Jalapeno Cheese Focaccia and the Blues

I have a serious obsession with Jalapeno Cheddar Focaccia Bread. It’s no secret that I’m a carb lover, but I think this bread beats out any other in my mind for tastiest bready treat ever. No joke. I crave this bread almost as much as I crave fried pickles. Which is saying a lot.

The problem, however, is that I can only find it at the grocery store. And it costs $4 for a small little round that I can usually down on my drive back home if I’m hungry enough. And the worst part – they only actually have the bread in stock about 25% of the time I go. So I’ve been on a mission to find/come up with my own recipe for it so I can satisfy my craving any time at home for a lot less money. And I’ve come close! This isn’t perfected yet, but it’s getting there.

The original directions for this recipe were really bizarre and unlike any other bread recipe I’ve ever seen. So I decided to take a chance and put it together in a way that made more sense to me. Starting with the usual first step – dissolve 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast in 1 cup of warm water. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and let rest about ten minutes until frothy.

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add wet ingredients and mix until combined. Add one egg. At the last minute I decided to add 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary. Slowly mix in 2 1/2 more cups of flour until dough forms a ball. Knead or mix in mixer for five minutes. Place in a greased, covered bowl for one hour.

I wanted my focaccia to look just like the grocery store kind so after the dough rose I split it in two and pressed each ball into a greased cake pan. I then let it sit for 10 minutes while the oven preheated to 400 degrees. Next, use a knife to poke holes all over the dough. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over each round. Top with jarred jalapeno peppers, sliced cheese (I used colby jack since I had it on hand, but cheddar would probably be better), and additional rosemary if you want. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with how this turned out. I really didn’t expect it to work since I never have luck with any kind of focaccia. In comparison, the grocery store variety is still better. The texture is a little softer and it tastes a little more oily. But I’m definitely not going to give up on making it at home. Next time I think I’ll be more vigorous in my knife poking and probably add more than 2 tablespoons of olive oil per loaf. I’ll also add more spices to the dough. And definitely use cheddar cheese. And finally, bake it more like 20 minutes instead of 25. My loaf was a mite too crunchy. Good stuff, though!

This has nothing to do with focaccia bread, but I got two cute Embrace the Camera pictures with Shepard yesterday.

He loves getting his picture taken right now, but he always whips around to try and see the back of my camera before I even had a chance to take the photo!

Greg got a harmonica for his birthday, so the boys have been fighting over this toy harmonica we have to be just like him. Shepard is surprisingly good at it for a 15 month old!

Here he is just sitting by himself playing away!

Jalapeno Cheddar Focaccia Bread

1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tbs yeast
2 tbs olive oil

3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp rosemary
1 egg

4 tbs olive oil
1/3 cup jarred jalapeno peppers
1 tsp rosemary
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix water, yeast, and olive oil. Let sit for 10 minutes. Mix 1 cup of flour with the rest of dry ingredients. Add egg. Slowly add in the rest of the flour until combined. Knead for 5 minutes. Put in a covered bowl for one hour. Split into two greased cake pans. Let sit while oven preheats to 400 degrees. Poke holes in dough with knife. Drizzle olive oil over dough. Top with jalapenos, cheese, and rosemary. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

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