Monday, December 3, 2012

Jalapeno & Cheddar Dutch Oven Bread

Jalapeno & Cheddar Dutch Oven Bread

When my husband tried this bread he said...
"Throw away your bread machine... this is awesome!"
If you've been following along, you'll know I've been experimenting with bread baking in a Dutch Oven.  I read a number of recipes to learn more about the technique.  I have learned that the dough is rather forgiving, a lot less yeast can be used (I had been using 2 1/4 teaspoons or 1 packet of yeast), and the dough can sit for a long period of time before being baked.  Some of the recipes I read also recommended making a large amount of dough, refrigerating the dough, and lopping off a portion of the dough when ready to bake.  I incorporated some of these tidbits of information into this recipe.  I used only one teaspoon of yeast this go around (out of necessity... I am out of yeast!) and I allowed the dough to rest 24 hours on the counter top.  I made the dough Saturday evening and then baked it after dinner Sunday night.

Jalapeno Cheddar Dutch Oven Bread

Large bowl:
3 cups all-purpose
1 teaspoon salt

Small bowl:
1 3/4 cups hot water (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon yeast (I used Fleishman's Bread Machine Yeast)

Mix in:
3 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeno slices
(tip: allow the jalapenos to drain on a papertowel to remove excess moisture)
3 to 4 tablespoons grated sharp cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt; stir with a whisk to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the water, sugar and yeast. Gently stir and allow to sit on counter top for about 5 minutes.

Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture all at once and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest undisturbed for about 24 hours. I also cover the plastic wrap with a kitchen towel to sort of hold the plastic wrap down.

Dump dough onto a lightly oiled work surface.  Gently flatten the dough and sprinkle with about 1/3 of the jalapenos and grated cheddar cheese.  Fold the dough over on itself and add in another 1/3 of the jalapenos and grated cheese and repeat until all the jalapenos and cheese are worked in.  [Note: I have not exactly perfected this technique; I ended up with pockets of jalapenos here and there. But the idea is to try to handle the dough as gently and as little as possible.]  Shape the dough into a ball and place it back in the bowl; cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 30 minutes.  If desired, sprinkle a little more grated cheddar cheese on top of the dough.

Place covered Dutch Oven in your oven and preheat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. When the oven and Dutch Oven are preheated, carefully remove the lid of the Dutch Oven and place the dough in the pot. Cover and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook an additional 12 to 17 minutes. Allow the bread to cool in the Dutch Oven for a few minutes and then carefully remove the bread. I find a spatula works well to keep me from burning my hands. The bread just pops out. Allow to cool before slicing.  Try to allow the bread to cool before your family asks you to slice the bread so they can gobble it up.

My husband and son just polished off nearly half this loaf. 
In the time that I typed this post... my husband and son ate nearly the entire loaf.  I was hoping to have a slice of this bread with a cold beer tonight. I have a sneaking suspicion this bread will be really good with cold beer.  I'll let you know! :)

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