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Jalapeno & Cheddar Sourdough

Updated on November 23, 2015

Have you tried this recipe?

5 stars from 1 rating of Jalapeno-Cheddar Sourdough

San Francisco Sourdough Rules!

I was born and raised in the Santa Clara Valley in Central California, sixty miles from San Francisco. Sourdough was a staple in our house, particularly during weekend BBQs, when Mom would cut a loaf in half, slather it with melted butter, Rosemary and Garlic, and broil until crusted and deep brown. It was heaven, and it is the reason I've always been addicted to sourdough. In time, I started experimenting with sourdough cultures - which led to a LOT of kitchen fun! This recipe is one of my favorites.

Fresh out of the oven!

Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 14 hours
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 14 hours 45 min
Yields: One pound loaf.

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 Firm Green Jalapeno Peppers
  • 3 cups White Flour, Unbleached
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 Hot Red Pepper, Habanero, Cayenne, etc.
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, Diced, Sharp
  • 1/2 cup Active Sourdough Starter
  • 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cup Water

Kosher Salt?

Standard iodized salt should not be used when baking with sourdough, as the iodine may harm the Lactobacillus culture which is in symbiotic combination with wild yeasts.

Kosher salt does not contain iodine. The Kosher salt available in my area is comprised of relatively large crystals which are slow to dissolve. I run mine through my home flour mill to produce a fine powder - more like Confectioners' Sugar than salt. If you don't have a mill, you can use a common coffee grinder to break the crystals down.

Barring that, put the Kosher salt in one cup of the water to dissolve it before adding the now-salty water to the dough.

Milling Kosher Salt

Using a Messerschmidt Family Mill (attached to my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer) to process large Kosher Salt crystals into powdered form. If you don't have a rig like this, use a common coffee grinder instead, or a mortar and pestle.
Using a Messerschmidt Family Mill (attached to my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer) to process large Kosher Salt crystals into powdered form. If you don't have a rig like this, use a common coffee grinder instead, or a mortar and pestle.

Active Sourdough Culture

" Double, double toil and trouble, Fire burn, and caldron bubble." If your culture isn't bubbling happily, it isn't active, and will produce poor results.
" Double, double toil and trouble, Fire burn, and caldron bubble." If your culture isn't bubbling happily, it isn't active, and will produce poor results.

Step by step...

  1. I refrigerate my starter to keep it in a dormant state until I'm ready to bake, so Job One is to warm it up by removing it from the fridge and feeding it. It takes at least 12-18 hours before the culture will be active enough for baking (depending on climate, of course). See Photo One for an example.
  2. Add flour and salt together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add 1 cup of water, mix well and allow 5 minutes for the flour to soak it up.
  4. Add 1/2 cup active sourdough starter and mix well. Add as much of the remaining water as needed to form a cohesive loaf. (Photo 2)
  5. Oil a bowl lightly, covering entire surface so your dough will not stick. (I use olive oil) Move your dough to this bowl, and cover with plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out. Let the dough proof for 12 hours. I usually do this between 8 and 9 at night so I can bake in the morning. It pays to plan ahead! (Photo 3)
  6. While your dough is resting, prepare the peppers. Slice the Jalapenos in half and remove the seeds and pulp. We want flavor here, rather than a lot of heat. A teaspoon is helpful in coring the peppers...as are rubber gloves! (Photos 4-9)
  7. Dice up about 1/2 cup of aged Cheddar cheese. By "aged," I don't mean Ancient. I found no benefit in using 5-yr-old premium cheeses instead of the 1-yr-old stuff. Refrigerate the peppers and diced Cheddar for use in the morning.
  8. 12 hours later, the dough will have greatly increased in size (see Photo 10). Nudge the dough out of the bowl - a spatula helps - and onto a clean, well-floured surface.
  9. Knead the chopped peppers and Cheddar into the dough until they are evenly distributed, then let the dough proof for another hour. (See Photo 11)
  10. Place your Dutch Oven in your stove's oven and heat to 475 degrees. NOTE TO SELF: Ovens vary in their ability to reach that heat, but you should know yours. Have a 475-degree oven ready in one hour.
  11. Do I really need to remind you we're about to deal with a very hot chunk of cast iron here? Be careful! When the dough has proofed an hour and the oven has reached 475 degrees, remove the Dutch Oven from the stove and remove the lid. NOTE TO SELF: Figure out where it's going before grabbing it.
  12. Carefully - and quickly - place the rounded loaf into the Dutch Oven. Don't burn yourself in the process. Replace the lid on the Dutch Oven and return it to your stove's oven.
  13. Bake at 475 for 30 minutes, then remove Dutch Oven's lid and bake an additional 15 minutes to brown the crust. Presto! (See Photos 12 & 13)

Photo 1: Active Sourdough Culture

The culture is almost boiling with activity, and is ready to use.
The culture is almost boiling with activity, and is ready to use. | Source

Photo 2: Basic dough, ready to proof.

Source

Photo 3: Proofing the dough overnight.

