Jalapeño Cheddy Sticks

published Feb 16, 2021
Jalapeño Cheddy Sticks

This cheesy breadsticks are the perfect combination of salty and spicy.

Makes14 large breadsticks

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Credit: Brittany Conerly
Credit: Kitchn

Welcome to the third recipe of Weekend Baking Adventure. For each week in February, we’re publishing a new recipe early in the week. Then, that Wednesday, our guest baker will meet you on Instagram Live at 12 p.m. EST to demo the recipe. For Week 3, we’re very excited about these Jalapeño Cheddy Sticks from Bryan Ford.

I will never forget my introduction to jalapeños. I’m not talking about the pickled kind you get from the grocery store in a jar — I’m talking about freshly grown in my mother’s garden. As a kid, I didn’t really know there was a difference, and I was always used to eating the jarred ones with no issues. So, I picked one from the plant outside and took a large bite. Well, it was brutal. But once you learn how to tame jalapeños, the possibilities are endless. Combining the heat with the flavors of cheddar cheese and naturally leavened dough was one of the better things I’ve done with this fresh, fiery pepper. Make sure you use gloves and be careful when handling the seeds!

Testers’ Notes

These pillowy, cheesy breadsticks have a tiny bit of heat but are still kid-friendly, as evidenced by the fact that my young daughter gobbled them up. I used my whole-wheat sourdough starter to make them and it was a fun change from my usual rustic sourdough bread. Make sure your starter is nice and active before you make these breadsticks, and use plenty of flour when you’re shaping them since the dough can be a bit sticky. Enjoy with soup on a cold day like we did! — Christine Gallary, Food Editor-at-Large

As they bake, these breadsticks will fill your kitchen with the most incredible spicy, cheesy aroma (the smell alone pulled my husband out of his home office). They make for a hearty snack or perfect companion to a pot of chili or even scrambled eggs. Thanks to the long rests, they have great depth of flavor even if you skip the sourdough starter and use active dry yeast, as I did. The recipe is also easy to halve, if you prefer to bake a smaller batch. Follow all the same proofing and fermenting times, then just cut and shape the dough into 7 sticks. If the sticks spring back a bit as you’re shaping them, just let them rest for a few minutes and try again. — Sheela Prakash, Senior Contributing Food Editor

Jalapeño Cheddy Sticks

This cheesy breadsticks are the perfect combination of salty and spicy.

Makes 14 large breadsticks

Nutritional Info


Levain Build:

  • 100 grams

    mature sourdough starter (about 1/2 cup), or 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

  • 200 grams

    bread flour (1 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons)

  • 170 grams

    warm water (3/4 cup)

Final Dough Mix:

  • 1,000 grams

    bread flour (6 1/3 cups), plus more for shaping

  • 600 grams

    water (2 2/3 cups)

  • 200 grams

    shredded cheddar cheese (7 ounces, 2 1/2 cups shredded)

  • 75 grams

    granulated sugar (1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons)

  • 250 grams

    levain (about 1 cup)

  • 20 grams

    salt (2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher)

  • 1

    medium fresh jalapeño, de-seeded and diced

  • 100 grams

    olive oil (1/2 cup)

For greasing and topping:

  • 5 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 200 grams

    shredded cheddar cheese (7 ounces, 2 1/2 cups shredded)

  • 2

    fresh jalapeños, sliced into thin circles, with seeds


To build the levain:

  1. In a tall jar or medium bowl, mix the mature starter or yeast, flour, and water until incorporated. Cover with a lid or clean kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for until doubled in size, 3 to 4 hours with starter or 1 1/2 to 2 hours with yeast. You can use your levain immediately, or refrigerate it for 12 hours to use later, or the next day.

Combine all ingredients from the Final Dough Mix:

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a large bowl (use the biggest one you have!). Using your hands, squeeze everything together, and then slowly add the olive oil as you squeeze and mix. Then turn the dough out onto a work surface. Knead the dough using the palm of your hand to push it forward, and then your fingers to pull it back toward your hand. Repeat this process until you have a mostly smooth surface. Don’t be afraid to rip this dough while you knead with your palm and then bring it back together again.

  2. Transfer to a clean, large bowl. Cover with a clean, damp towel or cloth and let ferment at room temperature for 4 hours for starter, 2 hours with yeast. Transfer to the fridge for an additional 15 hours of fermentation.

To shape and proof the dough:

  1. Turn out your dough onto a clean work surface and divide into 2 pieces. Shape each piece with a tension roll: Flour a work surface if you feel that the dough is too sticky or too difficult to shape. There is no amount of flour that can be too little or too much -- do what works for the work surface and your ability to deal with the dough.

  2. Pat down the dough into a narrow square or rectangle. Use your pinky fingers to pull the dough into itself and then push outward to create tension.

  3. Dust two cutting boards with flour. Place a rolled dough, seam side down, on each board. Using your hands, spread 1 tablespoon olive oil on the top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let proof in a warm environment until jiggly and soft to the touch, about 6 hours if using starter, about 5 hours if using yeast.

To bake the bread:

  1. Use your dough scraper or a chef’s knife to cut each shaped dough log width wise into 7 equal pieces (14 pieces total).

  2. Grease two sheet pans lined with parchment paper with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Gently stretch each dough strip to about 12 inches long and place 7 pieces horizontally (parallel to the short side) on each sheet pan, spacing them evenly apart. Let the dough rest until puffy, 30 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange two racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat your oven to 450°F.

  3. Divide the jalapeño circles among the strips and gently press them in. Cover the whole tray with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking from front to back and between racks, until golden brown, 15 to 25 minutes total.

Recipe Notes

Adapted with permission from the bonus content for New World Sourdough: Artisan Techniques for Creative Homemade Fermented Breads; With Recipes for Birote, Bagels, Pan de Coco, Beignets, and More by Bryan Ford, 2020. Published by Quarry Books.