Khachapuri Georgian Cheese Bread
Jan 19, 2024, Updated Feb 22, 2024
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Delicious cheesy Khachapuri Georgian Cheese Bread, topped with butter and egg, is a the most amazingly decadent appetizer – and incredibly easy to make from scratch!
This pizza-like cheese bread bakes to perfection and is topped with egg, to create a savory sauce you can dip your bread in as you eat it – and be instantly transported to one of Europe’s Easternmost capitol cities, Tbilisi!
Khachapuri, a traditional Georgian cheese bread rich with history from the Caucasus region, is a decadent and delicious rich appetizer that is simple to make and a great introduction to Georgian cuisine and culture.
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Adjaruli Khachapuri (Boat-shaped Khachapuri)
There are a few types of Khachapuri – the Georgian Cheese bread comes in two distinctly different types that can be found often (though there are a few styles in Georgia) – Imeretian Khachapuri, which is round and shaped like a pizza – and Adjarian Khachapuri, which is shaped like a boat and topped with pats of butter and raw egg to create a rich, gooey sauce when eating.
This recipe reflects the Adjarian Khachapuri – the boat shaped cheese bread which is topped with a pat of butter and raw egg (which cooks just enough on the hot bread to solidify the white, but leases the yolk deliciously runny and creamy, giving this bread a sauce to dip in that cooks right with it!).
My husband and I developed this recipe after visiting the Republic of Georgia a couple of years ago for my brother in law’s wedding – and the entire country grabbed our hearts so strongly, we were delighted to be able to recreate a piece of Georgia at home whenever we’re craving rich, delicious, and super cheesy Khachapuri cheese bread!
Rich, cheesy bread is one of the best known and most delicious Georgian staples…. and is starting to become a more and more common find on menus across America, outside of the traditional Russian bakeries that were the only spots you could find it a couple years ago.
There is little question why khachapuri (pronounced “cahh-cha-poo-ree” or “ha-cha-poo-ree” with a whispered, non-voiced rolling of the h similar to a pronounciation you’d find in arabic) is becoming so popular – it is one of the most delicious and easy cheese bread recipes you can make – and it’s great for a crowd or party, and perfect for a gooey, tantalizing dish!
Forbes even recently named Khachapuri their absolute favorite cheese pizza!
While not technically a pizza, Khachapuri is made with a pizza-like dough, and tons and tons of delicious, salty, melted cheese. Some types of khachapuri (like the kind my friend Lauren of Explorer Momma’s mother in law makes) is shaped a lot like a cheese pizza – a big, puffy round disk, filled with cheesy goodness that you can’t get enough of.
How to Make Khachapuri
To make Khachapuri, we will gather the following ingredients:
- Cheese – typically, khachapuri uses sulguni cheese, a slightly sour, soft, raw cow’s milk cheese typically found in Georgia. Since it’s not an easy cheese to source in America, we came up with a blend of feta and muenster to replicate the texture and flavor of sulguni. Of course, we’d rather have the real cheese – but it’s a surprisingly decent swap. Tangy raw milk farmers cheese is also a great replacement.
- Flour – we’re using all purpose flour or bread flour here, since we will rely on yeast to help our dough rise. Bread flour is ideal, as it won’t tear when rolling and stretching your dough – but all purpose flour is a great lower gluten flour that won’t get tough or overworked in this recipe.
- Water – we’re going to use warm water to proof our yeast and act as the liquid for our dough.
- Yeast – like pizza doughs, this bread recipe relies on yeast for perfect stretchy, springy, and light dough that bakes well with a great crisp snap.
- Salt – salt balances our dough, and enhances the flavor of our cheese bread, helping to cut through the rich cheese.
- Butter – butter is added to the top of khachapuri when it is hot and bubbling from the oven to create a sauce.
- Egg – egg is added just as the bread is done in the oven with butter to create a rich sauce that is perfect to dip bread into! You can use just egg yolk, a whole egg, or skip the egg altogether if you’re concerned with uncooked egg.
- Make the dough. We’re making a pizza-style dough from-scratch for the most delicious kchachapuri, using flour, salt, and yeast – a process that does include time to rise. You can also use pre-made pizza dough from the grocery store (the kind in a plastic bag in the deli section that is already mixed and ready to use.)
- Assemble khachapuri. When dough has risen, and is ready, roll out on well floured surface. Roll into large circle and add some cheese all around. Roll sides inwards (making sure cheese is rolled into the sides), into boat shape. When you’ve made a “boat”, add rest of cheese to top.
- Bake & top with egg. Bake until bread is golden brown, cheese has melted, and is bubbling hot. Add butter and egg while khachapuri is still in oven – then remove. Let rest 5-8 minutes before serving. Top with chopped cilantro or scallions to serve.
- Enjoy! You can cut khachapuri into slices, or dig in with a knife and fork, scooping up all that butter and yolk as you eat.
