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Khachapuri: A Delicious Cheese and Egg Filled Bread

If you love the taste of freshly baked bread, cheese, and eggs, this recipe is for you!  It is based on a dish called Khachapuri (pronunciation here), which comes from the beautiful country of Georgia, located at the boundary of Eastern Europe and Asia.  The name Khachapuri translates to "curd bread," owing to the heavenly combination of melted cheeses inside a soft, fluffy bread boat.


Many different types of cheese can be used as a filling--this recipe in particular calls for Muenster and smoked Gouda, but feel free to substitute whichever cheeses you prefer; Feta, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and Farmer's cheese are all popular alternatives.  You can also add a little extra sustenance by topping each boat with a freshly cracked egg; in this way, it is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or even as a side dish for dinner.

A bread machine makes easy work of preparing the dough for the bread boats.  Many bread machines have a delay option, which comes in handy if you plan to make this for breakfast; the night before, you can put the dough ingredients into the pan, and then set the delay timer.  In this way, you can have the dough mixing while you sleep in a little, and by the time you make your way out of bed, your dough will be ready.  However, if you don't have a bread machine, don't worry!  You can still easily make this recipe, either using dough hooks and a mixer, or by doing it the old fashioned way--by hand!



Egg and Cheese Filled Bread (Khachapuri)

(Printable Version Here)

Ingredients:

 1/2 cup softened butter, cubed
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
4 cups bread flour (all-purpose may be substituted)
5 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 egg white
1 teaspoon water
3 cups shredded Muenster cheese
1 cup shredded smoked Gouda
8 eggs
water in a spray bottle for misting (optional--creates a crisp, glossy crust)

1.  In the order listed, add the first 6 ingredients to bread machine.  Set the bread machine to the dough cycle, and, if necessary, set delay timer.  *For alternate instructions without bread machine, see notes following recipe.  

2.  Once the dough cycle has completed, preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Turn the dough out onto a clean surface, and divide into 8 equal pieces.

3.  Shape each piece of dough into a boat shape, being sure to create a substantial lip all around the edges; this will hold the cheeses and eggs inside the bread boat.  Place each boat onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

4.  Mix the egg white with the teaspoon of water.  Using a pastry brush, brush each boat with the egg white mixture.

5.  Mix the shredded cheeses together.  Fill each boat with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese mix.

6.  Bake the boats at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, using the spray bottle to mist the boats a couple times during baking.

7.  Remove the boats from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees.  If necessary, use the back of a spoon to create a well in the cheesy center of the boats.  Crack an egg into the center of each boat.  Spritz the boats with the spray bottle, and return to the oven, spritzing a couple more times while finishing baking.

8.  Cook the boats for approximately 10 more minutes--this will vary based on how well done you'd like your eggs.

9.  Once eggs are set to your liking, remove from oven.  You can dot each boat with butter, and add salt and pepper if desired.

*To make the dough with a mixer or by hand:

1.  Combine 2 cups of the flour, 5 teaspoons yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 teaspoons of salt in a large mixing bowl.

2.  Combine milk and butter in a saucepan; heat over low heat until butter is melted.  Allow the mixture to cool to 110 degrees F.

3.  Mix the milk mixture into the flour mixture until smooth.  Add remaining 2 cups flour, and mix until a soft dough forms.  Using a mixer with dough hooks, knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 10-15 minutes).

4.  Transfer dough to a large, greased bowl, turning to coat.  Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise until doubled, about an hour.

5.  Proceed with main recipe, step 2, above.


Please let me know in the comments how yours turns out!

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