Jalapeño Cheddar Bacon Sourdough Bread

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If you’re looking to spice things up, this Jalapeño Cheddar Bacon Sourdough Loaf is the way to go. Spicy jalapeños, sharp cheddar cheese, and crispy bacon all stuffed into an artisan sourdough loaf. It doesn’t get better than that!

The flavors complement each other nicely, and the sourdough bread helps to tame the spice levels. It has a kick without being overwhelming or painfully spicy. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like things so spicy that I can’t actually taste the flavor. However, if you prefer more spice, I’ll give you some tips on how to heat things up.

The base recipe for this loaf uses my Simple Sourdough Bread Recipe. It’s a no-fuss recipe that requires minimal hands-on work. However, if you have a method you prefer, you can always use that one as your base.

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When to add mix-ins to jalapeño cheddar bacon sourdough bread

jalapenos in a jar cheddar cheese on a cutting board with a knife

You can add inclusions during the stretch and fold phase or during shaping. If I make the loaf during the day, I will add the mix-ins about 2 hours before shaping with a gentle stretch and fold. If I make the loaf overnight, I don’t like to leave the bacon and cheese at room temperature for that long, so I will add them during shaping.

Stretch and folds allow the mix-ins to disperse evenly in the dough, which is why that is my preferred method. To add the mix-ins before shaping, gently pull the dough into a chubby rectangle and add the mix-ins on top. Fold the bottom two-thirds of the dough on itself and again sprinkle more of the mix-ins on the top layer of the fold. Fold the top third over it and add one more layer of mix-ins on top. Roll up the dough like a cinnamon roll, and using cupped hands, shape the dough into a ball or oval shape, depending on which basket shape you use. Tearing can sometimes happen with the extra add-ins, so be gentle with the dough, and when it starts tearing, stop and put it in the basket. If you want jalapeños and cheddar on the crust, like shown in my photos, add a few jalapeños and cheese to the top of the shaped dough before flipping it into the proofing basket.

Jalapeño Cheddar & Bacon Sourdough Bread Ingredients

  • Bread Flour – Flour with a higher protein content, like bread flour, is ideal for sourdough bread. Sourdough bread is a higher hydration dough so it needs a flour that is efficient at absorbing water, like bread flour. You can also use unbleached all-purpose flour, but I recommend reducing the water by 25 grams.
  • Active Sourdough Starter – An active sourdough starter refers to starter that was recently fed and is bubbly and doubled in size.
  • Water – Despite what many people say about only being able to use filtered water, I’ve always used tap water with no issues.
  • Salt – Any type of salt will work.
  • Cheese – I like to do a mix of cheddar and jalapeño pepper jack. See notes below.
  • Jalapeños – Fresh or pickled both work (I prefer pickled).
  • Bacon – Bake your own or use a bag of real bacon bits. You can also omit the bacon if you prefer.

Cheese selection

When it comes to cheese, you really can’t go wrong with sharp cheddar; it pairs so well with jalapeño. If you want a little extra spice, try adding in some jalapeño pepper jack too. I know that might not be a common cheese at some grocery stores, but I found mine at my local Kroger.

As for cubes of cheese versus shredded cheese, it’s totally up to you on which to use. I often go for shredded cheese because it is more evenly dispersed throughout my bread. Sometimes I use thick-cut, pre-shredded cheese from Tillamook or Private Selection, and sometimes I shred my own. On the other hand, chunks of cheese give you bursts of cheese throughout the loaf. Even better, you can do a mix of chunks and shredded to add variety.

Picking jalapeños

You can use either pickled jalapeños or fresh; it’s entirely up to you. I have found the pickled jalapeños to be more flavorful and spicy, which is why I prefer the jar to fresh. Plus, it’s more convenient. When using the jar of jalapeños, try to remove any excess moisture by dabbing them dry with a paper towel before adding them to the dough.

