Easy Crusty Jalapeno Cheese Bread Fantastico

Total Time
20hrs 45mins
Prep 20 hrs
Cook 45 mins

Extremely simple yeast bread with cheddar & jalapeno ribbons; crusty exterior. A gorgeous artisan bread derived from "Jim Lahey's No-Knead Bread" method.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Important: you will need a heavy pot with a lid. A Dutch oven is ideal; I just use a heavy stew pot with thick sides. I start the dough at 9pm if I want it for dinner the next day.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  3. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and flop dough onto it. Fold it over on itself once or twice. Put some flour on your hands if the dough sticks to them. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  4. Divide the bag of cheese into 1/4s, and divide the jar of peppers into 4 portions, too, taking care to remove any stems or woody bits.
  5. Remove plastic and press the dough flat. Sprinkle it with a portion of peppers and cheese. Fold in half, press flat, sprinkle again. I usually only use 3 of the 4 portions of cheese/peppers. Mash it into a ball, pressing firmly to seal the seam.
  6. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  7. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Drop dough into pot, taking care not to burn your fingers. It may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
  8. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 or longer, until loaf is beautifully browned. This may take as long as 60minutes total bake time, but mine is usually done by 45min total.
  9. Cool on a rack. Listen to it crackle as it cools.
Most Helpful

I LOVE this bread, the spice is such a nice surprise when you bite into it. It goes together so easy and while it is spicy, we love that so it's perfect for us though some of our friends felt it was to much so.
Guess it's all a matter of taste. I'll be using this one often.

Bonnie G #2 October 20, 2011

I have made this recipe several times now, so I think that it is time to rate it.

What I have found that works well with adding the cheese and peppers is this. I add the first two portions, then let the dough rest for 10 min. I then add the third portion and let the dough rest again for 10 min. and then add the 4'th portion.

Then I let the dough rise for the full time as per recipe.

I followed the recipe exactly except I bought 12 peppers, scraped the seeds out, and used fresh.

Excellent recipe! Thanks!

snowglobe February 20, 2011

I wouldn't exactly call this "easy" but maybe that's just because I'm a novice baker. I used a cast iron Dutch oven as recommended and followed the directions exactly. The bread was WAY too spicy to enjoy, though my DH, who likes everything burn-your-face-off spicy, ate this bread with glee. It certainly was pretty, and we liked the VERY crunchy texture of the outside, contrasted by the chewy nature of the center. However, after baking for more than an hour, the center still was not done. Too much moisture in the jalapenos? Probably. Next time I will add a little more yeast to get a bit more air in it, and use maybe half jalapenos and half green chilis, as another reviewer suggested. I used all the cheese and that was the best part. I did try it toasted as others suggested, with cream cheese and raspberry-jalapeno jam, and that was oddly delicious. DH will finish the rest of this loaf off easily, and I will definitely try again.

Faux Chef Lael August 22, 2010