Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread

Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread is a recipe you need in your back pocket. If you love a little heat and a little cheese, you are going to love this jalapeño cheddar sourdough bread recipe. The texture is soft and smooth. The cheese melts throughout the dough and the diced jalapeños give it the best kick. I make this sourdough bread often for my in-person bread classes and it is a favorite – never any leftover. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Ingredients in Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread

  • Bread Flour: I almost always use a 12.5% protein bread flour for any bread that I am kneading. The higher protein content and properly activating the gluten result in a lighter/springy baked good.
  • Whole Wheat Flour: I add whole wheat flour to this recipe for a little extra depth of flavor and to encourage fermentation. You can use freshly milled whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour from the grocery store.
  • Diced Jalapeños: Diced jalapeños are perfect for this bread. Drain them well before adding them to the dough. I love the flavor the diced jalapeños bring to every bite of this sourdough jalapeño cheddar bread.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Sharp cheddar cheese has incredible flavor when paired with the jalapeños. I always recommend grating your own cheese before adding it to the dough. Pre-shredded cheese has “caking” additives added to it that keep the cheese from sticking together. Grating your own is the way to go for this recipe.
  • Salt: Salt enhances the flavor, don’t leave it out!

Sample Sourdough Schedule for Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough

A sample baking schedule helps me when baking with sourdough. Sourdough takes much longer to rise than commercial yeast bread. This schedule helps me plan my bake.

A few notes: This schedule assumes the dough temperature is maintained at 78°F throughout the process. If you’d like to make the bread all on the same day, skip the cold fermentation and let the dough rise for a few hours in a banneton before baking

Day 1Levain/Mixing/Bulk Fermentation/Shaping/Cold Fermentation
8:00 AM 11:30 AMMix Levain. Let sit at 78°F for about 3-4 hours until doubled/bubbly and ripe.
11:30 AMFermentolyse: Mix bread flour, whole wheat flour, water and ripe/active/bubbly levain. Let sit for 30 minutes before adding in the salt and reserved water.
12:00 PMMix dough with salt and reserved water
12:30 PM
1:00 PM
1:30 PM

2:00 PM
Stretch and Fold #1
Stretch and Fold #2 Add drained, diced jalapeños and shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Stretch and Fold #3
Stretch and Fold #4 if desired
3:30 PMBench Rest
4:00 PMShape dough
Begin cold fermentation
Day 2
9:00 AMPreheat Dutch oven
9:30 AMScore and Bake

Mix Levain

1:1:1 Levain (ready in 3-4 hours/same day): This recipe calls for a levain mixed the same day you mix the dough. It should take 3-4 hours until it’s ready to be mixed with the dough, if you keep the levain temperature at 78°F. Levain is ready when it has doubled in size, has lots of bubbles, a slightly sour aroma and is just about to start going down from its peak height. Mix together:

  • 40 grams of ripe/mature starter
  • 40 grams of warm water
  • 40 grams of bread flour

If you prefer to mix the levain the night before, you can mix a 1:10:10 Levain that is ready in 10-12 hours or overnight, assuming 78°F.

  • 6 grams of ripe/mature sourdough starter
  • 60 grams white bread flour
  • 60 grams water

Begin Bulk Fermentation: Fermentolyse

I like mixing together the ripe levain, flour and water to fermentolyse for 30 minutes before adding the salt and a little reserved water. This method helps strengthen the gluten strands in the dough and gives a better overall texture and crumb to this bread. As soon as the levain is ready (bubbly, doubled in size, peaked), mix together the ripe levain, bread flour, whole wheat flour and water. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add the salt and 25 grams of reserved water. Pinch chunks of dough and reincorporate them together gently. Pick up one side of the dough and fold it over on itself. Wet your hands as needed and continue to work with the dough, gently kneading until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is smooth. This will probably take 3-5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a plastic container or a glass bowl if desired.

Bulk Fermentation: Stretch and Folds

When making artisan-style sourdough bread we don’t use traditional kneading methods due to the high hydration in the dough. Instead we use a series of gentle folds to help strengthen the gluten strands in the dough. This dough usually gets about 3-4 sets of stretch and folds over a 2 hour period, if the dough is kept right around 78°F.

Stretch and Fold: To “stretch and fold,” wet your hand (so it doesn’t stick to the dough). Reach down to the bottom of the bowl of dough and pull the dough up and over the top of the dough. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the stretch and fold. Turn another quarter turn and repeat. Perform one more quarter turn and stretch and fold the dough. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Repeat this process every 30 minutes for a total of 3-4 times.

