Classic Homestyle Georgian Cheese Bread
Khachapuri – Georgian cheese bread – is the country’s delicious national dish and comes in different regional varieties. Imeruli – from the Imereti region – is by far the most popular within Georgia and can be found on virtually every street corner, restaurant and home in the country. While you will sometimes find it made in an oven, or with the addition of yogurt to the dough, our version is a simple stove-top preparation learned from our host family in southern Georgia. This recipe makes five 8-inch round breads.
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour
- ½ tablespoon kosher salt
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon active yeast*
- 1½ cups water
- 20 ounces shredded sulguni cheese**
- 16 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 2 eggs
Topping (for each bread)
- Butter to taste
*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:
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar and yeast).
- Slowly add the water, mixing continuously until the dry ingredients are mostly incorporated. If some shaggy dough pieces remain, don’t worry.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead dough into a smooth, round ball, trying to fold in any extra shaggy dough pieces.
- Tightly cover your dough with plastic wrap or place it in a ziploc bag to rest for 20 minutes. 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:
- In a small bowl, whisk the two eggs.
- In a large bowl, mix together the sulguni and feta cheeses.
- 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:
- Tear off ⅕ of the dough (around 6 ounces) and gently knead into a ball. Roll the dough in flour.
- On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into roughly a 12-inch circle.
- Place ⅕ of the cheese mixture (about 6 ½ ounces) in the center of the dough.
- Fold the edges of the dough in a pleated fashion, as if making a large dumpling. Seal off the top and tear off the extra “nub” of dough.
- Flour both sides of the cheese-filled dough. Carefully use a rolling pin to roll the dough to an 8 inch round. Pop any air bubbles with a fork as you roll.
- Pre-heat a pan to medium heat and cook for three minutes on the first side. When the bread feels warm to the touch, flip the bread and cook for three minutes on the other side, until both sides are medium brown.
- Remove the khachapuri from the pan, butter one side, slice and enjoy!