Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 62! Republic of Georgia (EU) - Khachapuri - Georgian Cheese Bread - Up Next,

Yeast and flour to make the dough
 Sometimes when I least expect it, family life crosses - no, crashes - over into my cooking/blogging world. Most parents probably  recognize that  'I'm dealing with a @!$*#% teenager' look on my face . Yeah, you know the kid - the one who swings from being obnoxious and oppositional to snuggling up next to me on the couch. That one.
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:

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

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!

Khachapuri - Georgian Cheese Bread

  • 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.


Karen said...

blog is looking sexay ;) and the guys are drooling over my shoulder...I see cheesy bread in my future, this looks FANTASTIC !!!

Karen said...

oh and hey - you have someone else's "culinary orgasm" blog on here :)

kayleighforhope said...

I found your post while searching for pictures of Georgia. We will be visiting my son's grandparents next summer and seeing this bread brought back fond memories of their visit with us last summer. Must make this now!

sadie said...

This is one of kids' favorite breads in the world, although I suspect your son's grand parents can make it much better! Thanks for visiting!