And…if you are really just beginning to learn about Dutch Oven cooking in general, it might also be helpful to check out this post: Why I love my Dutch Oven
Now back to the Jalapeño Cheese Bread!!
Note: The measurements are a bit different for this recipe than my other ones. I’m not sure why that is, so I will probably go back and make this again using the measurements of my original recipe. If I do, I will be sure to inform you of the results.
4 cups flour (I always use King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose, but only if you don’t mind “encouraging the liberals”! 😂😂😂)
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast or contents of one yeast packet
1 1/2 tablespoon salt (or less, if you desire)
2 cups lukewarm water
2-3 cups shredded cheese (I suggest sharp cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack and a bit of Parmesan totaling 3 cups)
2 tablespoons or more of chopped pickled jalapeno peppers (We prefer Mt. Olive brand)
Dissolve the yeast into the lukewarm water and stir, let sit in a warm place for 5-10 minutes to allow to bloom.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt. Once combined add in the shredded cheeses and mix to combine.
To the flour/cheese mixture, add the pickled jalapeño. Mix.
Add the proofed yeast to the flour and stir with a spoon at first. Use your hands to bring it all together and shape it into a nice ball.
Put the dough ball in a clean bowl and cover the bowl with film and then with a dish cloth.
Allow dough to sit in a warm location until it rises to about twice its size.
Punch down the dough and knead a bit to get the air out. Don’t over knead the dough or it will toughen. Put your kneaded dough ball back in the bowl and cover again. Allow to rise about an hour.
Preheat your oven–with covered Dutch Oven inside–to 450 degrees.
When the oven is preheated, remove the Dutch Oven. Place your dough ball in the hot Dutch Oven and cover. You can use parchment paper, if you’d like but it’s not really necessary. You can sprinkle the bottom of the pan with a bit of flour if you’re worried about it sticking.
Put the Dutch Oven in the preheated oven and bake covered for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for 10-15 minutes longer or until browned to your liking.
Remove the Dutch Oven and tip it over. The bread should pop right out!
Allow to cool for about 20 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
Making your own pizza at home feels a bit hipster to me.
But, to be honest, I’ve been making my own dough for pizza for several decades now. That’s hardly a hipster thing now, is it?
A word of caution: If you are looking for a simple recipe for good at-home pizza dough, then I’ve got a great one for you. If you’re looking for hip ingredients or trendy “hacks” you may have to look elsewhere.
I say that as a caution. To create the “perfect” pizza oven at home, there are a lot more steps involved in the process. I say leave the pepperoni pizza making to the local pizza slingers, because they have the set-up and experience to produce a great pie over any home version I’ve ever tasted.
It’s better for you to reserve your pizza making skills for something that’s special or just “you”. For example, when I get in the mood for homemade pizza, all I want is a super messy ricotta and cheese calzone, which is hard to find around these parts…especially the way I make it, naturally!
So here’s my basic pizza dough recipe, which can be used for both pizza or calzone making. I usually make two batches–not a double batch, two separate batches at the same time. One batch will make two large pizza or two full half moon calzones.
Pizza Dough Ingredients:
2 cups flour (I always use King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour)
1 and 1/4 teaspoons of instant yeast
Three quarters of a teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 cup lukewarm water
Directions for making basic pizza dough:
Combine all but 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl and mix.
Mix and knead lightly to form a soft, smooth dough ball. Do not over knead or your dough will be tough.
Lightly grease a bowl with the remaining olive oil and turn your dough ball around in the oil to coat thoroughly.
Cover the bowl using plastic wrap and a towel and allow to rise until about twice it’s size, which will probably take about 2 1/2 hours in a normal kitchen. You can tell it has risen enough when two finger pokes made in the dough don’t fill back in.
Turn the dough out to your workspace and gently deflate it. Knead it a bit to make a smooth, flexible dough. Divide the dough into two equal sized dough balls.
At this point, you can either freeze your dough for later use or use it to make your own pizza or calzone.
I was “gifted” with a Dutch Oven for Christmas, which I am thinking might be one of the best gifts I’ve ever received…and I’m not just saying that because the giver of the Dutch Oven reads my blog…because I’m not sure if she does. Let’s check: “Thank you, Tre, for the fabulous gift!”
Let’s see if she responds…I’ll let you know later.
Anyway you might be asking what a Dutch Oven is and thinking about why you might need one, too, so let me explain. A Dutch Oven is an enamel-coated cast iron pot that, when heated, maintains amazing temperature much like a slow cooker. I’ve been using a crock pot for years and years, which is why I never got myself a Dutch Oven before, but I will be the first to admit this was a silly mistake.
Slow cookers may *do* Everything a Dutch Oven does, but there’s something more “down home” and heart warming about using your oven to bake bread! It amazes your kids, too!
I know, I know…the gluten! But to be totally honest, unless you have a known allergy to gluten (aka celiac disease), I am just not convinced that gluten is a big horror. Perhaps it’s bad in processed/commercial breads, but even then I’m not sure the gluten is the culprit. Yeah, I’m talking to you high fructose corn syrup!
And while I’m on the subject of HFCS, can I just agree now with my European friends that American bread is SO sweet! It’s too sweet! IMHO, we’ve ruined our palates eating these over sweetened commercial breads.
Before you think I am pointing a blame finger, I’m just as guilty as anyone. I could never envision eating the New England classic Fluffernutter without fresh Country Kitchen Canadian White bread. By the way, the idea that there’s a different kind of bread called Canadian White is just a myth; my Canadian friend has confirmed that there is no such thing! (The horror!!)
Okay I hear ya. I’m done preaching, so I’ll get off my soapbox now and back to the subject: making wonderful and easy homemade bread in a Dutch Oven.
This is a great BASE recipe! Which means, you can experiment with variations. I myself am envisioning a nice Italian loaf with rosemary (my fave!), basil, oregano and a nice cheese blend of Romano and Parmesan. Doesn’t that sound awesome? Drool!
Also…Did I mention this is so easy to make? There’s no kneading and only one (overnight) rising! Couldn’t be easier!
Here’s what you’ll need:
5.5 quart Dutch Oven
An oversized bowl
Six cups all purpose flour (I always use King Arthur, because it’s unbleached)
3 cups room temperature water
2 tsp. salt (adjust to your taste)
1 tsp. Active dry yeast (this is about half an envelope if you are using the packets)
Extra flour for the pan and your hands
The night before, combine flour, salt and yeast in a big bowl then add your water and mix with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a dish towel and let it sit for between 12-18 hours in a warm part of your kitchen
In the morning, put your Dutch Oven (with its lid!) in your oven and then preheat both to 450 degrees
Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl and gently shape the dough with floured hands. Don’t knead the dough, you want the yeast bubbles!
Remove your Dutch Oven from the oven, remove the cover, sprinkle a bit of flour in the bottom and place the dough inside
Replace the cover and put the entire pot back in the preheated oven. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake uncovered for 20 minutes more
Your loaf will pop right out of the pot. Cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing the round loaf in half. Cool completely before slicing the loaf or storing it in plastic, because the steam will make your bread soggy
See how crusty it is outside but fluffy inside? That’s your objective!
That’s all there is to it. REALLY!
Now go on and make yourself some bread! You’ll be glad you did!
Teresa: Did you read all the way to the end? Just checking. Thanks again for my beautiful aqua colored Dutch Oven! I love it…obviously!
My next post will Be how to use your bread to make these Open Faced Meatball Sandwiches, so do come back soon!