Cooking the bacon

I’ve used bacon bits before, and while they do work in a pinch, it’s just not the same as making your own. The little bit of grease left on the bacon, along with the bigger chunks, just adds so much more flavor. I like to use thick-cut bacon and bake it on a lined baking sheet in the oven at 400°F for 10-20 minutes. For additional tips on baking bacon, you can check out this post. Once the bacon is cooked, remove it from the grease and place it on a few paper towels. Dab off the excess grease and then chop it up to put in the dough.

jalapenos cheddar and bacon in dough

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Sample Baking Schedule for Jalapeño Cheddar Bacon Sourdough Bread

This schedule is based on rough estimates. The temperature of your dough, kitchen, humidity, and strength of starter will all impact the times, so while this will give you an estimate, it is best to look at the signs the dough is ready to move on. You are looking for about a 75% rise.

There is flexibility in this schedule to make it work for you. If you prefer to let the dough sit overnight, just feed your starter in the morning and mix up your dough later in the evening.

If you are looking for more precise timelines based on the temperature of your dough, The Sourdough Journey put together a great resource. It looks at different temperatures and percentages of sourdough starter to give you an estimate of how long the first rise will take. My recipe below calls for 10% sourdough starter. To determine the percentage of sourdough starter in a recipe, you would use this formula: (amount of starter / the total amount of flour) x 100 = starter percentage.

StepsTime
Feed sourdough starter 1:3:3 ratio (i.e. 10 g starter: 30 g flour: 30 g water)10 pm
Mix dough7:00 am
Stretch & folds7:30 am-8 am
Add in jalapenos, cheddar & bacon5pm
Shape~7 pm
Final proofing in fridge7pm-8am
Bake8am

How Temperature Impacts Sourdough

Temperature is very important when it comes to sourdough and fermentation. If your house is cooler than 68F, the dough will have a hard time rising. If your house is cold, I recommend using a dough mat (use code country10 for 10% off) or finding a warmer spot in your house. Placing the dough in a draft-free area like a turned off oven or microwave may help. You could also try placing near a heating vent.

If your house is above 75F, I wouldn’t recommend leaving the dough overnight, as it is more likely to overproof. You can try using cold water to help cool down the dough and stick to a shorter timeline like 8 hours as that may help it from getting too warm.

slice of jalapeno cheddar and bacon sourdough bread

How To Make Simple Sourdough Bread

FEED SOURDOUGH STARTER

The first step to making bread is to feed your sourdough starter. The temperature of your house, activity level of your starter, and how much you feed the starter will all impact how quickly your starter rises. A 1:1:1 ratio meaning 1 part starter: 1 part flour: 1 part water will rise in about 4-6 hours. Whereas a 1:5:5 ratio meaning 1 part starter: 5 part flour: 5 part water will rise in about 12 hours. Feed based on the timing you want to make bread. Once the starter doubles or exceeds its size and becomes bubbly, it is ready for use. If you can’t use the starter while it is at peak, place it in the fridge until you are ready.

MIX INGREDIENTS

Mix together the flour, water, salt, and starter together with a danish dough whisk (10% off with link), spoon, or hands until incorporated. The dough will look shaggy at this point. Cover bowl with a lid or dinner plate and let it sit for 30 minutes.

STRETCH AND FOLD

Stretching the dough helps build strength and aerates the dough. Typically, I aim for 3-4 sets in my traditional recipe but with this simplified version I aim for 2. If you do 2 sets, wait 20-30 minutes in between the sets to let the dough relax. You can also do more sets if you have time. Cover the dough in between sets.

To stretch and fold, grab one side of the dough with a damp hand and gently shimmy the dough up and then fold it on itself. Repeat this 3 more times rotating the bowl 90 degrees each time.

Add mix-ins

About 2 hours before shaping the dough, add in the cheese, jalapeños, and cooked bacon. Once all the mix-ins are added to the dough, gently incorporate them by performing a set of stretch and folds.

FIRST RISE

Let the dough sit on the counter covered, about 10-14 hours (depending on the temperature) until the dough has risen about 75%, not completely doubled. The dough should be aerated with bubbles showing on the sides and bottom of the dough and jiggle when the bowl is shook. If it does not show these signs continue to let the dough sit, preferably in a warm spot to finish bulk fermentation.

