When it comes to Georgian cuisine, the dish that reigns supreme is undoubtedly Khachapuri. This isn’t merely cheese-stuffed bread; it’s a culinary emblem that echoes Georgia’s cultural richness and longstanding traditions. From the humble kitchens of Tbilisi to the mountainous regions of Svetitskhoveli, this cheesy delight varies in shape, size, and, of course, cheese blend. Although global influences have introduced the likes of mozzarella and feta into modern interpretations, the soul of the dish remains in its traditional Georgian cheeses—Sulguni and Imeretian.
Whether you opt for the circular allure of Imeretian khachapuri or the boat-like decadence of the Adjaran version crowned with butter and a sunlit egg yolk, there’s a style for every palate. Khachapuri serves as both a personal indulgence and a communal centerpiece, depending on how it’s crafted and served. So, prepare to unearth the secrets of this sumptuous staple as we bring a piece of Georgia into your kitchen.
For the Dough
- 3 1/2 cups (approx. 420 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (240 ml) warm milk
- 2 teaspoons (approx. 8 grams) sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (approx. 6 grams) salt
- 1 packet (approx. 7 grams) active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
For the Filling
- 3 cups (approx. 420 grams) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup (approx. 225 grams) crumbled feta cheese
- 2 large eggs, plus 1 yolk for the center
- 4 tablespoons (60 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
- Start with the Dough: In a small bowl, combine the warm milk, sugar, and active dry yeast. Let it sit for about 5-7 minutes until frothy. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. Make a well in the middle, pour the yeast mixture and olive oil. Stir until you form a sticky dough.
- Knead and Rise: Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place it back in the bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let it rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Prepare the Filling: In a bowl, combine the shredded mozzarella, crumbled feta, and two eggs. Mix until well incorporated.
- Shape and Fill: Preheat your oven to 450°F (232°C). Divide the dough into 2 balls. Roll each into an oval shape. Put half of the cheese mixture in the middle of each oval. Fold the edges to form a boat shape.
- Bake: Place the Khachapuri on a lined baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes or until golden.
- Finish Strong: After baking, make a well in the center of the cheese and drop an egg yolk and a dollop of butter. Return to the oven for 3-5 minutes.
- The Final Touch: Before serving, stir the yolk and butter into the molten cheese. Voila! Your Khachapuri is ready to steal the show!
What wine goes well with Khachapuri?
For the Cheese Lovers: White Wines
- Albariño: This Spanish white wine with its high acidity and citrus notes will cut through the richness of the cheese, balancing the Khachapuri beautifully.
- Pinot Grigio: The lightness and crispness of a Pinot Grigio can be a refreshing contrast to the Khachapuri’s creamy richness.
- Sauvignon Blanc: Another high-acid white, its green and herbaceous flavors would complement the fatty, salty cheese marvelously.
For Those Who Want a Bit of Drama: Red Wines
- Young Pinot Noir: A lighter red wine like a young Pinot Noir could provide just enough tannins to balance the dish without overpowering it.
- Merlot: If you prefer something smoother, a fruit-forward Merlot would add a touch of sweetness that pairs well with the savory components of Khachapuri.
For the Mavericks: Other Pairings
- Rosé: This often-underestimated wine can offer a balanced, refreshing touch, especially when the Khachapuri features spicier cheeses.
- Sparkling Wines: Believe it or not, a good Brut Champagne or Cava can be an exciting pairing. The bubbles and acidity can cleanse the palate, making every bite of Khachapuri as exciting as the first.
- Tbilvino Qvevris: For an authentic Georgian experience, try this orange wine made in traditional Georgian clay jars. Its tannins and apricot notes provide a wholly unique pairing experience.