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Jalapeño Cheddar Focaccia Recipe

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Welcome to our bread baking section! Today, we’re sharing a flavorful recipe for Jalapeño Cheddar Focaccia. This focaccia features a light and airy dough topped with spicy jalapeños, melted cheddar cheese, and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt. Perfect for a savory snack or a unique side dish, this focaccia is sure to impress. Let’s get started!

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Ingredients

For the Dough:

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Topping:

  • 2-3 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley (for garnish, optional)

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Dough

  1. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, instant yeast, salt, and sugar. Mix well.
  2. Add Wet Ingredients: Add the warm water and olive oil to the dry ingredients. Mix until a dough forms.
  3. Knead Dough: Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5-7 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic. You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for this step.
  4. First Rise: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

Step 2: Shape the Focaccia

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Prepare Baking Sheet: Grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
  3. Shape Dough: Punch down the dough to release any air bubbles, then transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Stretch and press the dough into a rectangle or oval shape, about 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Second Rise: Cover the dough with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let it rise again for about 20-30 minutes.

Step 3: Add Toppings and Bake

  1. Prepare Toppings: While the dough is rising, prepare the jalapeño slices and shred the cheddar cheese.
  2. Dimple Dough: Using your fingers, make deep dimples all over the surface of the dough.
  3. Add Toppings: Arrange the jalapeño slices evenly over the dough, then sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese on top. Season with freshly ground black pepper and a generous sprinkle of coarse sea salt.
  4. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the focaccia is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Step 4: Serve

  1. Garnish (Optional): If desired, garnish with freshly chopped cilantro or parsley for a burst of freshness.
  2. Cool and Serve: Allow the focaccia to cool slightly before slicing and serving. Enjoy this flavorful bread warm or at room temperature.

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Yeast: Make sure your yeast is fresh and not expired for the best rise.
  • Jalapeños: Adjust the number of jalapeño slices based on your spice preference. Remove the seeds for a milder flavor.
  • Cheese: Use freshly grated cheddar cheese for the best melting and flavor.
  • Dimpling: Making deep dimples in the dough helps to create the characteristic focaccia texture and allows the toppings to adhere better.

Variations

Garlic Herb Focaccia

Add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of mixed dried herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, and oregano) to the dough for a fragrant and flavorful variation.

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Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Focaccia

Top the dough with sliced black olives and chopped sun-dried tomatoes instead of jalapeños and cheddar for a Mediterranean twist.

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Sweet Focaccia

Skip the savory toppings and drizzle the dough with honey, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar before baking for a sweet focaccia variation.

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Whole Wheat Focaccia

Replace half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour for a nuttier flavor and a more nutritious bread.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I make this focaccia ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the dough ahead of time and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight. Bring it to room temperature before shaping and baking.

How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

Can I freeze focaccia?

Yes, you can freeze baked focaccia. Allow it to cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature and reheat in the oven before serving.

What can I serve with this focaccia?

This focaccia pairs well with soups, salads, or as a side for pasta dishes. It also makes a great snack on its own.

How can I make the focaccia crispier?

For a crispier crust, bake the focaccia on a preheated baking stone or place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven while baking to create steam.

This Jalapeño Cheddar Focaccia is a delicious and easy-to-make bread that’s perfect for any occasion. With its spicy jalapeños, melted cheddar cheese, and light, airy dough, it’s sure to become a favorite. Enjoy making and sharing this flavorful focaccia with your family and friends!

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