If the dough is very pillowy, sticky, and deflates when working with it, it is overproofed. At this point you can try to bake it, if it will hold some shape. Personally my favorite thing to do with overproofed dough is to make focaccia. Put it in an oiled 9×13 pan with more oil on top and add seasoning and cheese. Dimple the dough and bake at 425F for 25-30 minutes. Check out my tutorial.

jalapeno, cheddar, and bacon on dough

SHAPE DOUGH

The goal of shaping is to create a taut, outer skin on the dough. The skin creates tension, helping the dough to hold its shape when baked, which translates to a good rise and a crispy crust.

jalapenos and cheddar on top of sourdough

Shaping instructions:

  1. Dump the dough on an unfloured surface and gently spread the dough into a chubby rectangle.
  2. Gently pull the bottom of the dough up, creating tension on the surface of the dough, and bring the dough on top of itself about halfway.
  3. Fold one side of the dough up and over, bringing it two-thirds of the way onto the dough.
  4. Fold the other side of the dough on top.
  5. Starting on one side roll the dough on top of itself into a ball shape bringing the smooth side on top.
  6. Take your hands in cupping shape and rotate the dough counter-clockwise towards you to get a smooth surface on top of the dough.
  7. Add jalapenos and cheese to the top of the dough if you want.
  8. Using a bench scraper, or your hands, flip the dough upside down into a banneton basket lightly floured with rice flour or well floured with all purpose. If you do not have a banneton, line a 9-10″ bowl with a floured tea towel and use that instead.
  9. Cover the basket with something to keep the moisture in. Optional: pinch the seams together once the dough is in the basket to solidify the taut skin on the surface and tighten the ball.
  10. To make an oval shape vs round on step 5 instead of one roll into a ball, roll the dough up like a cinnamon roll. Pinch the sides to seal them and then use your hands to gently pull the dough towards yourself to smooth the surface.

SECOND PROOF

Place dough in the fridge covered for the final proof. The fridge slows down fermentation which allows your dough to sit for longer periods of time. You can bake anytime after the two hour mark or after. Ideally, within 48 hours of placing it in the fridge. Longer fermentation times will make for a more sour loaf.

jalapeno cheddar bread in a proofing basket

SCORING

Preheat the oven with the dutch oven to 450F once the dough is ready. Flip the dough onto a bread sling or parchment paper and score the dough. Hold the blade at a slight angle and quickly slice the bread about 1/2 inch deep. This can be one line or multiple depending on your preferences. For more intricate designs hold the blade at 90 degrees and make shallow cuts.

BAKING

Bake the loaf at 450F in a dutch oven. Begin with the lid on for 20 minutes followed by an extra 15-20 minutes with the lid off. The loaf should sound hollow when you tap on the bottom. That is how you know it is baked through. Once done baking, remove from the dutch oven and place onto a cooling rack to cool.

jalapeno cheddar sourdough bread next to a block of cheddar cheese and a bowl of jalapenos

Storing Sourdough Bread

Store a whole loaf, or a side that can be placed cut side down with only the crust exposed, on the counter up to 2 days with just a tea towel over it. If the inside of the loaf is exposed I store it in a bread box or in a ziplock bag.

Sourdough will not hold its crunch for extended periods of time but can be revived in the oven or toaster. To refresh a loaf, preheat the oven to 400F. Run the loaf quickly under water and then place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the crust is crispy again.

Sourdough bread also freezes really well. To freeze a loaf, either place the whole or half a loaf into a freezer safe bag or preslice the loaf and place parchment paper in between each slice before placing in a freezer bag.

To thaw, place the loaf on the counter for several hours in the ziplock bag. If you are in a time crunch I’ve used the defrost feature in the microwave to thaw my loaf. Once thawed, use the same refresh instructions as listed above. For individual slices, pulled from the freezer, pop it in the toaster.

Looking for more mix-in ideas? Check out 21 Unique Sourdough Add-Ins you Need to Try.

