Submitted by Michele Kusma
This recipe is a twist on traditional pletzel bread. Pepper jack cheese is added to the dough for a nice smooth texture and a little kick of flavor. It is topped with onions and jalapeño peppers instead of poppy seeds.
Heat oven to 400°F. Spray a 10”x15” baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, stir together the yeast, warm water, and sugar. Allow it to sit at room temperature until it begins to foam, about 5 minutes.
Place the yeast mixture, flour, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 2 tablespoons oil into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Knead on low speed until the dough begins to form a ball, about 1 minute. Add the grated pepper jack cheese, and then knead on medium-low speed for 5-8 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Add in additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if dough seems too wet. Add in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if dough seems too dry. It should be soft and sticky but not sticking to your hands.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a bowl sprayed with cooking spray. Turn the dough so it is completely coated in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free area for 60 minutes or until nearly doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon salt to a large skillet and cook the onions over medium-low heat until soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
Once the dough has risen, place it on the prepared baking pan. Stretch and press the dough to fit the pan, leaving a 1″ border. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Place in a warm, draft-free area for 30 minutes or until puffy.
Brush dough with the egg wash, then cover the dough evenly with the onions. Evenly distribute the jalapeno rings and then gently press them into the top of the bread.
Bake at 400°F until deep golden brown or until the internal temperature of the bread is around 200°F, about 25-30 minutes. Cool slightly on a baking rack and serve warm.