Whether you’ve visited Georgia or are just looking to bring a little Caucasian splash to your dinner – I promise you won’t regret this traditional Adjarian khachapuri recipe. I’ve been living in Tbilisi for just over a year now, and in that time, I’ve fallen head over heels for Georgian food. Grilled slivers of eggplant smothered in garlicky walnut paste, palm-sized dumplings jiggling with broth and herbed meat, smoked pork shashlik tossed in fresh pomegranate seeds and sliced onion – then, there’s bread.
What is Adjarian Khachapuri?
When I tell you Georgians love bread – I mean it. There is nothing they can’t do with a little bit of flour, water, and handwork. There are more than 50 (50!) distinct types of khachapuri, or stuffed bread throughout Georgia. The options are limitless from soft saucer-sized dough filled with mashed beans (lobio) to perfectly flakey herb and cheese stuffed bread (mkhlovani). Then, there’s everyone’s favorite – Adjarian Khachapuri aka a buttery, cheesy, eggy bread boat. The stuff of dreams.
Adjarian Khachapuri hails from Georgia’s Adjara region, an area that used to be known for some of the best sailors and fishermen in the country. The shape of the bread symbolizes the boats bobbing on shores of Ajara and the yolk on top? That’s the sun shining down on the sailors. In the years since Adjarian khachapuri was born, it’s become a staple on the Georgian table and a favorite among tourists and locals alike. I first learned how to make Adjarian khachapuri from a sweet old couple in Old Town and have since trialed it dozens of times – my husband hasn’t complained 😉
Special thanks to my lamazi megobaro(beautiful friend) Natalie who is from Batumi (in Adjara). She has given me loads of tips and tricks to ensure a delicious and authentic recipe and never fails to deliver on my tireless questions about Georgian traditions and food.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Dough: 2 cups of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of instant yeast, tsp of salt, teaspoon of sugar, 1/4 cup warm water, 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 1 egg
Filling: 2 cups fresh sulguni cheese, 2 cups fresh imeruli cheese, 3 tablespoons of matsoni, one egg yolk (for substitutions outside the Caucasus region see recipe notes)
Prepare the dough
Mix together dry ingredients for dough – mix in egg and add the rest of wet ingredients
Mix together until you can knead
Knead for 5 minutes until a smooth ball forms – place in a covered bowl and let rise the fridge for two hours.
Shape the boat
After your dough has proofed in the fridge, it’s time for the fun part! Roll out the dough to a rectangular shape. Should be approximately 2 1/2 feet x 1 foot – but any rectangular size will do.
Take wide edges (top and bottom in this photo ^^) and gradually fold them inward.
Pinch the left and right edges together and then spread open the center to make a ‘boat’ stretch and shape where needed to make desired shape
Now for the filling
Grate your sulguni and imeruli – add cheeses and matsoni to opening and mix with fingers.
Heat oven to 392F/200C. Bake in the center of oven for 10-12 minutes rotating halfway through. Remove from oven and add yolk in the center. Bake again for 1-2 minutes.
Serve piping hot & enjoy!
Once out of the oven, add a slab of butter and serve. Tear off an edge of the crust and swirl the mixture together to eat. Enjoy with khinkali, lobio, shashlik, and more.
Traditional Adjarian Khachapuri
- 2 cups flour (plus more for kneading) (dough)
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast (dough)
- 1 tsp sugar (dough)
- 1 tsp salt (dough)
- 1/4 cup warm water (dough)
- 1/2 cup whole milk (dough)
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil (dough)
- 1 large egg (dough)
- 2 cups sulguni cheese (grated)
- 2 cups Imeruli cheese (grated)
- 3 tbsp matsoni
- Mix together dry ingredients, add in warm water and milk, combine until kneadable. Knead for 5 minutes and add flour as needed.
- Cover dough and allow to rise for two hours in the refrigerator
- Once the dough has risen, roll out into a rectangular shape roughly 2 1/2 feet by 1 foot.
- Begin shaping the dough into a 'boat' - to do this, roll the wide sides in toward the middle and then pinch the ends together. After that, gently spread open the rolls and begin shaping the boat.
- Add the imeruli, sulguni, and matsoni into the boat and mix lightly with your fingers.
- Heat your oven to 392F/200C and bake in the middle for 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through.
- Take your khachapuri out of the oven and gently add the egg yolk to the center - bake again for 1-2 minutes.
- Once finished baking, add a tablespoon of butter on top, and serve hot.