The dough is now ready to proof (rise) overnight.
The dough is now ready to proof (rise) overnight. | Source

The Peppers

Photo 4: The peppers
Photo 4: The peppers
Photo 5: Diced Red Peppers - chopping these hot peppers into tiny bits is important. What you are after with these (as opposed to the Jalapenos) is to disperse tiny bits of heat throughout the loaf without offending human tissue :-)
Photo 5: Diced Red Peppers - chopping these hot peppers into tiny bits is important. What you are after with these (as opposed to the Jalapenos) is to disperse tiny bits of heat throughout the loaf without offending human tissue :-)
Photo 6: The Jalapenos, cut in half. Note the seeds and pulp - they deliver a lot of heat, and we don't want them.
Photo 6: The Jalapenos, cut in half. Note the seeds and pulp - they deliver a lot of heat, and we don't want them.
Photo 7: Jalapenos, pulp & seeds removed. This creates s strong pepper flavor (which I love) with minimal heat.
Photo 7: Jalapenos, pulp & seeds removed. This creates s strong pepper flavor (which I love) with minimal heat.
Photo 8: Diced Jalapenos, ready for use.
Photo 8: Diced Jalapenos, ready for use.

My Secret Weapon

Photo 9: My Lodge Dutch Oven helps produce the crispy, chewy crusts I love by letting me steam the dough by trapping the moisture released by the baking loaf.
Photo 9: My Lodge Dutch Oven helps produce the crispy, chewy crusts I love by letting me steam the dough by trapping the moisture released by the baking loaf.

Lodge Cast Iron Pizza Pan

Lodge P14P3 Seasoned Cast Iron Baking and Pizza Pan, 14 Inch
Lodge P14P3 Seasoned Cast Iron Baking and Pizza Pan, 14 Inch

If you do not have a cast iron Dutch oven handy, you can bake this loaf on a cast iron pizza pan like this Lodge. To create the desired crust, place a pie pan (nearly) filled with water on the oven's lowest shelf. This will help provide steam to enhance the crust.

 

My Enameled Cast Iron Pizza Pan

I acquired this lovely enameled cast iron pizza pan from an online Canadian kitchen shop. It's perfect for baking sourdoughs, yeast breads, biscuits, cookies or anything else headed for the oven. I love cooking with cast iron!
I acquired this lovely enameled cast iron pizza pan from an online Canadian kitchen shop. It's perfect for baking sourdoughs, yeast breads, biscuits, cookies or anything else headed for the oven. I love cooking with cast iron!

Twelve Hours Later

Photo 10: After 12 hours proofing, the size of the dough has more than doubled. At this point, dump it out onto a clean, floured surface (like your kitchen counter). Slowly fold in the peppers and Cheddar until distribution is reasonably even.
Photo 10: After 12 hours proofing, the size of the dough has more than doubled. At this point, dump it out onto a clean, floured surface (like your kitchen counter). Slowly fold in the peppers and Cheddar until distribution is reasonably even.
Photo 11: Peppers & Cheddar have been kneaded into the dough, which then rests for another 60 to 90 minutes.
Photo 11: Peppers & Cheddar have been kneaded into the dough, which then rests for another 60 to 90 minutes.

Jalapeno & Cheddar Sourdough

Photo 12: Right out of the oven...note the bits of burned cheese...these sometimes stick to the cast iron...but won't if it's well aged. Resist the temptation to indulge, and wait 30 minutes for the loaf to cool.
Photo 12: Right out of the oven...note the bits of burned cheese...these sometimes stick to the cast iron...but won't if it's well aged. Resist the temptation to indulge, and wait 30 minutes for the loaf to cool.
Photo 13: The finished product...
Photo 13: The finished product...

About those pepper-haters...

When my dragon boat team had a BBQ, I'd spend weeks telling them about this bread. You wouldn't believe the "I hate peppers" remarks that came back at me. When BBQ time rolled around, however, and they had a chance to surreptitiously nibble, they became Jalapeno-Cheddar sourdough fanatics, ready to sneak out the door with whatever remained of the sourdough. I hope you'll try this, and let me know the story....

If you don't have a sourdough culture, you can either buy one from Sourdo.com (my favorite source) or capture the critters in your back yard. Here's how to do dat:

1. Mix one cup of unbleached white flour and a half-cup of water in a glass bowl.

2. Put the bowl in the back yard (or your kitchen sink, for that matter) and let it sit for 24 hours. If it is bubbling, feed it with another cup of flour and half-cup of water and leave for another 24 hours - let the culture party!

3. If the flour/water goop turns black and ugly, throw it out and try again. If flour-loving racoons get involved, continue the hunt indoors.

Another outstanding loaf!

This one was baked in one of my stoneware bakers (see below). Awesome loaf!
This one was baked in one of my stoneware bakers (see below). Awesome loaf! | Source

Want perfect sourdough, every time?

Jalapeno, Asiago & Aged Cheddar Sourdough

Another awesome loaf, just out of the oven. Baked in Sassafras Rectangular SuperStone
Another awesome loaf, just out of the oven. Baked in Sassafras Rectangular SuperStone | Source

Your Comments?

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    • Dragon 40 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken McVay 

      3 years ago from Nanaimo, British Columbia

      You betchum...the trick is in the balance between heat and flavor. It's an awesome combination.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      You really put chillie into the bread?

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