Adding Inclusions to Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread

Adding in Jalapeños and Cheese: After the first set of stretch and folds, prepare the mix-ins. Drain the jalapeños and grate the sharp cheddar cheese. Add them to the top of the dough at the beginning of the second set of stretch and folds. As you stretch and fold the dough, the inclusions will incorporate. Alternatively, you can use coil folds to add the inclusions if you prefer. Repeat another set or two of stretch and folds until the jalapeños and cheese are spread evenly throughout the dough.

You can also try laminating the jalapeños and cheese into the dough in place of a stretch and fold or at the end of bulk fermentation right before shaping. Read more about adding inclusions here.

Bulk Fermentation: Resting and Pre-Shaping the Dough

Rest: After the 2-hour period of stretch and folds, let the dough rest in a warm 78-80°F place until puffed up and jiggly with a few scattered bubbles around the top. This usually takes 1.5-2 hours. If the dough doesn’t look right, give it another half hour and check again.

Pre-Shaping: Once the dough has rested and is showing signs of readiness, dump the dough out on the counter. Wet your hands and the bench knife if needed and push the bench knife under the dough on one side and your free hand on the other side to tuck the dough under itself. Turn the dough tightly on the counter until it forms a smooth round ball. Let the dough sit for about 30 minutes, uncovered. It will flatten out a little bit during this time and will be ready for shaping.

Shaping the Dough

Prepare a banneton or small bowl. Place a kitchen towel or hair net in the bowl and liberally flour. If you use the hair net, you should not need much if any flour, especially if using a cold ferment.  Using the bench knife, lift the dough up off the counter and place it on top of the countertop – floured side down. Pull the dough down toward you and then fold up to the middle of the dough. Take the right edge and pull out and then into the middle of the dough. Take the left side of the dough and stretch out and then back to the middle. Repeat with the top of the dough, forming a little “package” of dough. If any jalapeños pop out, remove them from the top of the dough and place them inside the bottom of the dough. This keeps them from burning on the top. Gather the bread into a circle or oval and lift the bread, placing it in your lined bowl.

Cold Fermentation

I almost always use a cold fermentation for my sourdough artisan bread, and the same goes for this jalapeño cheddar sourdough bread. Cover the dough in the banneton and place in the refrigerator for 12-20 hours. If it goes a little longer than that, it should be okay – up to as much as 48 hours depending on the temperature of your refrigerator.

Want to bake this the same day you mix the dough? Leave the dough to continue rising in a warm place for a few hours until puffy, jiggly and risen. Pre-heat oven and bake.

Baking Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread

Pre-heat the Oven: Put a Dutch oven (top and all) into the oven and preheat to 500°F. Allow the Dutch oven to heat for about 30 minutes to an hour at 500°F. This builds up steam, which is necessary to achieve the beautiful oven spring and perfect crust that artisan bread is known for.

Scoring the Dough: Once the oven is preheated for 30 minutes, pull the loaf out of the refrigerator. Remove the plastic wrap (this is easy to do straight out of the refrigerator if the dough is chilled – not easy if the dough warms up) and place a piece of parchment paper on top of the bread dough. Flip the dough over so that it is now sitting on the parchment paper. Take off the bowl/banneton and kitchen towel. Smooth the flour over the top of the dough and use a bread lame or very sharp knife to score the dough. I find a simple score is best when working with this dough.

Baking the Bread: Carefully remove the Dutch oven from the 500°F oven with hot pads. Take the top off and place your bread into the Dutch oven (including parchment paper – this helps with the transfer). Be very careful not to touch the sides of the hot Dutch oven. Put your hot pads back on before you pick up the lid of the Dutch oven and place it on top of the bread. Put the whole Dutch oven back into your oven. Lower the temperature to 450°F and bake for 20 minutes. Once 20 minutes are up, take the top off the dutch oven and continue baking for 20 minutes until the bread is fully baked.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store leftover Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread?

I like to let my loaf cool completely. Then slice, stick in an airtight bag and freeze. You can also freeze the whole loaf and then let it thaw or warm back up in the oven for a few minutes before enjoying.

Do I have to use diced Jalapeños?

You can use any jalapeños that you want. I like the diced version because they are small and you get a little bit of heat in every bite of bread. Make sure you drain them well or else you’ll add more moisture to the dough which can make the dough spread more when baking.

Can I substitute a different type of cheese?

Yes. Choose whatever cheese you like. I think sharp cheddar pairs really well with this bread. If you prefer chunks of cheese instead of grated cheese, you can also cut the cheese into small chunks. I think the cheese is incorporated better when it’s grated, so that’s my preference.

Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread

Amy
Flavorful with a little heat, this jalapeño cheddar sourdough bread is delicious. Diced jalapeños and shredded cheddar cheese make this sourdough bread one you'll want to keep making again and again.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Fermentation Time 1 day 1 hour
Total Time 1 day 2 hours 15 minutes
Course Artisan Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients
  

Levain (1:1:1, 3-4 hours before)

  • 40 grams ripe/active sourdough starter
  • 40 grams bread flour
  • 40 grams water

Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread

  • 100 grams ripe/bubbly/peaked levain
  • 450 grams bread flour
  • 50 grams whole wheat flour
  • 375 grams water 25 grams reserved for after fermentolyse
  • 10 grams salt
  • 100 grams diced jalapeños drained, about one 4 oz can
  • 100 grams sharp cheddar cheese freshly grated, about 1 cup

Instructions
 

Levain (1:1:1, 3-4 hours before, 78°F)

  • Mix Levain: Mix together ripe/active sourdough starter with bread flour and water. Cover loosely and let sit 3-4 hours at 78℉ until doubled, bubbly & peaked.

Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread

  • Note: Maintain the dough temperature at 78-80°F during the bulk fermentation for best results.
  • Fermentolyse: Once the levain is ready (bubbly, doubled in size, milky sweet smell), mix together 100 grams levain, 350 grams water (warm the water if the ingredients are too cold and cool water if the ingredients are too warm), 450 grams bread flour and 50 grams whole wheat flour. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Mixing: After 30 minutes, add the reserved 10 grams of salt and 25 grams of water. Combine using your hands by squeezing the dough between your fingers, pinching chunks of dough and reincorporating together. The dough will break apart and then reform in the bowl through this process. Pick up one side of the dough and fold it over on itself. The dough will be sticky. Wet your hands as needed and continue to work with the dough until all the salt and water has been incorporated. Transfer the dough to a plastic container or a glass bowl and cover.
  • Stretch and Folds: Perform a series of “stretch and folds” throughout the next 2 hours. The goal is to strengthen the dough. To “stretch and fold,” wet your hand (so it doesn’t stick to the dough). Reach around the dough down to the bottom of the bowl, pull the dough up and over and place it on top of the dough. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the stretch and fold. Turn another quarter turn and repeat. Perform one more quarter turn, stretching and folding the dough. Cover and set aside. Take note of how the dough feels through this process. It will go from feeling a little shaggy to smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl and wait about 30 minutes in between stretch and folds
  • Stretch and fold #1: 30 minutes into bulk fermentation
    Stretch and fold #2: 30 minutes later, drain the jalapeños well. Spread the diced jalapeños and shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top of the dough. Perform stretch and fold #2, adding the inclusions in as you fold.
    Stretch and fold #3: 30 minutes later
    Stretch and fold #4: Optional, if you want to disperse the inclusions more or you think your dough needs a little more strength.
  • Rest: Cover the dough and let rise for 1.5-2 more hours. You’ll know the dough is ready to shape when the dough is puffed up, jiggles when you shake the bowl, has scattered bubbles visible on the sides and top.
  • Pre-shape: Tip the bowl upside down, allowing the dough to fall onto a clean counter surface. Be gentle to avoid degassing the dough as much as possible. Wet your hands and the bench knife if needed and push the bench knife under the dough on one side and your free hand on the other side to tuck the dough under itself. The goal is to introduce some tension into the dough. Repeat this process going around in a circle until you have a ball of dough.
  • Bench Rest: Let the dough rest uncovered for about 30 minutes at room temperature. The dough will flatten (like a pancake) during this period of time. This allows the gluten in the dough to relax and prepares the dough to be shaped.
  • Shaping: Prepare a bowl or banneton. Place a kitchen towel or hair net in the bowl and liberally flour as needed. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough. Using a bench knife, lift the dough up off the counter and place it on top of the countertop – floured side down. This ensures that the flour is staying mainly on the outside of the dough. Going around in a circle, pull the dough sideways towards you and then fold up to the top of the round. Turn 90 degrees and repeat the same process pulling the dough sideways and then folding up to the top. As you continue this process around the dough, increase the tension as you pull. Gather the bread into a circle and place into a lined bowl. Remove any jalapeños that have popped out on the surface of the dough to prevent burning in the oven.
  • Cold Fermentation: Cover the dough with the tea towel/shower cap/plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 12-20 hours. If you want to bake the same day, you can let the dough rise for about 3-4 hours until puffed up and risen. Then bake according to recipe directions.
  • Preheat: Put a Dutch oven (top and all) into the oven and preheat to 500°F for 30 minutes. You are working with very high temperatures, so make sure you have some good hot pads. Once preheated for 30 minutes, pull the loaf out of the refrigerator. Remove the covering. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough. Flip the dough over so it is now sitting on the parchment paper. Take off the bowl/banneton and the kitchen towel.
  • Scoring: Use a very sharp knife or bread lame to score the dough. Take the bread lame and score on one side of the dough, at a shallow angle, about 1 inch deep. Remove any inclusions that pop out. Score straight from the refrigerator for best results.
  • Baking: Carefully remove the Dutch oven from the 500°F oven. Take the lid off and place your bread into the Dutch oven (including parchment paper – this helps with the transfer). Put the lid on and put back in the oven. Lower the temperature to 450°F and bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, take the lid off the Dutch oven and continue baking for 20 minutes until the bread is a crackly deep brown. Remove the Dutch oven and let bread cool. Enjoy!

