A few days ago, on our PBS station, we watched Steve Sullivan making bread with Julia Child Baking With Julia: Decorative Loaves with Steve Sullivan. The only yeast in his starter was what was already in the old dough. We both said, almost simultaneously, “We’ve got to try that!!”
edit 2018: (the video located at video.pbs.org/video/2250834031 “may be unavailable in your area”. It WAS available in our area at the time of posting, then disappeared and was available again for a moment in early 2018, but now it’s not The link now points to a YouTube video. -ejm)
My nephew and his wife recently alerted us to the wonderful sounding coffee chipotle pulled pork on the blog, Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. Pictured with what sounded like fantastic pulled pork are the most beautiful buns. Buns made with cheddar cheese and jalapeno peppers.
I neeeeeeeeded to try those buns!
Unlike Tracey, the only pepper plants we have are cayenne and Thai. I’m sure those would be fine but maybe just a little too hot for the buns. Not to mention that I don’t think we have enough little peppers to fit into all that dough. So we jumped on our bikes and rode to the market to get jalapeno peppers.
I’d already made fougasse dough for that night. When I was shaping the fougasse, thinking about what I’d seen Steve Sullivan do, I held back a walnut sized piece of dough, kneaded in a little water and flour, put it in a covered bowl and set it aside for the next day.
And the next morning, I got cracking, getting out flours, yeast, salt, eggs and cheese. I put the egg into a bowl of hot water to bring it up to room temperature. And grated the cheese.
I washed and quartered the jalapenos and seeded them. I didn’t want the bitterness of the seeds in the bread. But I left the pulp that was surrounding the seeds. I knew we wanted that heat! And as I cut the peppers, I could smell that there was heat. And I repeated over and over to myself:
me: DON’T rub your eyes!!
Then, at last, it was time to mix the dough. Tracey used her stand mixer. I don’t have a stand mixer. So I made an executive decision about those Jalapeno pepper pieces. I’d add them later. The idea of hand-kneading them for 10 minutes was just a little too nerve wracking.
I put the piece of old dough (hmmm, nothing much had happened to it but it couldn’t hurt to use it) on top of the just mixed dough. I didn’t chop it into little pieces. It just doesn’t seem necessary if I’m hand kneading.
Then I kneaded until the two doughs were encorporated and it was almost smooth and then scattered the pepper pieces over top of the flattened dough and kneaded until the pepper pieces were evenly distributed.
And I repeated over and over to myself:
me: DON’T rub your eyes!!
Then, I put the dough into the bowl, covered it with a plate and left it on the dining room table to rise. The dough was ready for shaping around 13:00. It doubled in no time, ready for baking at 15:00. (It was probably ready a little earlier. I have a bad habit of letting things over-rise in the summer. I’m just not used to having the house warm.) I brushed the buns with milk, popped them into the oven and we drank in the incredible aroma as they baked.
Here is Tracey’s Jalapeño Cheddar Rolls recipe. And here is what I did to it:
Jalapeno Cheddar Buns
based on Tracey’s Jalapeño Cheddar Rolls
Makes 8-10 rolls
- walnut sized piece of old dough, optional
- 1 tsp (3.6gm) active dry yeast ¹
- 60 ml (0.25c/80gm) lukewarm water
- 3 jalapeno peppers ²
- 1 Tbsp sugar ³
- 180 ml (0.75c/180gm) room-temperature water
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 Tbsp (28gm) sunflower oil (or safflower, canola, corn…)
- 2.5 c (312gm) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 0.5 c (60gm) whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp (6.6gm) fine seasalt
- 175 gm (6 oz) cheddar, grated
- milk wash 4
- mixing The day before making the buns, when you are shaping bread, take a walnut sized piece of dough and put it in a bowl with a splash of water and about a quarter cup flour. Knead it until there are no lumps. Put the dough into a covered bowl and leave it on the counter overnight. Please note that this step is entirely optional. I don’t even know if it added anything to the buns. I include it simply because this is what I did. It’s entirely likely that the next time I make these buns, I won’t have any old dough lying around so will omit it.
