Georgian Cheese Bread Recipe - Acharuli Khachapuri

khachapuri-1.jpg
Acharuli Khachapuri - Georgian Cheese Bread. © Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 3 khachapuri (9-12 servings)
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Khachapuri (хачапури) is a Georgian bread stuffed with a specific melting cheese known as sulguni from the Samegrelo region of the Republic of Georgia, a country situated in Eurasia at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and West Asia between Russia and Turkey.

Sulguni is an unaged cow's milk cheese that has a slightly sour, moderately salty flavor and an elastic consistency similar to mozzarella or halloumi. It can be fresh or smoked and is used in many dishes besides cheese bread.

Khachapuri is considered one of Georgia's national comfort-food dishes. When Georgia was a Soviet republic, many Georgian dishes were appropriated by Russia and mistakenly have come to be known as Russian. That's why you will find this Georgian dish at pubs and restaurants and even in the home on Russian zakuski spreads.

There are many types of this cross between a grilled cheese and pizza, but these three are most common -- Acharuli Khachapuri (ахарули хачапури), Megruli Khachapuri and . They all use the same basic dough but it is how they are shaped that differs.

This recipe for Acharuli Khachapuri is from Adjara, located in the southwestern corner of Georgia. The dough is formed into an open boat shape and topped with a raw egg and butter before serving. This recipe, which I adapted from Georgian Recipes, will make three khachapuri but, they are so good, I doubt you will find yourself with leftovers. If you do, they freeze nicely.

What You'll Need

  • For the Dough:
  • 6.77 ounces/200 ml warm water
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (or instant yeast)
  • 2.5 pounds/1.15 kilos all-purpose flour
  • 6.77 ounces/200 ml warm milk
  • 1.69 ounces/50 ml oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup/240 ml additional warm water as needed
  • For the Cheese Filling:
  • 7 ounces/200 g sulguni cheese (grated)
  • 3 large eggs (divided)
  • Optional: .7 ounces/20 g butter
  • Optional: large pat of butter

How to Make It

To Make the Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 6.77 ounces/200 ml warm water with yeast and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix together flour with milk, oil, egg, sugar, salt and yeast-water mixture. Knead by hand or with a dough hook until dough forms a smooth, elastic dough. You may need up to 1 cup/240 ml additional warm water.
  4. Cover the bowl with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours. Punch down dough and divide into three pieces. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rest 15 minutes before shaping.

    To Make the Cheese Filling

    1. Gather the ingredients.
    2. In a medium bowl, combine the grated cheese, 1 egg and butter, if using. Separate one egg, retaining the egg yolk and saving the white for another use. Fork blend the egg yolk and set aside. This will be used to glaze the dough later.

    To Assemble the Acharuli Khachapuri

    1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll each of the dough balls and form into a boat shape. Place equal portions of cheese filling in the center of each of the 3 dough boats. Fold the sides and ends of the dough as shown in my picture.
    2. Place the khachapuri on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (to catch any butter or melting cheese) and bake for 12 minutes. Take the khachapuri out of the oven and brush the dough (not the cheese) with reserved beaten egg yolk. Crack the last egg in the center of the cheese. Return to the oven and bake for 3 minutes or until the yolk is still wobbly and the white hasn't totally set.
    3. Serve immediately with a large pat of butter. The butter and egg are mixed together with a knife and fork and eaten together with little pieces of the bread part of the khachapuri.

    Adapted from Georgian Recipes.

    Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
    642 Calories
    35g Fat
    62g Carbs
    19g Protein
    (Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)