Tips and Tricks to Perfect Khachapuri & FAQs
Add the egg at the end. We’re adding the egg at the end of cooking, right as you pull it from the oven, with pats of butter. The egg white will cook from the heat of the bread, and the yolk will stay runny, making a rich sauce to dip your bread into. You can also add the egg on top for the last few minutes of baking if you’d like the egg cooked a bit more, or even skip it altogether.
Let pre-made dough warm to room temperature before using. Let pre-made or store-bought dough sit at room temperature to warm so that it rises slightly and is more pliable before using if using store-bought dough. If you use cold dough, it will spring back too quickly, making your khachapuri too dense and thick.
Proof yeast. Even if you have rapid activate yeast, I prefer to always proof it – meaning watch that it actually is activated. To do this simply mix yeast into lukewarm (NOT HOT) water, let sit for five to ten minutes, and look that it is foamy. If it does not foam and bubble up, your yeast is likely no longer active and working and you need new yeast. Working yeast is critical for perfect dough, and it is so easy to activate it in a recipe, I always try to take the step to activate before cooking to be sure my yeast is still working.
Choose the Right Cheese: Traditional Khachapuri uses a combination of Sulguni and Imeretian cheeses, which aere hard to find in America. A great substitute is a mix of mozzarella or Muenster and feta cheeses. Mozzarella or Muenster offers the gooey, stretchy texture, while feta adds the tangy, salty flavor reminiscent of Georgian cheeses.
Dough Perfection: If you’re making the dough from scratch, use high-quality, all-purpose flour for the best texture. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Letting it rest is crucial for developing gluten, which gives the bread its characteristic chewiness. 00 pizza dough also works well.
Yeast Matters: Use fresh, active dry yeast for a reliable rise. The temperature of the water you mix with the yeast is crucial – it should be warm but not hot, ideally around 110°F (43°C), to activate the yeast without killing it.
Boat Shape Technique: Khachapuri is famously boat-shaped. To achieve this, roll your dough into an oval and then roll the edges towards the center, pinching the ends to form a boat shape. This not only gives it its traditional look but also creates a well for the cheese.
Baking Tips: A hot oven is key. Preheat your oven to around 475°F (245°C) for the best results. This high temperature ensures a crisp exterior while keeping the inside soft and gooey. Use a pizza stone if you have one, as it mimics the traditional baking method and gives a better crust.
Adding an Egg: If you’re making the Adjarian version (Acharuli Khachapuri), you’ll top it with a raw egg and a pat of butter just before it finishes baking. The residual heat cooks the egg slightly, but it should still be runny when you serve it.
My Pro Tip
A runny, rich egg yolk is one of the best parts of Adjaruli khachapuri – you want the egg’s white to cook, similar to a poached egg, but not so much the yolk cooks. Add it at the very end of cooking so you don’t overcook the egg!
Serving Suggestions: Khachapuri is best enjoyed fresh from the oven. Tear off a piece of the crust (the ‘boat’ side) and dip it into the cheesy middle for a delicious experience.
Experiment with Fillings: While traditional Khachapuri is filled with cheese, feel free to experiment with additional fillings like sautéed mushrooms, spinach, or even different types of cheese to cater to your taste.
Pairing with Sides: Pair your Khachapuri with a fresh salad or some pickled vegetables to cut through the richness of the cheese.
Practice Makes Perfect: Don’t be discouraged if your first Khachapuri isn’t perfect. It takes a bit of practice to get the shape and the cheese-to-dough ratio just right.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. If made with egg on top, reheat to piping hot.
This recipe uses a dough that is very similar to pizza dough – so you can use pre-made pizza dough. Use a high-quality dough you love (do not used the dough from a can, but the fresh dough that comes in the deli section of a grocery store refrigerated section, instead) – or your own pre-made doughs. We often make huge batches of dough and then freeze individual servings, so we always have dough on hand.
Simply let dough thaw in the fridge overnight, then set in a lightly floured bowl with a warm towel on top in a warm area to let dough rise and warm enough to be pliable.
Traditionally, Khachapuri uses Sulguni cheese – a Georgian cheese curd that is tangy and somewhat similar to a fresh, raw feta. Since sulguni isn’t readily available in America, especially in areas without Russian/former Soviet markets, we’re using a blend of Meunster (or Mozzarella) and feta to mimic the texture and flavor of sulguni.
According to the CDC, chickens and other live poultry can carry Salmonella bacteria. These germs can spread from the birds to their eggs. If you eat raw or undercooked eggs, you can get sick. Always handle and cook eggs properly to prevent illness.
You can use safest choice ultra pasteurized eggs in this recipe to cut down on the risk of salmonella.
