Considered to be one of Georgia’s national dishes, khachapuri is a shaped bread filled with cheese and served in cafes and at every supra (feast) across the country. There are many different regional variations, but our decadent favourite, adjaruli khachapuri (egg and cheese bread), is gondola-shaped and topped with cheese, a soft egg and, traditionally, a slice of butter just before serving. Sulguni, a soft, pickled Georgian cheese, is traditionally used, but mozzarella makes a good substitute.
- 450 g (3 cups) bread flour (see Note), sifted, plus extra, to dust
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 2 tsp (7 g sachet) dried yeast
- 250 ml (1 cup) milk, warmed
- 3 eggs (1 lightly beaten), plus 1 extra lightly beaten yolk
- 1 tbsp grape seed oil
- butter, to serve (optional)
- 200 g (2 cups) coarsely grated mozzarella
- 180 g (¾ cup) firm ricotta, crumbled
- 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
- 1 egg
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Proving time 45 minutes
Drink 2009 Pheasant's Tears Rkatsiteli Amber Wine, Caucasus Mountains, Georgia ($60)
This recipe makes 2 loaves.
To make dough, combine flour, sugar, yeast and ½ tsp salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Combine milk, the lightly beaten egg and oil in a bowl and add to flour mixture. Using your hands, mix until well combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or until dough doubles in size.
Meanwhile, to make filling, combine all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 250°C and line 2 large oven trays with baking paper. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth. Divide dough in half, and roll out into 2 x 18 cm x 32 cm oval shapes. Transfer to lined oven trays. Rest for 15 minutes.
Scatter half the filling over one piece of dough, leaving a 5cm border. Fold up edges and pinch firmly at either end to form a boat shape, leaving centre with filling exposed. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Reduce oven to 180°C. Bake breads for 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and brush with extra egg yolk. Break remaining 2 eggs onto centre of each bread and bake for a further 7 minutes or until bread is golden and egg is cooked. Serve immediately with butter, if desired.
• Bread flour (also known as baker’s flour) is available from select supermarkets. It has a higher gluten content than plain flour, which gives the dough its elasticity and chewy texture.
Photography by Chris Chen. Food preparation by Phoebe Wood. Food styling by Justine Poole.
As seen in Feast magazine, August 2014, Issue 34.