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jalapeno cheddar and bacon sourdough bread dough with jalapenos and cheddar in bowls
jalapeno & cheddar sourdough bread

Jalapeno Cheddar & Bacon Sourdough Bread

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Proofing Time: 20 hours
Total Time: 20 hours 50 minutes

Spice up your sourdough bread with spicy jalapeños, sharp cheddar cheese, and crispy bacon all stuffed into an artisan sourdough loaf.

Ingredients

  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) sourdough starter, doubled in size and bubbly
  • 500 grams (3 1/4 cups) bread flour
  • 350 grams (1 1/2 cups) water
  • 10 grams (1/2 Tbsp) salt
  • 170 grams (1 1/2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 oz package bacon, cooked
  • 70 grams (1/2 cup) pickled jalapenos

Instructions

  1. Mix together active starter, water, flour, and salt until a shaggy dough is formed.
  2. After 30 minutes get your hand damp and then perform a set of stretch and folds. Cover and let rest. You now have 2 options: if you will be home and have time, add in 1 or 2 more sets of stretch & folds every 30 minutes or leave the dough to sit on the counter for the remainder of the time. Adding additional stretch & folds does help the loaf to rise more in the oven but both options make delicious bread.
  3. About 2 hours prior to shaping the dough add the mix-ins to the dough and gently incorporate with a stretch and fold. Or if you prefer, you can add the mix-ins during shaping.
  4. Once the dough has risen 75%, domed on top, has bubbles on sides it is ready to shape (roughly 10-14 hours later). Dump the dough onto an unfloured surface. Turn the dough over and gently spread the dough in a chubby rectangle. Fold the dough like an envelope, starting at the bottom and pulling up to build tension and then bring on top of the dough halfway. Bring each side up and out and then place slightly over the middle of the dough. Pull the top of the dough out and up and bring it on top of the dough, rolling the dough back over. Cup your hands and begin rotating counter clockwise while sliding the dough towards you. Once you have a taut round ball, add more jalapenos and cheese on top, and place the dough upside down in a banneton basket or a floured bowl with a tea towel. Cover with something that will keep the moisture in.
  5. Place the dough in the fridge for about 8+ hours or up to 2 days.
  6. Preheat dutch oven in the oven at 450F.
  7. Flip dough onto parchment paper and score the bread with a bread lame or sharp knife.
  8. Bake bread for 25 minutes with the lid on. Take the lid off and bake for another 10-15 minutes depending on how dark of a crust you would like. The bread should sound hollow when you knock on the bottom, this is an indicator the bread is cooked through. If it is not continue baking.
  9. Let the bread cool on a cooling rack. To ensure the loaf is fully baked through wait at least 2 hours before cutting. Or if you are like me slice it warm and enjoy warm bread!

Notes

  • I like to use a mix of cheddar cheese and jalapeno pepper jack cheese for some extra spice.
  • If you can find ghost pepper salt near you replace 1 gram of salt with it. It adds a lot of heat to the dough.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273Total Fat: 13gCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 13g

Did you make this recipe?

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4 Comments

  1. You mention adding in mix ins in step 2 and step 3 again so I’m a little confused. Also when you mention adding mix ins about 2 hours prior to shaping, how do you do that? Do you do stretch and folds again? Thanks. Just made your basic sourdough recipe and the bread came out amazing. So looking to try something different next time.

    1. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I updated the recipe and it is now removed from step 2. I put the toppings on top of the dough and then do a set of stretch and folds to gently incorporate the cheese and jalapenos. I’m so glad to hear my basic recipe went well!

  2. Hi! After reading the recipe, I am also a tad confused about when to add the bacon . Do you bulk ferment on the counter after the bacon is already added? So the bacon would be safe to eat after being unrefrigerated that long? I feel like if you add it during your pre-shape , you would de -gas the dough. Could you please let me know. I don’t want anyone to get sick lol Thanks

    1. Hi we add cooked bacon all the time to the sourdough and leave it for a few hours before placing it in the fridge. The good bacteria in the sourdough starter helps to fight off any bad bacteria. However if you feel more comfortable adding it right before placing it in the fridge you can gently spread out the dough right before shaping and add the bacon then. It won’t degas the loaf just be gentle when working with the dough.

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