Bread machine recipes are great for busy days, or for baking weekly loaves for the family. I’ve often felt that they’re a bit lacking, though, especially when compared to hand-kneaded, oven-baked bread recipes. Not anymore! This jalapeno cheese bread recipe is fluffy, airy, and absolutely mouth-watering.
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Bread machine recipes are often missing a little pizzazz if we’re being honest. And don’t get me wrong! I love my bread maker! What I mean is, when you really start to get into the art of making bread, bread machines, well, they fall a little short.
I’ve followed many recipes over the years. Some are great! Others, not so much. And, not to toot my own horn, but my recipes usually end up being better than many that I’ve followed on big websites. This is only because I understand what makes a great loaf.
I’ve heard similar sentiments from my followers as well. The bread they make in their bread machines often turn out dry, dense, or crumbly.
Here’s a little secret for you about bread machines
You shouldn’t set and forget.
I know, that kind of takes away from the awe of owning a machine that “does all of the work for you.” But it’s true! In order to get a good loaf out of your machine, you’re going to have to peek at it at least once or twice.
Don’t worry! The bread machine still does take out a ton of work. It’s absolutely worth it to invest in one. In fact, I can help you pick which one is right for you in this bread machine guide I created. It’s very in-depth and helpful.
Even when compared to the easiest no-knead bread recipe, this jalapeno cheese bread machine recipe is honestly even easier, because of the bread machine. You just have to check on the dough once or twice.
What makes this bread machine recipe better than others?
On my hunt for the best jalapeno cheese bread recipe, I realized that many recipes were quite far off on what makes a great loaf of bread. Some had random ingredients added that honestly didn’t make sense. It’s almost as if they were added just to give the appearance of being the secret missing ingredient to a great bread machine recipe.
There’s not a secret ingredient. The important thing is being equipped with a little knowledge on how bread works, and why good loaves turn out the way they do. Well, plus an egg. The egg might be a secret ingredient.
What does egg do in a loaf of bread? It binds the ingredients together, adds some color, and makes for a fluffier, softer loaf. Many bread recipes don’t have eggs in them, but given that bread machine recipes are often a bit dry and crumbly, I figured adding an egg would take this recipe to the next level. And I was right!
Bread Machine Jalapeno Cheese Bread Recipe
Ingredients for Jalapeno Cheese Bread
Here’s what you need to make my amazing bread machine jalapeno cheese bread:
- Warm water
- Warm milk
- Bread flour
- Active dry yeast
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Sliced jalapenos
Each ingredient has a purpose
Heat your water up in the microwave until it’s about 90-95°F. You can test it using a thermometer until you get the hang of what “perfect bread water” feels like (as I affectionately call it). You’ll learn that it feels nice and warm, almost hot. But not quite hot enough to burn. You’d be surprised just how hot water has to be to kill yeast, but it can happen. Cold or lukewarm water isn’t going to kill the yeast, but it’s not going to make the bread as active. It’s just… meh. The yeast will be happier in the warm environment.
Aside from adding extra nutrients and an obvious “creamier” texture to the finished product, bread recipes that include milk are almost always softer. I know this from experience, but a quick google search will show you that “milk creates breads which are richer and have a more velvety texture. Milk makes a softer crust that will brown more quickly due to the sugar and butterfat in milk. Milk also improves the keeping quality of breads and contributes nutrients.” – RedStarYeast.com
Every soft bread recipe I’ve ever made has had milk, so I knew in my heart it needed to be added to my jalapeno cheese bread machine recipe. It should be warmed up as well, just to keep the little yeast friends happy.
Eggs aren’t usually in basic bread recipes. However, they make a huge difference. It’s all about what you want the loaf to be like. Challah, brioche, and gluten-free breads have egg in them, but your typical white loaf or sourdough loaf does not include egg. The egg helps bind the ingredients together, adds color, and makes the bread softer and richer. They’re also a leavening agent, thus they make the bread rise higher. If you’d like your jalapeno cheddar bread to be a bit crunchier, omit the egg.
Bread flour is a must in a bread baker’s kitchen, of course. If you’re in a pinch, or you’re too eager to make this recipe to wait for a grocery trip, you can use all-purpose flour. It will still rise and turn out fine. Bread flour is preferred because it’s high in protein. The extra protein is needed to produce lots of gluten. It simply makes for better loaves. The dough rises better and holds its shape more.
