Hailing from the border of eastern-Europe and Asia, khachapuri is one of those dishes that’s been around for so long its origin has been buried in history. There are countless variations of the egg- and cheese-filled pastry—which is the national dish of Georgia—but remarkably little written history. The oblong delight is believed to have originated by the Adjarians in southwestern Georgia, but regardless of when this genius combination of cheese, bread and egg emerged, its appeal is unmistakable and recipe relatively simple.
A yeasted dough is rested and formed into a football shape, edges folded over and filled with a combination of creamy, fresh and sharply aged cheeses, and a single egg.
The khachapuri is then baked until golden, cheese nice and oozy and the egg just cooked through, a rich interior ideal for dipping pieces of the more well-done crust into.
Until recently, getting one’s hands on a well-made khachapuri required a trip to a restaurant or bakery catering in Georgian cuisine. That’s no big deal if you live in places like New York, New Jersey or southeastern Pennsylvania, where there’s a large Georgian American population, or even in Portland, Oregon, where new-school Russian restaurant Kachka includes khachapuri. But for those elsewhere in the world, good luck.
- For the dough:
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- For the filling:
- 1 1/2 cup Farmers cheese
- 1 1/2 cup Shredded mozzarella
- 1 1/2 cup Feta cheese
- 4 eggs + 1 for egg wash
- unsalted butter optional
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the salt, yeast, sugar, and flour.
Heat water and milk to about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Then pour it into the bowl of dry ingredients.
Begin kneading the dough with the hook attachment until it’s close to being smooth and elastic.
Add the oil into the dough and knead for another minute.
Drizzle a little bit of olive oil onto the bottom and sides of a deep bowl. Place the dough inside the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Remove the plastic wrap and press into the dough a few times with your hands. Cover with plastic wrap once more and let it sit in a warm place for another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the farmers cheese, feta, and mozzarella in a bowl.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place it onto a floured surface. Then cut it into 4 equal pieces.
Spread each piece of the dough into a circle about 9 inches in diameter. Then roll 2 opposite sides of the circle towards the center so it ends up have a boat like shape. Then pinch the corners together.
Transfer the khachapuri onto a baking sheet lined with greased parchment paper.
Stuff each khachapuri with the cheese mixture. Beat 1 egg with a teaspoon of water, then brush the dough with egg wash.
Bake in a preheated 230ºC oven for about 15 minutes or until the crust becomes golden brown.
Make a well in the center of each khachapuri with the back of a spoon (about 3 inches in diameter) and drop 1 egg into each well. Then stick a few small pieces of butter into the cheese.
Return the khachapuri back into the oven and bake for another 5-6 minutes. Cooking time may vary depending on your oven. The egg white should be white but still pretty runny. It will cook further as it sits in the hot cheese. When serving, mix the cheese and egg with a fork and serve immediately.