This Italian Herbed Jalapeño & Cream Cheese Pull Apart is over the top delicious in every level. It was filled with 3 types of cheese plus bits and pieces of fresh Jalapeno peppers and assortment of herbs and spices that made it so flavorful and tasty.
I’ve done quite a lot of pull apart bread, and I never got tired of making them because they never fail to make me happy every time they came out of the oven. There’s something about pull apart bread that’s feels more satisfying than any other plain bread. And I guess I know the answer, the cheese! The almost unlimited melting creamy cheese that ooze out of the bread as soon as I tore it apart just few minutes after taking it from the oven. normally I can wait until the bread cools down, but with pull apart bread I just cannot get my hands off them. I want to savor the softness and melting cheese while it is still hot, I like seeing the steam came out of the bread when I tore it apart. It made me feel so accomplished and of course happy. It justifies the effort of making it at home instead of just buying one from the grocery. But this bread, I would say it’s even better than store-bought (pat on the back :))
There are several ways to arrange pull apart. You can make it in a loaf pan like my Jalapeno Cheese Pull-Apart Bread or you can make it in square pan like my Cinnamon roll. or even in a skillet or baking sheet like this recipe. Whichever way you prefer, you’ll end up with the same delicious looking and tasting bread.
What Makes This Bread Special?
3 types of cheese: Mozzarella, Cheddar and Cream Cheese (how could you go wrong with that) plus Italian seasoning, garlic powder and onion flakes and of course the bits and piece of fresh diced Jalapeño peppers. I added 1/2 cup of jalapeño peppers and for me it was just right. But if you cannot tolerate any kind of heat, simply decrease the amount but do not totally remove it as it gave additional flavor to the bread. The flavors of all those spices and cheese when combined together is seriously crazy delicious. It’s so good I couldn’t resist eating it while taking photograph of it. Bite shot 🙂
This recipe makes 12 pieces, if you want a smaller batch of 6, I also left a small batch measurement. But seriously, if your making it for family and friends, make it big batch. You’ll be surprised how fast it will disappear as soon as you put it down on the table, specially if it’s fresh out from the oven. Melting cheese, soft fluffy warm rolls equals happiness. This is a great everyday bread, but if even better for Thanksgiving. Share the love, share this delicious bread to your family and friends
This bread uses my [VIDEO] All Around Bread Dough: Nutella Star Bread (Plus Bonus Twist Bread). I’ve used that recipe in so many sweet and savory bread, an all the time it never failed me. It’s all what I need.ed, 1 bread dough recipe, unlimited variations.
Active Yeast vs. Instant Yeast
Because yeast plays a very important role is making this soft and fluffy bread, let’s take few minutes to understand it. What it is, what are the common types of yeast, the difference among the yeast, and what role the yeast do in bread. I normally encounter 2 types of yeast in most recipes, and in the grocery so I decided to focus on this two types of yeast, although there is a 3rd type “Fresh Yeast” but I never used it.
Types of Yeast
- Active Dry Yeast – This and the Instant Yeast are what I used in most of my bread. In terms of appearance and texture, this kind of yeast are coarser and have bigger granules. It requires to be dissolved in warm water with sugar to activate it. It normally takes 5-10 minutes to do this, and you will now that it’s been “awaken” when bubbles starts to form in the surface of the water, and you would be able to smell it too. This last longer in terms of shelf life and should be kept in a cool dry place. I kept mine in the refrigerator.
- Fast Acting or Instant Yeast – In terms of appearance, this kind of yeast have a finer granules as compared to active dry yeast. This does not require to be dissolved in warm water and sugar. This can be mixed directly with the dry ingredients such as flour, just make sure to keep it away from salt when you mix it as salt can kill the yeast when they touch directly with each other. I normally mix the flour, salt and leavener then I add the instant yeast last. This should als be kept in cool and dry place. You basically save 10 minutes of time when you use instant active yeast as you skip the activation process.
