From the Kitchen of Angie St. John
Warm bread on any day is amazing, but warm bread when it’s getting cooler outside just has a certain cozy to it. The hardest part about making this bread is waiting! Honestly, in our house, we can’t get enough of this bread and have made it for family and friends countless times. When we first moved into our house, this was the first, big baking endeavor I took on. Plates and bowls of bread were sitting everywhere in our new kitchen! The jalapeño and cheddar cheese pair beautifully together along with the crispy outer layer. All I can say is go ahead and make two while you’re at it! That’s how amazing this bread truly is! *please note that this bread recipe requires a Dutch oven
What you will need:
3 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for your hands
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon instant or active-dry yeast
1 jalapeño, diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 and 1/2 cups warm water
1. Stir the flour, salt, yeast, jalapeno, and cheese together in a large, ungreased bowl. Stir in the warm water. The dough will be pretty sticky, don’t be tempted to add more flour, you want a sticky dough.
2. Gently shape dough into a ball as best you can and set back in the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Set on the counter at room temperature and allow to rise for 12-18 hours. The dough will double in size, stick to the sides of the bowl, and have a lot of air bubbles.
3. Roll the dough around on a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour your hands and re-shape into a ball as best you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Transfer dough to a large piece of parchment paper (a piece large enough to later fit inside your Dutch oven and one that is safe under high oven heat). I use unbleached parchment paper. Place the ball of dough and parchment inside a bowl so the dough doesn’t spread out as it rests.
4. Using a very sharp knife, gently score an X into the top of the dough, or any design you fancy. Cover dough lightly with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
5. During this 30 minutes of rest time, preheat the oven to 475 F (yes, very hot!). Place your Dutch oven with the lid OR heavy duty pot inside for 30 minutes so that it’s extremely hot before the dough is placed inside. After 30 minutes, remove the Dutch oven from the oven and carefully place the dough inside by lifting it up with the parchment paper and sticking it all (parchment paper included) inside the pot. Cover with the lid.
6. Bake for 25 minutes with the lid on. Carefully remove the lid and continue baking for 8-10 more minutes until the bread is golden brown. Remove pot from the oven, carefully remove the bread from the pot, and allow to cool on the counter for 30 minutes before slicing. Top with your favorite butter!
7. Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for up to 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.