|Yeast and flour to make the dough|
|Notice the sharp knife waving...|
In this case, it's a damn good thing he had a camera in his hand to document forensic evidence, otherwise I might have lunged over the butcher block. But, since I've kicked him out of the house for the next few hours, I can tell you, my wonderful and kind readers, all about the Republic of Georgia and the excellent Kahachapuri (Georgian Cheese Bread), I made today.
The Republic of Georgia is an ancient country whose history dates back to the 3rd. century B.C. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, Georgia is about twice the size of Switzerland. Here's a great link the covers Georgia's lengthy and rich history nicely: www.angelfire.com/ga/georgian/history
Georgia's cuisine is complex and influenced by both Middle Eastern and European traditions, but also varies from one region to another. Vineyards and wineries abound, as do mineral and industrial enterprises. I found this traditional recipe, submitted by a woman whose new son-in-law was Georgian, but grew up in Israel, and so learned to make Khachapuri for him www.bakespace.com/recipes.
|Flour, proofed yeast, a pinch of salt and an egg make the dough|
|Knead for 5 minutes - I did it by hand on my butcher block|
|Combination of mozzarella, feta and muenster cheese - that's what I'm talking about!|
|Pat out the dough to a 7" circle|
|Make a ball out of the cheese mixture (it's like working with playdough!)|
|Make a little purse or packet with the dough, cheese in the middle|
|Punch the center down and then pat out it out to an 11" circle (the cheese is in the middle)|
|Brush with butter and bake at 500 F for 10-12 minutes - game over!|
- 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
- 7 Tbsp. warm water (105-115F)
- 1 2/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour, divided
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1/4 lb. Havarti cheese coarsely grated, (or muenster)
- 1/4 lb. salted mozzarella, coarsely grated
- 3-4 Tbsp. creamy feta cheese, crumbled
Equipment: floured pizza pan (at least 12 inches) or large floured baking sheet
1. Sprinkle yeast over warm water; stir in 1 Tbsp. flour. Let stand until creamy (about 5 minutes).
2. Stir together salt and remaining flour in large bowl; then stir in egg and yeast mixture to form a dough.
3. Turn out dough onto well-floured surface. Knead till smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes) Form into a ball; dust with flour. Let dough rest in a plastic covered bowl, punching down with a wet fist every hour, for at least 2 hours, up to 3 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 500F with rack in the middle.
5. Turn out dough onto floured pizza pan, turning to coat, then flatten with fingers into a 7-inch disk.
6. Toss cheeses together and press into a compact 3-inch ball with your hands. Place ball into middle of dough, gather dough up around cheese, squeezing extra dough into a topknot. Press down on topknot with damp fist to press cheese out from center. Continue to flatten dough and distribute cheese evenly, pressing outward from center, until dough is an 11-inch disk.
7. Cut a 6-inch "X" through top of dough to expose cheese. Bake until pale golden, 10-12 minutes. Brush surface of dough with butter and bake until golden and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes longer.
8. Cool slightly. Serve cut into wedges.
Final Assessment: Ahhhhhhhhhh, Georgian comfort food! There's nothing like real dough - don't cheat and buy the store bought frozen stuff. We ate it as a snack, but it would be great with a salad as well.