acharuli khachapuri

Baked Cheese Bread with Egg & Butter

Acharuli Khachapuri
აჭარული ხაჭაპური

(ATCH-a-ru-li HATCH-a-poor-i)

Khachapuri – Georgian cheese bread – is the country’s delicious national dish and comes in different regional varieties.  Due to its unique boat shape, this baked version is the most popular Georgian food in the world and has been featured in Saveur magazine, the Washington Post and the LA Times.  Tear off edges of the bread boat to mix together the butter, egg and cheese, turning the center into a delicious cheese fondue.  This recipe makes 5 khachapuris; scale up or down as you wish.


INGREDIENTS

Dough

  • 20 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast*
  • ⅓ cup sunflower oil or olive oil
  • 3 cups water

Cheese Filling

  • 24 ounces shredded sulguni cheese**
  • 16 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 eggs

Topping (for each bread)

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon butter

*If instant yeast isn’t available, substitute active dry yeast, but heat the water to lukewarm and stir in the yeast with the water.  Let it sit for 5 minutes until frothy.  

**If sulguni cheese isn’t available, substitute mozzarella cheese.

Start by making the dough:

  1. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar and yeast).  
  2. Slowly add the water, mixing continuously until the dry ingredients are incorporated.  The dough should feel tacky and soft.  If it is sloshy and wet, sprinkle in more flour until the dough reaches this pliable, soft consistency.  
  3.  On a lightly floured surface, knead dough into a smooth, round ball.
  4. Place your dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap, leaving it to rest in a warm place (like on a heating pad or next to a stove) for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.  If you’d like to make the dough ahead of time, it can rest in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Meanwhile, make the cheese filling:

  1.  In a small bowl, whisk the two eggs.
  2.  In a large bowl, mix together the mozzarella and feta cheeses.
  3. Pour the eggs over the cheese mixture, mixing by hand or with a large spoon so all ingredients are combined.  This mixture can also be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Finally, make the khachapuri:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Tear off ⅕ of the dough (around 7 ounces) and gently knead into a ball. Roll the dough in flour.  
  3. On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large 9×5-inch rectangle.
  4. Tightly fold the long edges of the rectangle inward towards the center, then pinch the short edges together to form a boat.  Place the boat on parchment paper on a sheet pan or pizza stone.
  5. Place ⅕ of the cheese mixture (about 8 ounces) in the center of the boat, using your hands to adjust the shape of the boat as necessary.  
  6. Bake the khachapuri for 12 minutes.  While it cooks, crack the egg and separate the whites from the yolk, keeping the yolk for your bread.
  7. Remove the khachapuri and carefully place the yolk in the cheese.  Bake for three more minutes.
  8. Remove the khachapuri, place the butter in the boat and enjoy!