines that you could potentially follow to make your jalapeno cheddar sourdough bread. Adjust them to what works best for you.

Sample Timeline 1

The overnight rise works better in cooler temps. Be cautious using this method in the summertime if your kitchen stays warm, because the dough could overproof and turn out flat.

Day 1:

  • 1PM: Feed starter
  • 7PM: Mix dough
  • 7:30PM: Stretch and fold round 1
  • 7:45PM: Add jalapeños and cheese and do stretch and fold round 2
  • 8PM: Stretch and fold round 3
  • 8:30PM: Stretch and fold round 4
  • 9PM: Stretch and fold round 5

Overnight:

  • 9PM-7AM: Cover and bulk ferment (let the dough rise) on counter

Day 2:

  • 7AM: Divide and shape loaves to put in floured baskets/bowls in the fridge
  • 5PM: Bread is ready to bake for supper, or you can keep it in the fridge longer for whenever you need it (up to 3 days or so)

Sample Timeline 2

This timeline works better in warmer kitchens, when bulk fermentation takes less time.

Day 1:

  • 8:30AM: Feed starter
  • 1:30ish PM: Mix dough
  • 2PM: Stretch and fold round 1
  • 2:20PM: Add jalapeños and cheese and do stretch and fold round 2
  • 2:40PM: Stretch and fold round 3
  • 3PM: Stretch and fold round 4
  • 3:30PM: Stretch and fold round 5
  • 3:30-9:30PM: Bulk ferment
  • 9:30PM: Shape and place in floured baskets/bowls. Cold ferment in fridge overnight or up to 3 days.

Day 2, 3, 4: Bake when you’re ready!

sourdough bread with jalapenos and cheese being pulled apart

how to make jalapeño cheddar sourdough bread

mixing the dough

Start by adding active sourdough starter, flours, water, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. You can also do this with your hands if you don’t have a stand mixer. Mix on low speed with the dough hook until the dough comes together.

Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let rest for about 30 minutes, then do the first set of stretch and folds. If you aren’t sure what stretch and folds are, imagine grabbing the dough at the edge of the bowl and gently pulling up and out. Do this once and then turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat 3 more times. This completes a full set of stretch and folds.

After another 20 minutes, add jalapeños and cheese and complete another set of stretch and folds. Repeat stretch and folds every 20 minutes(ish) until the dough passes the windowpane test (for me this usually takes about 4 sets). I like to manipulate the inclusions a little bit as I do stretch and folds to get them more evenly dispersed, but a few sets of stretch and folds should do the trick.

cheese and jalapenos being folded into sourdough

Once the dough is nice and elastic, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tight fitting lid and let it bulk ferment until doubled. This could take anywhere from 6-12 hours, depending on the season and temperature of your kitchen. Keep eyes on your dough and look for doubling.

shaping the dough

Once doubled, turn the dough out onto the counter or another flat, clean work surface. Pre-shape the dough by folding 2 corners across into one another and then gently rolling the dough into a round shape starting at one of the other 2 corners. Roll it into a round shape using your hands. 

I like to let the dough rest a few minutes after pre-shaping, then do a final shape by repeating the process above. Except for the final shaping, I press the bottom seam of the loaf together using the palm of my hands. Finally, I roll the dough around into a round shape by pulling it towards me along the counter.

jalapeño cheddar sourdough bread being shaped on counter

There have been times I’ve skipped pre-shaping and just done one round of final shaping, which still gives me good results. I just feel like doing both helps to give the loaf a little more structure.

There are multiple ways to shape sourdough — if it seems a little confusing, don’t worry too much. Just keep practicing and experimenting with different methods. The more you do it, the easier it will become and the better your loaves will turn out!

After shaping, place the shaped dough into a prepared banneton basket or bowl. I like to use liners in mine but they’re totally optional. Then, place the dough in the fridge for a cold ferment. This can be anywhere from 8-36 hours, depending on when you want your bread and how sour you like it.

baking the loaf

Now for the simple part! On bake day, preheat your oven with dutch oven inside to 450F. I try and preheat my dutch oven for at least 30 minutes. You can also open bake on a cooking steel if you have another way to create steam in your oven. Steam is imperative for getting a good oven spring.