You can interchange active yeast and instant yeast in the recipe, I sometimes do this when I have the other and the recipe calls for the other. You just have to be mindful of the measurement. For dry active yeast you generally need to use half the quantity of fresh yeast stated in the recipe and for instant yeast you need to use 1/4 of the quantity of fresh yeast. The fresh yeast has higher measurement, followed by active yeast, then instant yeast. Let’s say the recipe calls for 30g (1 ounce) of fresh yeast, you can substitute it with 15g (.5 ounce) active dry yeast, or 7g(.25 ounce) instant yeast. Just don’t forget the when you substitute instant yeast with dry active yeast, you have to dissolve it first in warm water to activated it. Do not just mix it along with other dry ingredients unless specified in the recipe.
Tips for a Successful Soft Homemade Bread
- Liquid Temperature – Yeast grows in temperature between 105 – 110F, so its important to have the water that you are using to “proof” it in this range. If you go lower or higher, the yeast might not proof properly. That means the bread will not rise as much, resulting to a flat and tough bread.
- Check Yeast Expiry a Date – you might be wondering how come the bread did not rise when you followed exactly the recipe. Well, first thing first, make sure the yeast is not yet expired. Expired yeast is the common reason for flat and dense bread. If your bread did not expand or rise during the rest period, it is most likely that the yeast is not fresh or the water temperature is too hot or cold.
- Amount of Yeast – Just because you want a tall bread doesn’t mean you have to put as much yeast in the mixture. Sometimes adding too much yeast can cause the bread to collapse during the rest period. Just imagine putting more air than what is needed in a balloon, the balloon will explode. The same case with bread.
- Right Type of Yeast – We’ve discussed the 3 types of yeast above. Make sure to use the right one for your recipe, and make necessary adjustments if you want to swap one from another.
- Rest Period – Yeast bread needs time to rise. There are bread that uses less yeast but requires more rest time, the likes of No Knead Bread or Artisan Bread which usually require 8- 16 hours rest period to get the volume and to develop the flavor. There are 1 hour bread like my Rosemary Dinner Rolls which used this same bread dough. The point is, give it time to rest, don’t touch it just leave it in a warm place. The first rest period will normally tell you if your dough is good or not. If it rise and almost double in size, then your on the right track.
- Expiration and Quality of the Flour – The quality of the flour greatly affect the texture of the bread. All-purpose flour could differ from country to country although they are all called as all-purpose flour. Sometimes it depends on the brand too. The closer the flour to expiration date or if it is already expired, the flour could tend to be drier, which means it would require more liquid than mentioned in the recipe. This is a common issue of way sometimes the dough tend to be tough and dry. This is why sometimes you have to add few more tablespoon from the suggested flour measurement to get the right texture. The dough should be soft, smooth and elastic. If it is too wet, add a bit more flour until it is no longer to sticky to handle. If it is too dry, a small amount of liquid helps provide moisture to the dough. A clean side of the bowl, with the dough slightly sticking at the bottom, a soft, smooth and elastic dough is what You are aiming for.
- Be Patient, Knead no less than 15 minutes – Flour takes times to absorb the liquid so you have to be patient and knead the dough no less than 15 minutes. In my kitchenAid stand mixer, it normally takes between 15 – 20 minutes to get the dough to the perfect texture. If you shorten the time, the dough could still be wet and sticky. After 20 minutes, if the dough is still sticky, this is the time to add a little bit more flour. Do not add additional flour or liquid too soon. You could end up with a tough dough or a too sticky dough. Patience my friend, it is worth it.
These are the 7 common points that I remind myself when making homemade bread. Bear this in mind and you’ll sure to have a nice soft homemade bread.
4 Methods To Make This Dough
- Stand Mixer – this is what I always use when I make this dough. It’s the fastest and easiest method and less manual handling. This is the step outlined below in the instruction.
- Hand Mixer – it’s doable but I never used it because I don’t have a dough attachment. Important point to remember, use DOUGH attachment, a regular hook attachment will not work as it will be jammed with dough. Also, it’s going to be too heavy for the hook attachment to mix the dough.