- In the morning of the day you’ll be making the buns, put the yeast into a smallish bowl. Pour the warm water (do the baby bottle test on your wrist to check the temperature) overtop and whisk until the yeast dissolves. Set aside.
- Wash the Jalapeno peppers. Quarter them and remove the seeds. Set aside. (Note for next time: after seeding them, chop the peppers into smallish cubes and stir in half the sugar before setting aside.)
- Pour the room temperature water into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar, egg and oil. Add the flours, grated cheese and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Add the yeasted water and continue stirring until the flour is encorporated.
- Turn the dough onto the UNfloured board and allow to rest as you wash and dry the bowl. Please do not be tempted to skip this step!
- Kneading Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Refrain from adding extra flour. Use a dough scraper to keep the board clean. After 10 minutes of kneading, flatten the dough.
- Chop the peppers into smallish cubes and scatter overtop of the flattened dough. Fold the dough in half to knead in the pepper pieces. Keep flattening the dough and folding it in half. At first it will seem like this is a futile effort. And then suddenly, the dough will become dough again but this time studded with little green pepper jewels.
- Place the kneaded dough in the clean bowl. Please note that there is no need to oil the bowl! (Don’t worry! When the dough has risen enough, it wants to come out of the bowl cleanly.) Put a plate overtop and allow to rise at warm room temperature – around 21C – until it is about double the volume.
- shaping: Scatter some flour on the board and turn the dough out. Divide the dough into 2 even pieces. Fold each piece of dough in half, cover with a clean tea towel and allow them to rest for 5 minutes.
- Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Cut one piece of dough into four even pieces. Shape each one into a round: gently grab the outside of the first piece of dough to create a false braid. Keep fake braiding until the dough curls up on itself to become a tight round. Place each round seam side DOWN on the parchment paper. Repeat with the other piece of dough until you have 8 rounds with plenty of space around each piece. Flour the palms of your hands and gently flatten each round. Cover the shaped buns with a clean tea towel, followed by a large plastic grocery bag and allow to rise at room temperature until they are almost doubled.
- baking Put the rack on the top shelf of the oven and preheat it to 350F.
- Just before putting the buns in the oven, brush the tops with milk. Bake at 350F oven for 15 minutes. Turn the trays around half way through the baking to account for uneven heat in the oven. Turn the oven down to 325 and bake for a further 15 minutes until the buns are nicely golden and sound hollow when rapped on the bottom.
- Remove the bread from oven and allow to cool on a well ventilated rack. Wait until they are completely cool before eating them! They are still continuing to bake inside! 5
1.) Yeast: Tracey calls for 1.75 teaspoons yeast. Being the renegade I am, I decided to use less because I was also using less sugar.
2.) Jalapenos: Many sources say to wear gloves when cutting hot peppers. I just can’t be bothered. BUT whenever I handle chiles, I do have a running chorus “DON’T rub your eyes” going constantly in my head. Granted, it has been quite some time since I’ve made that mistake. But the memory is vivid.
3.) Sugar: Tracey calls for 3 tablespoons of sugar. I just couldn’t add that much! But next time, I’ll had half of the sugar to the dough and scatter the other half onto the jalapeno pepper pieces. I like the idea of them getting caramelized when they’re baking.
4.) Milk wash: Tracey calls for using an egg wash. It’s the protein that produces the shine so I prefer to use milk instead of wasting an egg.
5.) But I LIKE warm buns! If you wish to serve warm buns, reheat them after they have cooled completely. To reheat uncut bread, turn the oven to 500F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust perfectly.
- breadcrumb trail
» Tracey (Tracey’s Culinary Adventures): Jalapeño Cheddar Rolls
» Shawnda (Confections of a Foodie Bride): Jalapeno Cheddar Burger Buns
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» pbs.org: Baking With Julia: Decorative Loaves with Steve Sullivan