Whether you’ve visited Georgia or are just looking to bring a little Caucasian splash to your dinner – I promise you won’t regret this traditional Adjarian khachapuri recipe. I’ve been living in Tbilisi for just over a year now, and in that time, I’ve fallen head over heels for Georgian food. Grilled slivers of eggplant smothered in garlicky walnut paste, palm-sized dumplings jiggling with broth and herbed meat, smoked pork shashlik tossed in fresh pomegranate seeds and sliced onion – then, there’s bread.
What is Adjarian Khachapuri?
When I tell you Georgians love bread – I mean it. There is nothing they can’t do with a little bit of flour, water, and handwork. There are more than 50 (50!) distinct types of khachapuri, or stuffed bread throughout Georgia. The options are limitless from soft saucer-sized dough filled with mashed beans (lobiani) to perfectly flakey herb and cheese stuffed bread (mkhlovani). Then, there’s everyone’s favorite – Adjarian Khachapuri aka a buttery, cheesy, eggy bread boat. The stuff of dreams.
Adjarian Khachapuri hails from Georgia’s Adjara region, an area that used to be known for some of the best sailors and fishermen in the country. The shape of the bread symbolizes the boats bobbing on shores of Ajara and the yolk on top? That’s the sun shining down on the sailors. In the years since Adjarian khachapuri was born, it’s become a staple on the Georgian table and a favorite among tourists and locals alike. I first learned how to make Adjarian khachapuri from a sweet old couple in Old Town and have since trialed it dozens of times – my husband hasn’t complained
Special thanks to my lamazi megobaro(beautiful friend) Natalie who is from Batumi (in Adjara). She has given me loads of tips and tricks to ensure a delicious and authentic recipe and never fails to deliver on my tireless questions about Georgian traditions and food.
2 cup flour (dough)
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour for kneading/dusting as needed (dough)
1/2 tsp instant yeast (dough)
1 tsp sugar (dough)
1 tsp salt (dough)
1/4 cup warm water (dough)
1/2 cup whole milk (dough)
1/2 tbsp olive oil (dough)
1 large egg (dough)
1 cups sulguni cheese (grated)
3 cups Imeruli cheese (grated)
3 tbsp matsoni
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp whole milk
2 eggs white and yolk divided
Mix together dry ingredients, add in warm water and milk, combine until kneadable. Knead for 5 minutes and add flour as needed. Use the spare flour a tbsp at a time until you get a kneadable and smooth dough.
Cover dough and allow to rise for two hours in the refrigerator.
Once the dough has risen, divide in two. Reserve the second half for the second khachapuri. Roll out into a soft rectangular shape. Heat your oven to 392F/200C.
Grate sulguni and imereti cheese. see notes for substitutions.
add 1/4 cup sulguni approx 1 inch below top and bottom of rectangle. See photos above.
Fold the top edge of the dough over the cheese. Repeat with bottom. Seal both folds.
Begin shaping the dough into a 'boat' - to do this, roll the top and bottom in toward the middle and then pinch the left/right ends together. After that, gently spread open the rolls and begin shaping the boat.
Add 1 1/2 cup imeruli cheese, 1 tbsp whole milk, 1 1/2 tbsp matsoni, 1 tbsp butter evenly to the boat. Top with sulguni.
Bake in the center of the oven for 10-12 minutes. Divide one yolk and white from an egg. Remove from oven, brush with egg white and carefully add yolk to the center. Bake again for 1-2 minutes on the top rack.
Roll out remaining half of dough and repeat steps 3-9.
Once finished baking, add a tablespoon of butter on top, and serve hot.
Notes Outside the Caucasus?
Imeruli & Sulguni Cheese: Replace with equal parts mozzarella and feta. Matsoni: Replace with any full-fat yogurt. Full fat sour cream will also do. Remember to rise the dough in the refrigerator. It holds shape better this way. Eat like a local - start by stirring the boat mixture with a fork, then tear off a piece of bread, dip and devour!