- Manually – if you don’t have any electronic baking equipment for making the dough, you can do it manually. Simply follow the same instructions, do the mixing in a large bowl and transfer in counter top and knead manually for about 2-3 minutes. It will take a lot of arm exercise, but I’m telling you, it’s worth it.
- Bread Machine – if you happen to have one, use the dough setting. Add all the wet ingredients first, followed by all dry ingredients. Remove the dough after the 3rd rise and shape and fill then bake in the oven.
There are 4 ways that you can choose from in how you make this bread. Choose whichever works for you.
How do I Know if I Made the Bread Dough Correctly?
This is not written on the stone, but so far this is how I check if I am on the right track when it comes to the dough.
- Activating the Yeast – This is the first thing that you should get right, otherwise do NOT proceed. After 5 – 10 minutes you should see a foam forms on top of the water, this is an indication that the yeast is alive. If you do not get this, either the yeast is old or the liquid temperature is too hot or cold. The temperature should be 100F, lukewarm but not hot.
- Clean Bowl After Kneading – The sides of the bowl should be clean, while the bottom is slightly sticking to the dough. This means that amount of liquid to the flour is correct. Enough to make a clean bowl and still make a slightly wet dough.
- Soft Dough – Soft dough means the amount of flour to liquid is enough. Too much flour could make the bread dense and heavy, and too much liquid could make it too wet. Both will affect how the bread rise in the rest period. Try to push your fingers in the dough, it should leave a “dimple” on the dough and should gradually disappear.
- Smooth Dough Surface – Again, this is a sign of correct flour to liquid ratio. A “bumpy” surface could mean that the dough is dry and tough.
- Elastic Dough – A soft dough is usually elastic. If your dough is dry and tough, it wouldn’t be as elastic when you pull it apart.
- First Rest Period – The dough should almost double in size. This is a sign that the activation of the yeast work which is crucial to making a soft and fluffy bread. This also means the yeast is alive (not yet expired) and the liquid temperature is correct. I always use baking thermometer to check the temperature of the liquid.
- Second Rest Period – The bread dough should be really puff up and should fill in the gaps between each bread. This is crucial and the final state of the bread before baking. If you are able to make it puff-up, that is a good sign that there are air trapped inside which will make the bread fluffy.
Ok, now let’s go and put all these pointers to work. Let’s make your first (or maybe not) homemade bread dough. At the end of the recipe, I’ll add links to recipes where I used this dough, or recipes where you could substitute this dough. Let’s get started!
Big Batch Ingredients (12 pieces):
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
- 1/3 cup Water (110F)
- 3 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon granulated Sugar, divided (1/2 tsp for yeast, remaining for flour mixture)
- 1/2 cup Milk (80F)
- 1 large Egg – room temperature
- 2 tablespoon flavorless Oil
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour + 1/4 cup on the side ONLY as needed
- 1 tablespoon beaten Egg + 1 teaspoon Milk (or water) – for brushing rolls
Small Batch Ingredients (6-9 pieces):
- 1 1/8 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
- 1/4 cup warm Water (110F)
- 2 tablespoon granulated Sugar, divided (1/2 tsp for yeast, remaining for flour mixture)
- 1/4 cup Milk, warmed to about 80F
- 1 large Egg – room temperature
- 2 tablespoon flavorless Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour + 1/4 cup on the side ONLY as needed
- 1 tablespoon beaten Egg + 1 teaspoon Milk (or water) – for brushing rolls
Big Batch Filling:
- 3 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 3 teaspoon Onion Flakes
- 2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Paprika Powder or Cayenne Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup diced Jalapeño Peppers (about 4 medium size)
- 1 1/2 cup mix shredded Cheddar and Mozzarella Cheese
- 1/4 cup Cream Cheese (in a box) – cut into small pieces
- For small batch filling, simply cut down the filling recipe by half. The amount of filling is not critical here, you can fill it more or less according to your preference.
