With a little practice, these quick-bread versions of Georgian khachapuri can be mixed, shaped and baked in less than an hour. As with many quick breads, they are best eaten hot and fresh, for they toughen a little as they cool. These are made with a blend of all-purpose and pastry flour, to replicate the softer flour used in Georgia; use either white or whole wheat pastry flour.
Many people in Georgia don’t have ovens, so they cook their khachapuri in a skillet on the stovetop. See the Note for stovetop cooking instructions.
- Mild or Medium White Cheddar, Monterey Jack Cheese, or Mozzarella 4 oz, grated
- Feta Cheese 4 oz, crumbled into small pieces
- Egg 1 large
- Plain Full-Fat Yogurt 2 Tbs
- Fresh Mint or Tarragon finely chopped, about ¼ cup (optional)
- Black Pepper a generous grinding
- All-Purpose Flour 2½ cups, plus extra for surfaces
- Plain Full-Fat Yogurt 2 cups
- White or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour 1½ cups
- Salt 1¼ tsp
- Baking Powder 1 tsp
- Melted Butter about 2 Tbs for brushing on (optional)
- Place one rack in the center of the oven and another one in the upper third. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Set out two baking sheets.
- To make the filling, in a small bowl, mix together the cheeses, egg, and yogurt. Add the herbs if you wish and the pepper and mix well. Set aside.
- To make the dough, place 2 cups of the all-purpose flour in a large bowl, add the yogurt, and stir to mix well.
- In another bowl mix together the pastry flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to the yogurt-flour mixture and mix in thoroughly. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for several minutes, until very smooth, incorporating more flour as necessary.
- Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces (cut it in half, then cut each piece in half and half again). Roll each piece into a ball between your lightly floured palms. Set all but one aside, loosely covered.
- Lightly flour your work surface and flatten the remaining dough ball into a round with the floured palm of your hand. Turn the dough over and use a rolling pin to roll it out to a round about 8 inches in diameter. Place 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of the round. Pick up one edge of the dough between your thumb and forefinger and gently place on top of the mound of filling. Repeat with another edge about 11⁄2 inches farther around, pleating the dough over the filling. Repeat all the way around, so the mound of filling is covered by pleated layers of dough; the dough is a little fragile, so you need to work gently to keep the cheese from breaking through. Press down gently on the mound to seal it and send the filling out to the edges of the bread. Turn it over and press again gently, then use your rolling pin with a light touch to roll the dough, working from the center outward, to about a 7-inch round that is less than 1⁄2 inch thick.
- Transfer to a baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with 3 more rounds.
- Prick each bread four or five times with a fork and put the baking sheet on the top rack in the oven to bake for about 15 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, placing the second baking sheet on the center rack. When the breads on the first sheet are firm to the touch and very slightly tinged with color, after about 15 minutes, remove from the oven and move the second sheet to the upper rack to bake until done.
- Transfer the baked breads to a cloth-lined basket, brush with butter if you wish, and cover to keep them warm. Khachapuri are often cut into quarters and served that way; leave them whole or cut them as you wish.
Note: Stovetop versions of khachapuri are traditionally cooked on a clay surface called a ketsi, but a lightly oiled cast-iron or other heavy skillet does a fine job (though it’s best to work with two skillets). Heat a little sunflower or extra-virgin olive oil or butter-ghee in each skillet over medium heat. Swirl to coat the surfaces and add one or two breads to each. Cook until firm and touched with colour, about 10 minutes; turn them over after about 5 minutes. Keep the first batch warm in a cloth-lined basket while you cook the remaining breads.