Khachapuri, version II (Georgian Cheese Bread)

This is a golden yeast bread. Should be cut into wedges to serve.

Serves 8 to 12

3/ 4 cup of milk
1 1/ 2 packages (4 1/ 2 teaspoons) of active dry yeast
1/ 2 teaspoon of honey
6 tablespoons or 3/ 4 of a stick of butter, at room temperature
1/ 4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 3/ 4 teaspoon of salt
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 pound Muenster cheese
1/ 2 pound of cottage cheese
3 eggs
1 tablespoon of melted butter

Heat the milk to lukewarm (105°F.). Dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/ 4 cup of milk. Set aside to proof for 10 minutes, then stir in the remaining milk. Add the room temperature butter, the ground coriander seed, 1 1/ 2 teaspoons of salt and flour, mixing well.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth an elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning the dough to grease the top. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 1/ 2 to 2 hours.

To prepare the filling, grate the Muenster cheese. In a medium bowl, with a wooden spoon, cream the cottage cheese. Stir in the grated Muenster until well blended. Beat the eggs and stir into the cheese mixture along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon. Beat until smooth and light. Stir aside. When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and then let it rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes. Punch down and divide into 3 equal parts.

On a floured board, roll each piece of dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Grease three 8-inch cake or pie pans. Place in the center of each pan the punched down dough.

Divide the cheese mixture into 3 equal parts. Place 1/3 of the filling on each circle of dough, heaping it in the center. Then begin folding the edges of the dough in toward the center, moving in a clockwise direction, allowing each fold of dough to overlap the previous one, until the cheese mixture in completely enclosed in the pleated dough. Grasp the excess dough in the center of the bread and twist in into a type of a knot.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Let the breads stand for 10 minutes, then brush with the melted butter. Bake for 45 minutes, or until browned. Slip the prepared cheese breads out of the pans and serve hot or at room temperature.

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