- The measurements in the instructions below is for the big batch, adjust accordingly if making a small batch
- For less spicy rolls, reduce the jalapeno peppers to 1/4 cup
- Activate Yeast: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer (Refer to discussion above for other Methods of making this) whisk together yeast with water and 1/2 tsp of the granulated sugar. Let rest for 10 minutes until mixture is foamy.
- Add Wet Ingredients: Set mixer with paddle attachment and add milk, oil, and egg on low-speed.
- Add Dry Ingredients: Add remaining sugar (1 1/2 tbsp), salt and 1 1/2 cups of flour and mix on low-speed until combined, then switch to a hook attachment. Set mixer on low-speed and slowly add in remaining 1 cup flour. Allow mixture to knead on medium-low speed until smooth and elastic, about 15 – 20 minutes. Flour needs time to absorb the liquid, if you immediately add more flour, you could end up with a tough bread dough. If needed , start adding more flour after 20 minutes, add 1 tbsp of flour at a time (but not more than 1/4 cup) until the dough starts to form, dough should be slightly sticky but soft and not too dry. If too much flour is added rolls will be dense and heavy. A good measure of correct texture is a clean mixing bowl, while the dough is slightly sticking to the bottom of the pan. Most of the time, 2 1/2 cup is more than enough to get the right consistency. You just have to be patient and knead longer to allow the flour to absorb the liquid.
- Manual Kneading : Dust the counter with flour and knead the dough at least 10 minutes minimum, it you could do 15 minutes that would be better but it will take quite an effort to do that. I’ve done it manually as shown in the video and it worked fine, but a lot of extra muscle work needed.
- First Rest Period: Generously sprinkle flour on the counter and on your hands and roll the dough and form into a ball. Transfer into a greased bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or warm towel and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes- 1 hour in a warm place. Prepare the filling while you wait for the bread to rise.
- TIP : To help the dough rise better, pre-heat the oven to 110F then turn the oven OFF. Cover and let the dough rest inside the oven. Some oven has a proofing setting, mine doesn’t, so this is my trick.
- Make the Filling: Mix Italian seasoning, onion flakes, garlic powder, paprika and salt. Dice Jalapeno pepper and cut cream cheese into small pieces. Set aside.
- Roll out, Fill and Cut: Take the dough out from the bowl and punch the dough to release the air. Generously sprinkle flour on the counter and on your hands and knead manually about 1 minute just enough to knockout the air. Roll out the dough into about 12 x 20-inch size. Sprinkle on top the shredded cheese, jalapeno peppers, cream cheese and spices and herbs mixture. Roll out the dough into a log shape of 12-inch size, start from the short side (12-inch side) then roll to the end. Cut into 12 pieces (about 1-inch each). Arrange in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can also bake it in a large baking dish.
- 2nd Rest Period: Cover and let rest in a warm place for the second time for 1 hour. After 1 hour, the bread will be puff-up like in the photo.
- Preheat Oven during last 20 minutes (or however long it takes to pre-heat your oven) of dough rising, start pre-heating the oven at 350F.
- Prepare Egg Wash: Mix egg and water or milk. Brush top of bread with egg wash.
10 Bake at 350F for 25 – 27 minutes or until top turns brown and gorgeous like this 🙂
Enjoy and serve warm to better enjoy the bread. Re-heat left over in a microwave for 30 -45 second or at 300F for 15 minutes.
Makes 12 pieces
You can also make this cinnamon roll style. Simply arrange each piece on a cookie sheet and allow about 2-inches space in between so it bakes individually. This option produces a wider piece of bread as the bread is not restricted in space when it expands. I like using this style if I am bringing it for a group gathering as it is much easier for everyone to get a piece.
Featured Post: Moutable
Today I am featuring my Moutable, or Mediterranean Egg Plant Dip. I’ve made this years ago and I thought It’s time to update it with some new photo and additional information and tips. This dip is easy to make, skip the mayonnaise and make this one instead. This was made from roasted eggplant, tahini paste, olive oil and some herbs and spices. Simple and yet delicious, and kind of “healthy-ish”. Give it a try.
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