Cheese bread. Cheeeeeeeeeese bread. Cheesy, cheesy, cheeeeeeeese bread. That’s what hachapuri is. Not something your cat coughed up, like one of my friends remarked when I mentioned it on Facebook. It’s a good thing I’m not easily put off my food, or she and I might have had a problem!
Tee hee hee! I couldn’t resist!
As you can probably tell by my recent posts, I looooooooove Nigella Lawson. Love. I also really like finding new foods in cookbooks that I might not ever be exposed to on my own. Like this one. It’s a Georgian cheese bread. Georgia like the country, not the state. I probably won’t ever get to travel to Georgia and there isn’t (as far as I know) a large Georgian community here in Maine. So it’s really cool to get to try something like this in my own little kitchen!
This is a really easy, quick recipe. Great for when you sorta forgot to start anything for dinner! Make the cheese bread, steam some veggies, brown some kielbasa and you’re golden! I really love this with my favorite meatballs and rice pilaf, and a big platter of roasted broccoli. Yum!
Note: I’ve given some, um, not precise amounts for the filling. I did this because the original recipe calls for 3 cups of feta. THREE CUPS! That’s a lot. Granted, it tastes fabulous! I don’t know about where you live, but here, feta can get kinda pricy when you’re buying quantities like that. So I tried just using a cup of feta and boosting the mozzarella from one cup to three. Still awesome, far less costly. I’ve tried using fresh mozzarella and the shredded stuff from the bag and there isn’t much difference in taste. The fresh mozzarella makes for a slightly more gooey filling, but it’s really not very noticeable. You can let your wallet decide – it’s still going to be fantastic!
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Feast
For the dough: 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
2 cups yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups flour
For the filling: 1 cup ricotta cheese
1-3 cups feta cheese*
2-3 cups mozzarella*
2 teaspoons dried oregano
*see note above
In your mixer, combine the butter, yogurt, and eggs. Mix very well.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Whisk to combine.
Add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture and use your dough hook to beat it into a soft dough. Add a little more flour if it seems too sticky to work with. (I don’t usually need to add much, if any. Maybe a tablespoon or two.
Rest the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, whip up the filling!
Add ricotta, feta, mozzarella, egg and oregano to a large mixing bowl and use your hands to really blend it together well.
After the dough has rested, pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Lightly flour a work surface and divide up the dough. You can make one big hachapuri, or 2 medium hachapuri, or 3 medium-small hachapuri, and so on and so on and so on. Basically, decide how many finished hachapuri you want and cut the dough so there are two pieces per hachapuri. You could make a dozen individual hachapuri if you wanted! They’d be adorable and delicious hachapuri! Are you sick of the word ‘hachapuri’ yet? I’m not sick of the word ‘hachapuri’ yet. . . okay, moving on.
Form each piece of dough into a ball. Using a rolling pin or your hands or a combination thereof (that’s usually what I do) roll/stretch the dough until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. You don’t have to worry too much about the pieces ending up as perfect circles. Any circularish shape will do. (Yes, I know that’s not a word.)
Lay one circularish piece of dough on a baking sheet, spoon some filling into the center. Again, the amount of filling you use is going to depend on the size of your hachapuri. Really though, you can’t go wrong. You can’t really overstuff one, and if you go the other way and it’s a little lean on cheese, well, only you will know ;) Just kinda eyeball it to figure out how much you’re going to need for each hachapuri.
Place a second circularish piece of dough on top and roll the bottom piece up over the edge of the top piece and work your way around the hachapuri, pressing to seal as you go.
Lather, rinse, repeat with how every many hachapuri your little heart has decided on.
Pop in the oven and bake for 20ish minutes. A large hachapuri is going to take longer than a mini one. Just keep checking on it. It should be a nice golden brown when it’s ready!
If your hachapuri should ooze some cheese while it’s baking, fret not. Just scrape away the cheese when you take the hachapuri out of the oven, it won’t continue to ooze, so probably no one will even notice. And of course, someone is going to have to eat that awesome bite of cheesiness!
Let cool about 10 minutes and enjoy!