Take the dough out of the fridge and turn it onto a piece of parchment paper. Dust the top with flour if you wish, and score a simple design on the top of the dough. A simple crosshatch or vertical line will suffice. I typically don’t do very intricate scorings; I feel like it’s even less important with inclusion loaves. One deep score is necessary, but smaller intricate ones tend to not show up as well with the mix-ins.

I always put a single layer of rice in my dutch oven, then place the bottom of the dough (on the parchment paper) over top of that. This trick has changed the game for me when it comes to baking sourdough at such a high temperature. 

Once the dough has been lowered inside the dutch oven, put the lid on and bake at 450F for 30-35 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature (be sure to check the very middle of the dough) is at least 195F. The amount of time you bake with lid off vs. lid on really depends on the level of browning you like on your bread. I have learned that loaves with inclusions including dairy or sugar typically brown more quickly, so keep that in mind as you work to achieve your own beautiful crust.

Let the loaf cool for at least 1 hour before slicing into it, if you can.

jalapeño cheddar sourdough bread sliced open

FAQs

Should I use fresh or pickled jalapenos?

I prefer pickled, but fresh also works great! I would make sure they are diced small if you use fresh.

What kind of cheese is best to use?

Sharp cheddar will give the most standout flavor, but you can definitely use a different hard or semi-hard cheese if you wish.

What’s the best way to store leftover jalapeno cheddar sourdough?

Keep your leftover bread in a bread bag or bread box and keep it in the pantry or on the counter away from direct sunlight. I also have an entire post on how to store sourdough bread.

Can you freeze jalapeno cheddar sourdough bread?

Yes, this bread freezes very well! If you have more sourdough bread than you can eat, you can pre-slice the bread and freeze it by either wrapping it in plastic wrap then putting it in a freezer bag, or wrapping in aluminum foil. Sourdough bread can be frozen for up to three months. Simply thaw it at room temperature for a few hours before you’re ready to eat it.

sourdough bread with jalapeños and cheese mixed in
5 from 1 vote

Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread

This flavorful sourdough bread is studded with spicy jalapeños and melty cheese, for a combination you won't forget!
Print Recipe
Prep Time:2 hours
Cook Time:50 minutes
Fermentation Time:16 hours
Total Time:18 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 250 g unbleached all purpose flour or 2 cups
  • 250 g bread flour or 2 cups
  • 300 g water or 1 1/2 cups
  • 100 g active sourdough starter or 1/2 cup
  • 70 g diced jalapeño peppers or 1/3 cup
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese cubed or diced

Instructions

Mix The Dough

  • Add active sourdough starter, flours, water, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. You can also do this with your hands if you don't have a stand mixer. Mix on low speed with the dough hook until the dough comes together.
  • Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let rest for about 30 minutes, then do the first set of stretch and folds. If you aren't sure what stretch and folds are, imagine grabbing the dough at the edge of the bowl and gently pulling up and out. Do this once and then turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat 3 more times. This completes a full set of stretch and folds.
  • After another 20 minutes, add jalapeños and cheese and complete another set of stretch and folds. Repeat stretch and folds every 20 minutes(ish) for 5 sets or until the dough passes the windowpane test.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tight fitting lid and let it bulk ferment 6-8 hours or until doubled.

Shape The Dough

  • Turn the dough out onto the counter or another flat, clean work surface. Pre-shape the dough by folding 2 corners across into one another and then gently rolling the dough into a round shape starting at one of the other 2 corners. Roll it into a round shape using your hands. 
  • Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes (this is optional but helpful), then do a final shape by repeating the process above. Except this time, press the bottom seam of the loaf together using the palm of your hands. Roll the dough around into a round shape.
  • Place the shaped dough into a prepared banneton basket or bowl, and move to the fridge to cold ferment for 8-36 hours.

Bake The Bread

  • Preheat your oven with dutch oven inside to 450F.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and turn it onto a piece of parchment paper. Dust the top with flour if you wish, and score a simple design on the top of the dough.
  • Once the dough has been lowered inside the dutch oven, put the lid on and bake at 450F for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature is at least 195F.
  • Let the loaf cool for at least 1 hour before slicing into it, if you can!
Course: Appetizer, bread
Cuisine: American, Sourdough
Keyword: cheese bread, fermented, sourdough, sourdough bread
Servings: 10
Calories: 290kcal

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