Jalapeno Cheese Bread

Fig Jar
by Fig Jar
12 servings
2 hr 50 min

This jalapeño cheese bread is SO good. You get spicy, cheesy, sweet, salty and a lovely texture, similar to focaccia. Annnd it did win me a blue ribbon at the OC Fair this past summer sooo, just sayin.

Now, this isn’t a gimmicky bread. It’s not no-knead, it’s not ready in 30 minutes. There’s a little kneading and some rise time, but I promise, the end result is well worth your patience. Plus, letting dough rise is easy!

The dough recipe is actually the exact same as my pizza dough, crackers, and pepperoni rolls, pretty cool huh? Just a few tweaks transform it into this amazing jalapeño (cheddar) cheese bread. Use it for breakfast sandwiches, regular sandwiches or just eat it straight up! It’s all good. So let’s do this!

How to make jalapeño cheese bread

First things first, you will need:

  • Flour, warm water, yeast, oil, sugar, salt, cheese and some dried seasonings like basil, oregano and garlic powder for the dough.

  • Toppings are simple: Italian dressing (you can make your own or use a bottled kind), jalapeños and more cheddar CHEESE.

How to make the dough

This yeast dough starts out like many others, just let the yeast rest in warm water to start. This activates the yeast. Then you add the sugar, oil, spices and cheddar cheese! Stir with a spoon until it looks about like this:

It will be sticky, but that’s what you want. At this point, it’s ready to knead! If you read the recipe below, you will notice that the recipe calls for 3 1/2 cups of flour but before turning the dough out to knead you will have only added 3 cups. I use the remaining half cup to flour the board and sprinkle on top of the dough to keep it from sticking to my hands. This will ensure just enough flour gets in. Adding the full 3 1/2 cups, plus flouring the board and your hands can end you up with too much flour in the dough, which can make it more dense/tough.

After kneading, the dough will need to rise for about 1 hour, you could probably get away with 45 minutes of rise time, I won’t tell. Then it’s into a well greased baking sheet for another rising/resting stint before getting topped with jalapeños, Italian dressing and more cheese. Yes Italian dressing! It really makes the flavor of this bread out of this world. It’s a little sweet, sour and savory flavor that plays so well with everything else we got going on it’s a little crazy.

The Jalapeños

Let’s talk about a key ingredient in this bread real quick: the jalapeños! I am in love with Trader Joe’s Hot & Sweet Pickled Jalapenos. They definitely pack a punch but have an initial burst of sweetness that I enjoy very much. I need relief every now and then from the spiciness. I’ve also found “tamed” jalapeños at the regular grocery store and enjoyed those as well, those are more sour than spicy and also very good if you like things mild. Clearly I don’t like thing too spicy but use whatever suits your fancy. And please make yourself a sandwich on this bread, you will not regret it!

Recipe details
  • 12  servings
  • Prep time: 135 Minutes Cook time: 35 Minutes Total time: 2 hr 50 min
Show Nutrition Info
Hide Nutrition Info

  • 1 1/4 cup very warm water
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup pickled jalapeños
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing, store bought is fine!
But if you want to make your own dressing:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp salt & pepper, each
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • sprinkle of garlic powder and basil

Empty yeast packet into a large mixing bowl and add warm water. Let this stand for about five minutes. It should look foamy.
Add sugar and stir. Add olive oil, salt, garlic powder, dried basil, oregano and 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese (save 1/2 cup for the top). Stir to combine.
Add 3 cups of the flour and stir just until combined. The dough should be pretty sticky, but should hold together enough to turn out onto a floured surface in one relative unit.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup flour onto a cutting board or other, clean, flat surface. Turn dough out onto your floured surface. Add an additional 1/4 cup to to the top of the dough and pat with your hands. (To get some flour on your hands).
Knead dough until it is smooth and easily forms into a ball. It shouldn't take much to come together. Clean out your mixing bowl and coat with olive oil.
Place dough back in bowl, cover with a clean dishtowel, place on counter and let rise for 1 hour.
Second rise
Line a small (9 x 13) rimmed baking sheet with parchment, coat with oil. Press dough gently into the pan, not like your making a pizza, but just to get it shaped into the pan.
Cover with a clean towel and let rise again for 40 minutes.
Prep & cook
Preheat the oven to 425˚.
Gently press your finger tips into the dough to make little craters all over. Brush with dressing. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese, top with jalapeños, pressing them gently into the top of the dough.
Bake for 35 minutes in the center of the oven.
Allow to cool 15-20 minutes before serving.
Fig Jar
Want more details about this and other recipes? Check out more here!