Beautiful Breads – Spicy White Pepper Jack Bread


The last four months have somewhat  erased any "regular routine" I thought I had.  After a few weeks restabilizing after India I took a 3-week trip to Boston to tend to family concerns. Now I’m back and although I started this post a few days ago I stopped when I heard the devasting news from Mumbai.  The new friends I made in Mumbai during my stay just a few weeks past are all  safe.  Needless to say it’s left me a little tweaked and unsettled given that I sat in the lobby of the Taj–a maginficient old lady–just people watching and think how special Mumbai and its people really are. 

Image: Artist Unknown


A few days ago anticipating leftovers I decided to try my hand once again with making filled breads.  I have had pretty good success over the years perfecting technique while making chocolate babka.  This is only made at the holidays elevating it’s unique and special status to those that receive the tasty holiday gift.  Bread making, as much as everyone looks for a quick homemade route is time intensive.

However, my first attempt, about six months ago, with Cinnamon-Raisin Bread  from Margaux Sky’s Beautiful Breads & Fabulous Fillings left my little cottage smoky and me fuming  angry to the point of tossing the whole lot–bread and pan out the door and into the bin followed by some cruse words.  You see, these breads are not for the meek.  I’ve been making bread for years. I go through cycles were I am experimenting with egg breads, sourdough starters and no-knead breads.  They are a serious but rewarding endeavor.  This particular cookbook has such strong components:  a creamy Viognier and pineapple sauce; coffee liqueur mushroom sauce and a quick honey-mustard-curry sauce.  Unfortunately it is just a tad weak on technique and the recipes are written loosely so this is not for anyone on their maiden voyage.  With these filled breads you need to prepare the fillings in advance of the bread.  The rising and kneading are relatively quick requiring two rises. 

Long before Oprah’s name became synonymous with Ms. Sky’s Curried Chicken Sandwich she ran a  popular San Luis Obispo sandwich shop. and that sandwich is now called the "O Special." The chicken-based filling is sandwiched between Spicy White Pepper-Jack Bread. This, I thought, would be an excellent compliment to a post-Thanksgiving turkey salad. 

The entire effort probably took about 4 hours. The curry sauce is really just a honey-mustard  with a ration of 2:1.  Next time I would decrease the amount of honey as it was a tad too sweet for me.  Also I might do a blend of Monterey jack and its zippy cousin–pepper Jack. I also used a yellow curry powder which I felt guilty about doing as my masala dabba sat there begging to be used from my travels to India.  Old habits die hard.   Also, what I can’t figure out is Ms. Sky’s portions there’s no way the amount of curry sauce and jack cheese could be accommodated in this bread so I just did what I could.

The taste is good, especially when toasted and with the turkey salad and cranberry-quince chutney piled on top.    Also you would think Ms. Skye is a stock holder in Lawry’s Lemon Pepper–it’s used everywhere.  I forgot how tasty this blend actually is so it’s back in the cupboard.

Next on the horizon is Peanut-Butter Fudge Bread.  The basic white bread is made and tucked in the fridge.  This weekend we’ll see what lessons bloom from that effort.

Spicy White Pepper-Jack Bread

Makes 1 loaf – Adapted recipe from Beautiful Breads by Margaux Sky

Basic White Bread Dough (1/4 portion-see below)

2 tblspns olive oil

1 1/2 cups curry sauce (see below)

1 1/2 tblspns cayenne, 1 tblspn Lawry’s lemon pepper, 1/4 tspn salt – Mix together

2 cups shreded Montery Jack cheese

1 egg

2 tablespons water


Prepare the Basic White Dough.

Generously butter a 9-inch loaf pan.

Roll out  1/4 of the risen basic white dough into a 9" x 11" rectangle so that the long side is near you.

Spread the olive oil over the dough followed by the curry sauce.  Sprinkle the cayene-lemon pepper-salt blend over the curry sauce.  Sprinkle the cheese over the spcies.

Tightly roll the dough into a loaf, with the rolling action going away from your body. To hold in most of the filling, fold the outer edges of the dough in as you roll. When finished, pinch the seam together firmly.

Place the dough into the prepared loaf pan seam side down . Loosely cover with plastic wrap, place the pan in a warm, dry place and allow the dough to rise for 60 minutes.

Preheat over to 400 degrees. After rise bake for about 1 hour.  During the last 10 minutes of baking time sprinkle wome of the filing over the top of the loaf for color and taste.  Cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

Basic White Dough
Ingredients: Makes 4 loaves  (but I cut the portions below in half and had success)

·       2 tablespoons yeast

·       4 cups warm milk

·       4 cups half-and-half (I used whole milk instead)

·       1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

·       1/2 cup powdered sugar

·       16 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

·       3 1/2 tablespoons salt

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the milk and half-and-half. Let stand for 5 minutes, until the yeast is foamy. Add the butter and mix with a whisk. Add the powdered sugar and mix well to break up any clumps.

In a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl), combine the flour and salt. Slowly add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and knead well. If you’re using a stand mixer, knead for 3 to 4 minutes. If you’re kneading by hand, knead for 4 to 7 minutes. Keep the dough moist for a soft, tender bread.

Place the kneaded dough in a generously buttered bowl, cover with a towel or loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, dry place for 1 hour.


Punch down the dough with your fist, and divide into 4 portions, one for each loaf.

Curry Sauce

1 1/2 cups honey

3/4 cup spicy mustard

1 tblspn Lawry’s lemon pepper

1 tblspn curry powder

1/4 tspn salt

In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix well.   Makes 2 cups–you only need 1 1/2 cups for the bread–there’s extra if you want to warm it up and blend with your chicken or turkey.