We love serving Khachapuri with pork – it’s great alongside pork tenderloin recipes, with a ribeye roast, Ham and Bean Soup, with roast chicken, with easy appetizers – anything you love to eat with delicious savory cheesy bread!
There are several regional variations of Khachapuri. The most famous include:
Adjarian (Acharuli) Khachapuri: Boat-shaped bread filled with cheese, topped with a raw egg and butter.
Imeretian (Imeruli) Khachapuri: Circular and filled with cheese.
Mingrelian (Megruli) Khachapuri: Similar to Imeretian, but with extra cheese on top.
Ossetian Khachapuri: Filled with potato and cheese.
It’s best enjoyed fresh, but you can prepare the dough ahead of time. Fully baked Khachapuri can be reheated, though the texture of the cheese may change.
Traditionally, you tear off pieces of the crust and use them to scoop up the cheese and egg mixture.
While you can freeze the dough, it’s not recommended to freeze the baked Khachapuri as it affects the texture and taste of the cheese.
It can be both. It’s often a standalone meal, especially the larger, more filling versions like Acharuli, but can also be a side dish or appetizer.
Add the egg a few minutes before the baking is complete. The heat of the oven will partially cook the egg, but it should remain runny. The white should be cooked, with the yolk still quite runny.
A light, crisp white wine (for a Georgian wine: try a dry Rkatsiteli) or a sparkling water with lemon can balance the richness of the dish – and my favorite Georgian wines with Saperavi grapes are also a lovely accompaniment!
Visiting Georgia – Where Khachapuri Georgian Cheese Bread is From
I’m going to be honest- of all the places on earth I dreamed of visiting, Tbilisi Georgia was NEVER at the top of my list. I had nothing to go off of, but Tbilisi was just never a place I had heard much about as a tourist destination- so when my brother-in-law announced he was going to hold his wedding in Georgia, I was a bit flummoxed.
Was I ever wrong! Tbilisi, and the entire Georgian country, completely blew me away- and quickly topped my list of places I have ever travelled to and want to visit again and again.
Tblisi is gorgeous, super affordable, very friendly to Americans, and full of things to do. If you’re a fan of history, Georgia is the perfect place to visit. From Soviet occupation and the Georgian independence (and subsequent recent war) with Russia, to ancient Christian sites – Georgia offers so many amazing things to see and do.
If you’re interested in food history, Georgia is also fabulous to explore. Since Georgia is situated in the Caucasus mountain range, it is the perfect spot to see how trade routes from Asia and the Middle East mixed with Europe and Russia – and how each culture has left it’s mark to create a uniquely delicious culinary experience you won’t find anywhere else.
Touring both Armenia and Georgia was such a treat for me – the foods are simple, rooted in rich history, and are outstandingly delicious.
One of my friends who lives in Tbilisi jokes that Georgians made organic food fashionable long before it was “in” in the west – partially because they couldn’t afford chemicals under communism – which has in turn resulted in some insanely delicious food unlike anything I’ve had anywhere else.
You’ll find a lot of “ugly” fruits and vegetables in Georgia, sold from small roadside stands or table-stands around town with farmers displaying their bounty – that are sweeter, crisper, and bursting with flavor unlike a lot of the “perfect” and pretty fruit you find the US.
Georgia, and next-door neighbor Armenia are known to be the ancient homes of winemaking – with archaeological finds of winemaking tools dating back to 4,100 BC. There are many places in the Caucuses where you can see ancient winemaking relics, learn about the role of wine in early Christianity (especially thanks to Saint Nino, whose Monastery sits high above the Khaketi winemaking valley region).
To see more of our posts from Georgia, find them below:
Khachapuri Georgian Cheese Bread Recipe
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- 2/3 cup warm water, 115 degrees
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing
- 1 1/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 1/2 cups shredded Muenster cheese
- 1 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 eggs, optional OR 2 egg yolks (I prefer just the yolk)
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
- In a large bowl, add water, sugar and yeast.
- Let bloom until foamy and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
- Add flour, olive oil, and salt to bowl and stir with wooden spoon until a soft, springy dough forms.
- Transfer dough to well greased bowl and let rise in a warm area for 1 hour.
- Preheat pizza stone in oven at 500 degrees (dont add stone to a hot oven, let it come to temperature in the oven so it doesn't explode.)
- Generously flour a counter surface.
- Punch down dough, and divide into two round balls.
- Roll out one ball onto floured surface into a large disc, about 1/4" thick.
- Add 1/4 cheese mixture to the center of the dough.
- Roll the sides to form a boat shape around the dough.
- Add another 1/4 cheese to the middle and place into oven.
- Bake 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and crust is a golden brown.
- Top with fresh egg and pats of butter when removing from oven.
- Repeat with second disc for second Khachapuri.
- Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1/4 bread
Amount Per Serving Calories 373Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 15gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 165mgSodium 635mgCarbohydrates 17gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 17g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.