We had a Georgian friend once upon a time. His name was Mamuka and we met him when he was studying English in Australia. He lived in Moscow but he was fiercely proud of Georgia and we all loved to watch him write in the beautiful Georgian alphabet.
I wonder what happened to Mamuka? We lost touch about a year after he moved back to Russia, although not before he sent photos of his summer home in a picturesque Georgian valley.
I have always wanted to visit Georgia.
It seems fitting then that Jonas made a Georgian bread for this month’s Bread Baking Day with the theme “cheese breads”. Our host is Temperance from High on the Hog.
Khachapuri are the cheesiest breads there are. In fact you could easily label them Georgia’s answer to the pizza. They commonly use a traditional Georgian ingredient called sulguni (სულუგუნი), a pickled, salty cows’ cheese from the Samegrelo region.
There are as many different styles of khachapuri as there are regions in Georgia and some of the better known as Adjaruli khachapuri (topped with a raw egg), Megruli khachapuri (topped with more cheese) and Ossuri khachapuri (filled with mash potatoes).
Jonas made the standard khachapuri, although we don’t have access to the rare sulguni and had to make do with another cheesey combination. It was delicious nonetheless.
This is also a 2008 Food Challenge, which has rolled over into the 2009 batch since it didn't get made last year.
Khachapuri (Georgian Cheese Bread)
Recipe from The World Encyclopedia of Bread. Serves 6.
225g unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
15g fresh yeast
150ml lukewarm milk
25g butter, softened
225g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
225g Taleggio, cubed
1 egg, lightly beaten
15ml butter, melted
Salt and pepper
1 egg yolk
1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl.
2. Cream the yeast with the milk, add to the flour and mix to form a dough.
3. Knead in the butter, then knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.
4. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover lighting with oiled clear plastic film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 – 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
5. Meanwhile put the cheeses in a bowl and stir in the egg and softened butter for the filling. Season with plenty of salt and pepper.
6. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes.
7. Divide the dough into four even balls. Roll each ball out into a rough circle.
8. Grease a muffin tin or ramekins, and place each circle into the holes. Drop in the cheese mixture into the centre then fold over the dough to seal the cheese inside.
9. Cover with oiled film to rise again for another 20 minutes.
10. Preheat oven to 180’C.
11. Mix egg yolk and water together to form a glaze then brush bread with glaze.
12. Bake for 50 minutes, or until brown on surface.
13. Cool for 5 minutes then remove from tin/ramekins and serve warm cut.
Variations: instead of Cheddar & Taleggio you can use many other cheese combinations such as Munster & Havarti or Red Leicester & Parmesan.