Imeruli Khachapuri Recipe: Georgian Cheese Bread

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by Maggie Turansky


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You will be hard-pressed to find a Georgian dish more famous than khachapuri. This gooey cheese bread has countless regional variations throughout Georgia from the distinctive Adjaruli khachapuri with its golden egg yolk and boat shape to Gurian khachapuri with its hard-boiled eggs and shape reminiscent of a calzone to Megruli khachapuri with its ample cheese piled on top.

While there are seemingly more varieties of this cheese bread than there are bottles of wine in Georgia (read: a LOT), it’s arguable the Imeruli khachapuri (also known as Imeretian khachapuri) may be the most popular.

Though it isn’t necessarily the most photogenic of the cheese-filled breads of Georgia, this recipe will help you recreate one of the most famous foods of this beautiful country easily in your own kitchen!

Homemade Imeruli Khachapuri
Cheesy Homemade Imeruli Khachapuri

How to Make Imeruli Khachapuri

The first step is to make the dough that you will eventually wrap around the cheesy filling. This is a super easy yeasted dough but you do need to make sure that you set aside ample time to allow for the first rise to get the results that you’re after — plan about 1-2 hours, though almost all of this is inactive time.

Start with blooming your yeast. Put some milk in a microwave and heat in the 10-second increments until it gets to about 40-45°C (104-113°F). Dissolve a bit of sugar in it and then stir in your active dry yeast and then set aside for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until your milk mixture gets very foamy and gives off a distinct yeasty smell.

Meanwhile, whisk some salt into your flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and crack one room temperature egg into it — it’s better if the egg is at room temperature because it will keep your entire dough at the same temperature and allow it to rise easier.

Pour some oil and your milk and yeast mixture on top of the egg and then mix with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Once you have a rough dough, turn it out onto a clean work surface (lightly dusted with flour if your dough feels a bit too sticky) and knead until the dough is smooth and just barely tacky — about five minutes.

Kneading the khachapuri dough
Kneading the khachapuri dough

Shape it into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl (to prevent it from sticking — and roll your dough ball around in the oil a bit in order to prevent it from drying out) and cover it with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled in size — about 1-2 hours depending on how warm your room is.

While your dough is rising, you can prep your filling and preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F).

To make your cheese filling, you’re going to want to use two parts of Imeruli cheese and one part of sulguni cheese. Try to see if you can find these cheeses if you’re not in Georgia — sulguni, in particular, is sometimes available in Russian/Eastern European shops that cater towards immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

If you can’t find these cheeses, you absolutely can sub in feta for Imeruli and low-moisture mozzarella for sulguni and get very similar results — it just won’t be as salty (which may be a good thing) and have a slightly different flavour.

Shred the cheeses on the large holes of a box grater and transfer to a small bowl. Crack an egg over the cheese and mix it all together until it’s homogenous — it should all effectively cling together when packed.

Next, lightly flour a clean work surface (don’t use too much flour or you’re going to struggle to get a good seal on your khachapuri), gently lift your dough from its bowl and pat it out into a circular shape. Using a rolling pin, roll it out until it’s about 25-30 centimetres in diameter (about 10-12 inches).

Rolling out the dough
Rolling out the dough

Pile your cheese in the middle of the dough and pat into a disk so that it is all even, leaving about 5-7 centimetres (2-3 inches) of dough as a perimeter. Fold the dough over the cheese and crimp to seal the cheese in the dough and then gently roll it out with your rolling pin.

Flip the dough over and keep rolling the khachapuri, using your hands to coax it into a circular shape if needed, until it reaches about 30 centimetres in diameter.

Folding the dough over the filling
Folding the dough over the filling

Using a sharp knife, make four 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) long slits in the centre of the dough in order to let steam escape. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until it puffed, lightly golden and crisp.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly for about 5 minutes before cutting into wedges like a pizza and digging in! Serve with a side of Georgian salad.

Homemade imeruli khachapuri

Imeruli Khachapuri: Georgian Cheese Bread

This Georgian stuffed cheese bread hails from the west-central Imereti region of the country. It's easy to make and one of the most common versions of this famous pastry found in Georgia. Less decadent than an Adjarian khachapuri, this is sure to be a hit with all those you serve it to.
4.9 from 10 votes
Servings 4
Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients
 

Dough

  • 75 ml ( cup) warm milk (about 40°C or 102°F)
  • 4 g (1 tsp) granulated sugar
  • 4 g (1 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 200 g ( cups) all-purpose flour
  • 3 g (½ tsp) salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

Filling

  • 200 g (2 cup) Imeruli cheese (see note)
  • 100 g (1 cup) Sulguni cheese (see note)
  • 1 large egg

Instructions
 

Dough

  • Dissolve sugar in milk and stir in yeast until combined, set aside until foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
  • Whisk flour and salt together in a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add egg, milk and yeast mixture and oil. Stir until combined and a shaggy dough forms.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead dough until smooth and slightly tacky, about five minutes, kneading in more flour if the dough is too sticky.
    Kneading the khachapuri dough
  • Transfer dough into a large, clean, oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and set aside at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, about 1-2 hours depending on how warm the room is.

Assembly & Baking

  • Grate both cheeses on the large holes of a box grater and combine in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg and stir until well combined and the cheese bind together, set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and position a rack in centre of oven. Gently deflate dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough in a circle until about 4-5 (1/4 inch) millimetres thick.
    Adding the cheese to the dough
  • Place prepared cheese filling in the centre of the dough circle, leaving about 8 centimetres (3 inches) in diameter on all sides. Fold remaining dough over the cheese until the filling is completely covered by dough.
    Folding the dough over the filling
  • Roll your rolling pin over the cheese filling, sealing it in and ensuring an even thickness of the crust. Roll out your khachapuri until it reaches about 25-30 (10-12 inches) centimetres in diameter. Cut four 2.5 centimetre-long (1 inch) slits in the centre of the dough, for steam release.
    Rolling out the khachapuri before baking
  • Transfer to oven for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned, crisp, and cooked through. Cut into wedges (like a pizza) and serve immediately.
    Khachapuri out of the oven

Video

Notes

If you can’t find Imeruli or sulguni cheeses, then you can substitute feta for the Imeruli and low moisture mozzarella for the sulguni. The texture and flavour will be largely the same.

Nutrition

Calories: 471kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 1542mg | Potassium: 173mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 530IU | Vitamin C: 0.003mg | Calcium: 417mg | Iron: 3mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

Tried this recipe or have questions?Click here to leave a comment!

As you can see, making Imeruli khachapuri isn’t a difficult task in the slightest and it’s one of the most rewarding baking projects out there — you really cannot go wrong with bread and cheese!

Are you a fan of Georgian cheese breads? Have any questions about this recipe? Let me know in the comments!

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Maggie is the creator behind No Frills Kitchen. She is a world traveller, home cook and recipe developer who loves to experiment with new cuisines and techniques at every chance she gets. No stranger to improvising and making do with the equipment and ingredients she has available, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. Read More

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