Active dry yeast
I personally use active dry yeast. You can substitute instant yeast 1:1. The difference between the two is that active dry yeast has to be activated or proofed in warm water, whereas instant yeast can be added straight to dry ingredients like flour and salt.
The yeast feeds on the sugar, which makes for much faster rise times. As the yeast eats the sugar, it produces carbon dioxide, hence the rising. Sugar also preserves the loaf (albeit not by much) by holding onto moisture.
Salt, aside from being added for flavor, strengthens the gluten structure of the dough by keeping the trapped carbon dioxide bubbles from expanding too quickly. It regulates the rate of yeast activity, thus resulting in a slow and steady rise. Do you get it? The sugar provides food for the yeast to thrive and quickly develop, and the salt keeps it in a harmonious balance by slowing that process down just a bit.
Hence, you need salt in your recipe, but not too much salt. Too much salt will result in an awful loaf, because the dough will rise too slow, or even stop rising completely.
Sharp cheddar cheese
You can use any cheese you like, though cheddar and jalapeno are often found together in recipes because they’re a great combination. The best, if you ask me!
Sharp cheddar is preferred because the taste punches through in each bite. This recipe has more cheese than others, but not so much that it messes with the structure of the bread. Additionally, the use of sharp cheddar puts it a step above the others because the flavor will absolutely be there.
Fresh jalapenos are much spicier than pickled jalapenos, though either one will work in this recipe. The bread machine breaks the jalapenos up quite a bit, so slicing them into rounds is more than fine. The more seeds you add, the hotter it will be. The flesh is preferred, though, to keep the texture nice. There’s no need to pick out a ton of seeds, however.
How to make Jalapeno Cheese Bread in Bread Machine
Place ingredients in the bread pan according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Do not add the cheese or jalapenos yet. Bread machines have a specific order that you should add the ingredients in, so be sure to check for your specific model. My Cuisinart bread maker calls for this order: wet ingredients, flour spread out, yeast in one corner, salt in one corner, and sugar in one corner, not directly next to the yeast.
Set the bread machine settings as follows:
- “White” loaf
- Light crust
- 1.5 lb loaf
Turn on the bread machine
Add the cheese and jalapenos
When the machine beeps during the kneading cycle, it’s time to add your cheese and jalapenos! (Reserve a small amount of the shredded cheddar and sliced jalapenos to add to the top of the loaf later).
Check on your dough!
Don’t forget that bread machines don’t have brains. They aren’t able to tell if your bread is a little too dry or a little too wet. I usually add a light dusting of flour at this point, but you may not have to.
The perfect bread dough in the bread machine will stick just a little bit to the sides, but pull away while being kneaded. It’s soft, supple, and slightly springy. It’s a tad sticky when you touch, but not too much. See picture above for a view of “perfect” bread dough.
Punch the dough down
Keep an eye on your dough during the proofing cycle. This recipe is very active and alive compared to many bread machine recipes. You will likely need to punch the dough down once or twice during this period. Do not twist or mess with the dough too much. Simply punch it down lightly to release the trapped gasses.
Note: Make sure you allow the loaf to rise for a few minutes at least before the bake cycle. If the dough is about to overflow right before the bake cycle, pause the machine, punch the dough down, and allow it to rise for several minutes before allowing the machine to move on to baking.
Remove the paddle(s) if applicable
The paddles leave holes in the bottom of your bread. To avoid this, remove the paddles.
Add cheese and jalapenos to the top of the dough
When the baking cycle begins, add the reserved sliced jalapenos and shredded cheese to the top of the loaf.
When the bread machine beeps, it’s done! Carefully remove the loaf pan using an oven mitt, by twisting and lifting upwards. Remove the loaf and allow it to cool on a cooling rack.
Once cooled, slice the bread using a bread knife, and enjoy with fresh cultured butter, or make a grilled cheese.
Bread is not “done,” even once it’s out of the oven. Steam is still working its way out of the loaf. It’s best to allow it to cool completely if you can resist. But, I won’t tell if you sneak a slice with butter while it’s still warm.
If you like this recipe, don’t forget to pin it for later: