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Jalapeño-Cheese Braids

Yield 2 loaves
Team with Turkey and Navy Bean Chili or Ham and Lentil Stew.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups bread flour, divided
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup sliced pickled jalapeño peppers, drained and divided
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) sharp Cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

How to Make It

  1. Combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

  2. Combine water, milk, and 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan; heat until butter melts. Remove from heat, and cool to 120° to 130°. Gradually add hot liquids to flour mixture, beating at medium speed with an electric mixer. Beat 2 minutes. Add egg; beat 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup shredded cheese and 3/4 cup peppers. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

  3. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface; add cubed cheese, and knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl.

  4. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down; divide in half. Shape each portion into 3 ropes; place ropes on a lightly greased large baking sheet. (You can bake loaves on 1 large baking sheet or on 2 smaller pans, if necessary.) Braid ropes, pinching ends under. Place remaining 1/4 cup peppers between ropes. Cover and let rise in a warm place 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Brush loaves gently with melted butter. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup shredded cheese.

  5. Bake at 375° for 20 to 22 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan immediately. Cool on wire racks.

Christmas with Southern Living 2001