Spicy food. Cheese. Bread. These are most definitely a few of my favorite things. So believe me, I pretty much devoured this Jalapeno Popper Pull Apart Bread.
Unless you’ve been avoiding food blogs for the last few years, I’m sure you’ve seen the gazillion different versions of pull apart bread floating around the internet. I have to say, I am amazed at the creativity out there. There are so many delicious sounding versions, from pizza flavor to cheese and garlic to chocolate- I kind of want to try them all. I think the original version is this Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake by Flo Braker, which sounds superb. But the only version I have actually tried (many times), is the uber popular Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread posted by Joy the Baker. That version is spectacularly good and if you haven’t made it, I highly recommend it. And I also high recommend this cheesy version.
I’ve always wanted to try a savory version of this recipe, so when I couldn’t stop thinking about jalapeno poppers a few weeks ago (which happens fairly regularly) I decided to try a jalapeno popper pull apart bread and it worked amazingly well. Super cheesy + mildly spicy + light and fluffy bread layers are kind of like heaven. The bread dough is really easy to pull together and while creating the stacks of dough can be a little messy, it always works out in the end. I really prefer this warm, so I’d recommend eating this quickly. Alternately, you could freeze portions of the bread and then thaw and heat in the microwave as needed. Actually, I just remembered that I have some in the freezer as well! Please excuse me while I make a hasty exit to the kitchen!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 TBSP sugar
- 2¼ tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
- ⅓ cup milk, warm
- ¼ cup water, warm
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 2-3 jalapenos, sliced or chopped (deseeded if desired)
- To make the dough:
- Add the milk and butter to a small saucepan and heat on low until the butter is just melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and then let sit until it cools to 120-130F (about 1 minute).
- Pour mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer and add the vanilla extract. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes or until the yeast is frothy. If your yeast doesn't froth you'll need to start over with a new packet of yeast.
- Meanwhile, combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt to a bowl. Stir to mix.
- Add the flour mixture to the milk/water/yeast mixture and stir by hand to combine. Use the paddle attachment on the standing mixer and mix on low speed. Add the eggs one at a time, until just mixed. Turn off the mixer and add ½ cup of flour. Turn the mixer back on low and and mix for about 1 minute, or until the dough is smooth. Add two more tablespoons of flour and then mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth and only a little sticky. This took about 2 minutes for me.
- Place the dough onto a well floured surface. Knead for about 1 minute by hand until the dough is smooth and not sticky, adding up to 2 tablespoons of flour if needed.
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour to an hour and a half.*
- To make the filling
- While the dough rises, grate the cheese and chop up the jalapenos. If you like spicy food, I'd suggest simply slicing the jalapenos into thin rounds. If you don't, I'd suggest removing the seeds and dicing the jalapenos. Place the cream cheese in a small bowl and microwave until soft and spreadable. Set aside.
- To assemble
- Grease and flour a loaf pan (9x5x3) and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and place onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down the dough, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes. Once rested, use a rolling pin to roll the dough to about 12 inches by 20 inches.
- Use a pastry brush or spoon to spread the cream cheese over the dough. Sprinkle the jalapenos and then the grated cheese over the top as well. Slice the dough vertically into six strips. Place the strip on top of each other and cut into six slices again, so that you end up with 6 stacks of 6 squares.
- Layer the dough slices into the loaf pan so the cheese side faces one end of the pan. Cover the pan with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
- Once doubled, place the pan in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown. The top will cook quicker than the center, so make sure it's cooked all the way through.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 30 minutes before removing carefully. Enjoy while warm!
*If you'd like, you can refrigerate the dough overnight after rising. If you do that, just let the dough rest on the counter for an hour before rolling out.
If you're confused by the assembly instructions, Joy has excellent step by step pictures for her cinnamon sugar version