This time of year all of my chiles ripen on the same day it seems. Pickling them is a great way to hold onto them all year long. In most instances, I’d rather use a pickled jalapeno than a raw one anyway.
Throw a pound of washed and dried jalapeños into a pot with 2 tablespoons of oil. Add 1/2 pound of sliced or baby carrots, one small white onion, quartered, and two cloves of peeled garlic. Warm the oil and veggies slightly for 10 minutes until the chiles are just tender. Add salt and spices, 4 cups of white vinegar and continue to cook on low until the salt is dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow the pot to cool. Pour into glass jars and keep refrigerated for weeks and weeks.
This bread takes on a sour flavor from the vinegar in the jalapeno juice and is chewy and chock full of cheese. Course salt sprinkled on top brings up the texture factor. Slice it and spread with cream cheese just like you would a bagel.
Spicy Jill’s Cheddar Jalapeno Bread
1 3/4 C warm water
1/4 C pickled jalapeno juice
2 T sugar
1 T dry active yeast
1.5 T salt
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 T butter, softened
3 cups of shredded sharp (or extra sharp) cheddar cheese – reserve 1 C for the topping
1 1/2 cup chopped and seeded canned jalapenos – reserve one or two large jalapeno for slicing for the topping
Warm water in a spray bottle
*I use a Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook attachment for this recipe but you can make and knead this dough by hand.
In a mixing bowl, combine the water, sugar and yeast and stir until dissolved.
Set it aside for 5 or 10 minutes until it is bubbly and you’re sure the yeast is working. When it’s bubbly and alive add the jalapeno juice
Next, with the mixer on low, throw in 1 C of flour at a time and the salt. Then, slice up the butter into smaller pieces and add it one at a time.
With the mixer on medium speed add the chopped jalapenos in stages until fully incorporated. You may need to dust the dough with flour if it looks too sticky.
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes by hand, about 5 minutes with a mixer. You can usually tell it’s done when it feels slightly elastic, smooth and isn’t sticking to anything.
Cover it with some plastic wrap that you have sprayed with cooking spray or rubbed with some oil. Set the bowl in an unheated oven with the light on and allow it rise for 45 minutes.
Uncover the dough. It will be twice the size. Take your hand and punch into it once or twice to deflate it.
Knead the dough in the bowl for another five minutes. Toward the end and in stages add the cheese until it is incorporated into the dough.
Sprinkle remaining flour onto your table or other wooden work surface. Put the dough (it will be shaggy but will come together as it takes on more flour from the board. Form into a ball and cut in half.
Taking one half of the dough, knead it a little folding it over itself over and over. Create a loaf shape with it and then spray the top with a fine mist of warm water so the cheese and jalapenos will stick. Put each loaf into a 9″ x 5″ greased loaf pan and sprinkle half of the remaining cheese on top and place ten jalapeno rings randomly across the top of the loaf. Sprinkle lightly with course salt for texture. Now repeat everything with the second wedge of dough.
Put both pans uncovered in a warm place to proof for 45 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When your dough has risen the second time and doubled in size, it’s time to put them in the oven.
Bake for 37 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Allow them to cool on a rack for another hour before slicing or bagging.
*please note this bread does not last more than two or three days unrefrigerated as it contains little preservatives.
Making and keeping a sourdough starter is both a pain-in-the-ass and highly rewarding…if you can remember to feed it, that is.
My starter is pretty young but I feed it often and leave it on the counter every few days to let it really ferment and grow more sour. Generally, I replace one cup of starter for one tablespoon of packaged yeast in just about any recipe. The rise time is much longer than with a yeast dough but the flavor is worth every hour. The first proof for this loaf was about 12 hours. The second rise (in the loaf pan) only took four hours. I wait until the dough is about two inches over the top of the pan before I bake. Some days that is only a couple of hours. It really depends on the weather and the energy level of your starter.