Yeast Raised Khachapuri Recipe
Sometimes made with phyllo dough or without yeast, here is a top knotted, circular shaped, yeast-raised khachapuri. This exotic bread works for Shavuot and has been enjoyed by Georgian Jews for the festival.
Adapted from Darra Goldstein’s The Georgian Feast: The Vibrant Culture and Savory Food of the Republic of Georgia
Yield: serves 8 to 12
2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
½ cup lukewarm whole milk (about 105º)
½ teaspoon sugar
½ cup lukewarm water
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg, lightly beaten, at room temperature
¼ cup vegetable oil
4 cups all purpose flour, plus more as needed
small quantity of olive oil, for brushing the dough
¾ pound mixed cheeses* (could be mozzarella, feta, muenster, gruyere)
½ pound farmer’s cheese
3 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ teaspoon salt (or less if feta or other cheeses are salty)
2 tablespoons melted butter for washing the dough, or egg yolk mixed with water
To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in the milk along with the sugar. After it foams add the water, salt, egg, vegetable oil, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead lightly for 5 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning it to grease the top. Leave the dough to rise for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until doubled in volume.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Coarsely grate the mixed cheeses. In a medium bowl, with a wooden spoon, cream the farmer’s cheese. Stir in the grated cheeses until well blended. Add the eggs and the salt. Beat the mixture by hand until light. Set aside.
When the dough has doubled in bulk, gently deflate it and divide it into three equal pieces. Cover with a dish towel or place inside plastic bag and let it rest for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400º and grease three 8-inch cake or pie pans. On a floured board or silicone mat, roll out each piece of dough into a round of at least 12 inches in diameter, aiming for ¼ of an inch thickness. Center one 12 inch round of dough in each pan and brush with a little olive oil.
Divide the cheese mixture into three equal parts. Place one-third of the filling on each circle of dough, spreading it to about 2 inches from the edge of the dough with some height piled in the center. Then fold the edges of the dough into the center, moving clockwise, allowing each fold of dough to overlap the previous one, until the cheese mixture is completely enclosed in the pleated dough. Grasp the excess dough in the center of the bread and twist it tightly into a topknot to seal.
Brush the breads with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter or with egg yolk mix. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and brush the tops of the pies with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Let them sit, covered with a cotton or linen dish towel, for 10 minutes to soften. Slip the khachapuri out of the pans and serve warm or at room temperature.
*Georgian cheeses are hard to find in the States. Immeruli and dulugani might be found at Russian markets.
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