Notes

This recipe is based on my sourdough artisan bread recipe. You can use all bread flour in place of the whole wheat flour in the recipe.
Jalapeños: Whatever jalapeños you choose to use, make sure to drain them so you aren’t adding too much excess liquid to the dough. I like diced jalapeños from a 4 oz can and find it’s the perfect amount. If you choose to use sliced jalapeños, use about 4 oz or 100 grams.
Cheddar: The cheese flavor really comes through with a sharp cheddar cheese. For best results, grate the cheese yourself.
Keyword cranberry pecan sourdough artisan bread, jalapeno cheddar sourdough, jalapeno sourdough artisan bread, jalapeno sourdough bread, pumpkin sourdough artisan bread, sourdough artisan bread, sourdough bread with jalapenos
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19 Comments

  1. Hello! I can’t wait to try this!
    I do not have a Dutch oven. Can I bake this in a normal loaf pan or any other square tin?
    And when you say one set of stretch and folds, it is just once on all 4 sides right? I cannot do it multiple times?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. You can try to open bake it. It may not turn out quite the same but should still taste good. The stretch and folds are every 30 minutes for 3-4 times. Every time you do 3-4 stretch and folds.

    2. Hi, thanks for the reply! It’s cold proofing right now!
      At what temperature should I bake it if I am open baking the loaf?
      And do i need to put it in a pan or just shape it and put it onto a baking tray?

  2. I JUST pulled my first loaf out of the oven! I was surprised that it didn’t rise more but that’s ok as long as it turned out! I also used fresh jalapenos and medium cheddar cheese as that is what I had on hand.

    1. Good for you! Check on your temperatures and make sure you are keeping the dough warm during fermentation before shaping and into the fridge. So exciting!

  3. Amy, I have a question on this bread. The flavor is fabulous BUT the loaf didn’t rise as it should have and the dough was very wet. I use King Arthur bread flour and have had maybe two plain sourdough loaves rise even less than the Jalapeno Cheddar loaf did. Have you had this issue too and if so, did you add more flour or ?????

    1. I would check on how you managed your fermentation throughout the rise . Did you keep your dough at 78-80 degrees throughout the whole process? Did you use some whole wheat flour in the dough? Was your dough showing the signs of readiness to be shaped (risen about 30%, aerated, a few scattered bubbles and doming in toward the center of the bowl)? Sourdough is more about learning to read the signs of the dough than it is about following a recipe to the T. I try to be as specific as possible in showing what you are looking for before shaping because the yeast activity depends a lot on your temperature and the flour you feed it. And this is all assuming that you had a very active levain that you added into the dough. So if your dough didn’t rise, I would look into some of these things and see what you may want to change for next time. I hope that helps!

  4. Making this bread was my first foray into inclusions which I have been wanting to try. My taste buds were not prepares for that much jalapeño though 🫠 I think next time I will reduce them by half. Amazing loaf of bread and one I will be gifting to my spice loving friends for sure!!

  5. 5 stars
    The flavor of this loaf is incredible, but I also did not get a proper rise. I will try again!

    1. Check the temperature as you proof the dough to make sure it’s time to shape and that it ferments long enough before baking.

  6. 5 stars
    I just made this and it is AMAZING! My house smells amazing and the crust is perfect! Now to try and keep my husband from eating the whole thing!

  7. I’m trying this now, but seems way too wet. I am doing the final bench rest prior to shaping and could not get it to take form of ball before rest. Should I have added flour? Any help will be appreciated.

    1. I would add a little more flour if you can’t shape it. Did you drain the jalapeños before adding them? Are you using bread flour?

  8. 5 stars
    The first few times I made this loaf, I didn’t have wheat flour and it was kind of flat and very wet. This time I had wheat flour and it was way easier to work with and is rising beautifully!! Can’t wait to taste it! It was great the first few times but I can tell it will be even better with the wheat flour included this time! Thank you for yet another fabulous recipe!