Braided Jalapeno Cheddar Bread is a soft and flavorful bread with sharp cheddar cheese, and spicy jalapenos weaved throughout.
Being a food blogger, I am constantly on social media scanning pictures of beautiful and delicious food for inspiration. Not that the food my family eats every day isn’t perfectly fine for the blog because it most definitely is.
Now and then, we like to try something different. I especially like to make new foods that I’ve never made before. Over the past few months, I kept seeing this gorgeous braided pesto loaf. It looked impossible to make with its strands of pesto weaved throughout. This bread stayed on my mind for the longest time, but I was reluctant to make it. I’m not sure why because bread is something that is super easy for me.
An odd thing happened a few weeks ago. I was ordering my groceries through Walmart Grocery online, which is an awesome service by the way, and I requested fresh basil. Another store in my area carries great Buy One Get One deals, so I shop there occasionally, too. Apparently, I wasn’t on the ball that day, because I bought basil at the second store, and completely forgot I had already ordered it from Walmart. No big deal, right? Except that the basil I ordered from Walmart was in a LARGE bunch. I ended up with more basil than I could possibly use before it went bad.
It had to be a sign. It was time to make the pesto bread, and I’m so glad I did. After one bite, I was in love. Not only that, it gave me the idea for this delicious braided jalapeno cheddar bread.
Before you get started:
Please take a few minutes to read the instructions in their entirety. Understanding the directions and following them exactly as written is key. This recipe takes quite a bit of time to complete but is worth the wait.
Active the Yeast:
Place the yeast, warm water, and sugar in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for about 5 minutes. The yeast will become tan and frothy.
In the meantime, heat the milk on the stovetop until it begins to steam but not boil.
Make the bread dough:
After the yeast mixture activates, pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the milk, oil, salt, bread flour, and all-purpose flour. Use the paddle attachment to mix the ingredients on low speed just until combined. Remove the paddle attachment and scrape any remaining dough back into the bowl.
Use the dough hook, to continue mixing on low speed for 1-2 minutes then switch to medium speed for 5-6 minutes. The dough should feel soft and smooth with a consistency similar to Play-doh.
Remove the dough from the mixer and place in a clean bowl greased lightly with oil. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and place in a warm area. Allow the dough to rise and double in size. Generally, this takes about an hour but times may vary.
While the dough is rising, shred the cheddar, chop the jalapenos, and prepare the egg wash.
Fill the Rolls:
After the dough doubles in size, remove it from the bowl and place it onto a well-floured work surface. Cut the dough into three equal parts. If you have a food scale, weigh each piece to ensure they are the same size. Use a rolling pin to roll one piece into a rectangle about 6 inches long and 8 inches wide.
Place 1/3 of the cheese and jalapenos onto the rectangle of dough leaving the top 1 inch empty. Using a pastry brush, lightly apply the egg wash along the top 1 inch of the dough.
Starting at the side closest to you (not the side with the egg wash), carefully roll the dough like you would if you were making cinnamon rolls. You will be rolling it away from you with all the ingredients on the inside. The egg wash edge will also be on the inside. Press gently and pinch along the seam, so you have a sealed tube with two open ends. You can also pinch the ends shut or leave them open. Carefully roll the tube back and forth on the counter until it reaches 10-12 inches in length. Repeat this process with the other two pieces of dough.
Make the Braids:
Prepare a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat and place the filled tubes on the sheet. Use a sharp knife to cut slits down the length of each tube. Only cut halfway through. Beginning halfway up the tubes, start to braid until you reach the end of one side. Tuck the loose ends underneath. Turn the baking sheet around and braid the other side. Tuck those loose ends underneath. Cover the braided dough with a clean kitchen towel, and allow it to rise for an additional 30 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bake the Bread:
After the dough rises a second time, use the pastry brush to apply the egg wash over the entire loaf. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The Braided Jalapeno Cheddar Bread is done when the top turns a beautiful golden brown, and the center is no longer doughy.
Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool completely before serving. Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- 3 ounces warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 ounces milk
- 1 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- 6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapenos (more or less to taste)
Place yeast, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl. Stir and set aside until the mixture is frothy.
Heat the milk on the stove until it steams.
Pour the yeast mixture, milk, salt, oil, and flour in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Use the paddle attachment to mix until combined and shaggy. Remove the paddle and replace it with the dough hook.
Continue to mix with the dough hook for 1-2 minutes on low speed and increase to medium speed for 5-6 additional minutes.
The dough should be smooth and elastic. Remove it from the mixer and place it in a clean bowl. Cover with a towel and allow to rest and double in size.
In meantime, prepare the egg wash.
After the dough doubles, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and separate it into three equal sections.
Use a rolling pin to roll one section into a 6-inch long, 8-inch wide rectangle.
Place 1/3 of the cheese and jalapenos onto the dough rectangle leaving an inch of dough exposed along the top.
Use a pastry brush to apply the egg wash along the top edge.
Carefully roll the rectangle away from you, as if you were making cinnamon rolls.
The egg wash will seal the tube shut. Gently press or pinch the dough along the edge to ensure sealing.
Roll the dough between your hands and the counter until it lengthens to 10-12 inches.
Repeat the process with the other pieces.
Place the rolled dough onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat.
Use a sharp knife to cut slits down the length of each tube taking care to only cut halfway through.
Beginning in halfway up the tubes, start to braid the dough to the end and tuck under any loose ends.
Turn the baking sheet around and braid the other side and tuck under any loose ends.
Cover the braided dough with a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise again.
Preheat oven to 400.
After the dough rises, use a pastry brush to apply the remaining egg wash to the dough.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
The bread is done when the top is golden brown and the center is no longer doughy.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving.