For college students, the classic “cheesy bread” snack usually screams a 40 second microwave session, delivery from Domino’s or a quick stop to Panera for a bread bowl. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be this way. Appearing a bit more fixed up and fancy, bread boats are a perfect solution to cure the cheesy bread cravings and happen to provide a more upscale aesthetic to both the eye and the appetite— basically a win-win.
This is where khachapuri comes into play.
Though a little tricky to spell and pronounce, khachapuri is a dish you do not want to pass up. Originally hailing as a food staple from the country of Georgia, this “cheesy bread” twist reinvents gooey-goodness with nothing more than soft yeasted dough in the form of an oval and endless options for fillings— starting with cheese.
While you may not want to share this divine dish, khachapuri is best served as a starter that people pick off to dip the fresh bread into its heavenly cheesy center. But that’s not all— many people like to twist things up by throwing an egg on top to add a second component that seconds this dish as a delicious breakfast option as well. However, when it comes to crafting the center of your bread boat, the options are endless— spices, veggies, cured meats and even figs are bound to take any bite from good to great.
While the process does indeed come with several steps, the directions are simple and straightforward. Essentially, the order goes like so: preparing the dough, leaving it time to rise, shaping the unique oval shape, organizing the filling and bringing everything together to finally bake and serve.
What makes this bread boat extra special is that the dough is not your average formula. In addition to standard ingredients like flour, yeast, salt and water, many people like to add milk, butter and sugar to heighten each and every bite. Plus, these additional ingredients help to maintain a soft texture for the bread so it serves as perfect bites to dip into your filling.
This brings us to the defining factor of khachapuri— it oval configuration. Depending on whether or not you intend to share this dish will define how you wish to divide the sizing of your dough per serving. No matter what your taste buds desire, be sure to layer flour down before rolling out the dough. Next, use your hands to assemble the original oval shape and finish off with a rolling pin to even everything out. Note: when finished the dough should be approximately 1/3-inch thick (think of it like pizza and a thin crust vs. thick crust). After all steps are completed, move your dough onto a baking sheet with a length that usually reaches both ends.
Typically, khachapuri calls for unique Georgian cheese (sulgani), but when it comes to the filling, it is completely your own call. Whether you prefer goat cheese or fresh mozzarella, any thick cheese will make a wonderful base (just be sure to leave at least one inch around the edges when preparing your cheese filling in cut-up cheese chunks). Moreover, if you’re feeling up to it and want to throw in an egg or extra ingredients on top, this step will come right before putting the recipe in to bake. I went ahead and decided to create my own rendition with brie, mushroom and figs which combine perfectly in flavor and crisp up complementary in texture.
After filling your bread boat, comes round two of the oval shaping. Simply use your hands to fold the one inch surroundings and fold them into 1-inch-thick edges that create a slight border and fencing for the filled center. While it is not mandatory, you can also go ahead and egg wash your edges to polish off your pie. Just like the beginning, these steps must be followed with some practice wrap, non-stick spray and an additional thirty minutes to allow the dough to continue rising before it hits the oven.
At 375 degrees, allow your khacapuri to bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the center is melted and the crust is golden brown. However, if you are topping your dish off with an egg, keep in mind that you may want to stick to a smaller serving size as the egg needs no more than 20 minutes in the oven.
- 4 1/3 cups bread flour
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 12 oz brie cheese
- Egg wash for edges
- Sliced figs
- Sautéed mushroom