Friday, February 4, 2011

Jalapeno Cheese Bread

I loved my apartment in Houston. Sure, it was small, only 3 of the burners on the stove worked at any given time, and the management tried to gouge me when I moved out. But I loved the years that I lived there. I had a nice pool that I could sit out at nearly year-round (ignoring the freak ice and snow storms like the one happening right now), just enough space to host Easter dinner for my friends, and, most importantly, I was within walking distance of quite a few delicious restaurants. This came in handy when, for example, I had one too many margaritas on my 22nd birthday at Amazon Grill. Additionally, I lived across the street from Goode Company BBQ.


That slogan above the logo says, “You might give some serious thought to thanking your lucky stars you’re in Texas.” And I certainly did, sitting out on the patio on a warm day with a plate of BBQ on the worn picnic tables and a St. Arnold’s beer in my hand. But the best part of a Goode Company BBQ platter was the soft, squishy jalapeno cheese bread that came with it. Certainly a step up from the white sandwich bread that is the norm at most Texas BBQ joints, the jalapeno cheese bread kept me crossing the street.

So when our church supper club was going to meet over a pot of chili, I took the opportunity to search out a Goode Company-style recipe for jalapeno cheese bread that I knew I had seen on Homesick Texan (side note: Lisa’s aka Homesick Texan’s mother is the head of the Commission on Ministry in the Diocese of Texas, so I’m only two degrees of separation from her, and I got the scoop on the draft of her book she just turned into the publisher). This recipe pretty much hits the nail on the head, though I undercooked it so it was a touch raw in the middle. That chewy, squishy, cheesy bread with a little bit of heat would go quite well with your bowl of chili while you watch the Super Bowl. Just sayin’. And if you’re going to Texas for the Super Bowl, well, you might give some serious thought to thanking your lucky stars that you’re there.


Jalapeno Cheese Bread
source: Homesick Texan

1 packet of yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup of warm water
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg
2 1/2 cups of bread flour plus more if needed
1 cup of semolina flour (I found semolina flour pretty easily in the baking aisle. Look for Bob’s Red Mill or Hodgson Mill brands.)
5 jalapenos, stemmed and seeded, diced (should be about a cup)
2 cups of cheddar cheese, grated.
1 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt (can add more to taste)


1. Mix together the yeast and water.
2. Mix together the melted butter, egg and buttermilk and add to yeast and water.
3. Add the salt, sugar and bread flour to the liquids and mix well. Then add the semolina flour to the dough and mix well. If the dough is too wet, gradually add more bread flour 1/4 cup at a time.
4. Place dough on a floured surface and knead for five to ten minutes until dough is smooth.
5. Form dough into a ball and place into a bowl greased with butter.
6. Cover the bowl, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size—about an hour.
7. Turn out dough on a floured surface, and slowly knead into the dough the jalapenos and cheese, a little bit at a time.
8. When cheese and jalapenos are incorporated into the dough, place dough into a greased bread loaf pan (8-1/2" x 4-1/2" x 2-3/4). You can also sprinkle semolina in the bread pan for additional friction.
9. Cover the pan and let dough rise until doubled in size (it should be at the top or a bit over the top of the pan)—about an hour.
10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
11. Bake bread for 40-45 minutes on a center rack (when you thump the top and it sounds hollow, the bread is done).
12. Let cool for ten minutes, and then slide it out of the pan, slice and enjoy!