My inspiration for this cheddar and jalapeño soda bread was an episode of The Great British Bakeoff. During the Bread Week episode from series 11, contestants baked soda breads that were loaded with fillings. My favorites were the stout and chocolate loaf Mark made and the smoked salmon with chive soda bread by Hermine.
I chose jalapeño and cheddar because there's nothing better in bread than spicy jalapeños with tangy cheddar - I use Extra Sharp Cheddar by Cabot.
Tips For Successful Soda Bread
In this recipe, you must have a properly preheated oven. Baking is about chemical reactions, and having the oven at the correct temperature will make sure those reactions happen when they're supposed to. Preheat the oven for about 25 minutes before you begin to bake. In my experience, ovens take a bit longer to heat than the preheat alarm indicates. I use an oven thermometer to make sure my oven is at the right temperature.
The key to good soda bread is speed. A chemical reaction happens once the liquids mix with the dry ingredients. In this recipe, I mix the filling into the dry ingredients before adding the buttermilk and egg. This works way better than trying to fold the filling into a wet dough speedily. After mixing the filling in, quickly add the whisked buttermilk and egg, give it a good stir to combine, and gently shape the loaf and get it into the oven.
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup (225 grams) buttermilk
- 3 cups (400 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) Diamond Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- ⅓ cup (56 grams) pickled jalapeños, roughly chopped
- 4 ounces Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar, shredded
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
Whisk together the egg and buttermilk - set aside.
Mix the following ingredients in a large bowl:
- Dark brown sugar
- Baking soda
- Kosher salt
Add the butter and use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour mixture. Stir the jalapeños and cheddar.
Using a large wooden spoon, quickly but gently stir in the mixed egg and buttermilk. Once everything is combined, place the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and shape your loaf. Once shaped, take a sturdy knife and cut a deep plus sign on the top of your loaf. Cutting a little bit more than halfway through will give you a better rise and make the loaf bake more evenly. Bake the loaf for 55 minutes.
The soda bread is finished when it's a dark golden brown all over. If the loaf browns too quickly, lightly place a piece of tin foil over the bread. Set the soda bread to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm with butter and coarse sea salt.