Khachapuri (Cheese Filled Bread)

On the final day of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the Canadian men’s ice hockey team defeated Sweden 3-0 to win gold.  Host country Russia topped the medal standings at these games, with 33 total medals- 13 of them gold.  The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Today’s recipe is more Georgian than Russian per se, but it did top many lists of must-try foods for visitors to Sochi.  Like many of the recipes in this series, there are plenty of variations.  This one is essentially a loaf of bread baked with a cheese center, while others are a kind of bread boat filled with cheese and topped with an egg.  While a cheese boat seemed pretty interesting, this recipe appealed to me because of its inclusion of coriander and paprika.  I wasn’t disappointed.

khachpuri

Khachapuri

Ingredients:

for the dough:

  • 1 C. milk, scalded
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 3 1/4 C. unbleached flour

for the filling:

  • 2 C. Muenster cheese (or Monterrey Jack)
  • 1 C. ricotta, cottage cheese, or goat cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, if needed
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika

Directions:

Heat the butter and milk together in a small saucepan until the butter has melts.

Combine the sugar, coriander, and salt in a medium-sized bowl then pour the hot milk over the mixture.

Stir to combine and to dissolve the sugar, then set aside to cool to lukewarm.

Add the yeast and flour to the milk mixture and stir until a rough dough forms.

Set aside for 30 minutes.

Knead the dough until it’s smooth, about 6-8 minutes by hand or with a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.

Place the dough into a greased bowl, turn the dough to coat, and then cover the bowl.

Let the dough rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it increases in size by at least 1/3.

To make the filling, cube the Muenster and place it into the work bowl of a food processor.

Add the ricotta and process until well-combined but some chunks remain.

Add the eggs, flour, salt (if needed- taste to check as cheese can be salty enough already), pepper and paprika then pulse to mix thoroughly.

Refrigerate the mixture until ready to use.

After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.

Divide the dough in half and cut a roughly 1 oz. piece of dough from each half.

Shape all 4 pieces into round balls and let them rest, covered, for 15 minutes.

Roll out each of the large pieces into a 10-12 inch circle.

Place one circle into a lightly greased pie tin or 8-9 inch round cake pan.

Put half of the cheese mixture into the middle of the circle.

Pull the dough up around the cheese mixture, pleating and pinching into a topknot.

Leave a hole in the center of the topknot and place the small round ball of dough into this hole.

Repeat the process using the other two pieces of dough.

Cover and let rise for 45 minutes- they will be puffy but won’t double in size.

If the pleats open, pinch them shut.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for 20-25 minutes.  If you find that the bread is browning too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.

Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Slice the bread into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: adapted from King Arthur Flour

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