Georgian Cheese Bread

When I saw the photo for this on the May 2008 Gourmet magazine, I knew I had to make it. How can I resist cheese? I’ve also been meaning to get into bread-making. I thought this would be a good start. Yes, I’ve made cinnamon rolls so many times, but it’s time to move on and progress towards my goals of baking a good French bread and soft pretzels.

This recipe was not one to disappoint as you can see. It smelled and tasted so good, and it has that rustic look and texture, it made us feel like we’re in the country as we drooled over it:

Georgian Cheese Bread

The dough was a bit of challenge to work with, I should warn you (or it could just be me, really). For my first time, I think I did good. I ‘cheated’ and used a rolling pin to flatten it out, instead of using just my hands. Having refrigerated the dough overnight, I was faced with a really tough dough.

Georgian Cheese Bread

You might be wondering how the cheese got ingrained in there. The two kinds of coarsely grated cheeses (I used havarti and fresh mozzarella chopped in the food processor) are lumped into one big ball — and you might cry when you realize the amount of cheese in there as you hold it, but carry on because this really is one mightily awesome food to reach your mouth — but as I was saying, so the ball is placed in the middle of the slightly flattened dough, then it’s wrapped and ‘tied’ at the top, then pushed back down to spread into an 11-inch disk. Makes sense? That was the most challenging part for me.

It’s baked for 10 minutes, then sprayed with olive oil and baked for another 3 minutes to brown. And then you’ll be rewarded with this:

Georgian Cheese Bread

I’m killing you now, aren’t I? Please, dig in!

Georgian Cheese Bread

You know what else you can use this dough for?

Pizza! Yup, I made this with parmesan, mozza, and turkey bacon. Great for snacks. The dough is comparable to the frozen pizza doughs you can buy, and reminiscent of Pizza Hut’s P-zone’s dough. Not too shabby since this doesn’t take a lot of effort as the other pizza dough recipes I’ve seen (and have been scared with).

Alright, after taunting you, here’s the the recipe:  [And Happy Friday!]

GEORGIAN CHEESE BREADDownload the PDF recipe for Georgian Cheese Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1/4-oz package) active dry yeast
  • 7 tablespoons warm water (105-115°F)
  • 1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 lb Havarti cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1/4 lb fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated (add 1/2 tsp salt)
  • olive oil (for spraying or brushing)

Preparation:

  1. Sprinkle yeast over warm water and stir in a tablespoon flour. Let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast does not activate, start over with new yeast.)
  2. Stir together salt and remaining flour in a large bowl, then stir in egg and yeast mixture to form dough.
  3. Transfer dough onto a well-floured surface and turn to coat with flour, and then knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form into a ball and dust with flour. Let the dough rest in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, punching down with a wet fist every hour, at least 2 hours and up to 3.
  4. Preheat oven to 500°F with rack in middle. Turn out dough onto floured pizza pan. Turn to coat. Flatten with your fingers into a 7-inch disk.
  5. Toss together cheeses and compact them into a 3-inch ball with your hands. Place ball in middle of dough, then gather dough up around ball of cheese, squeezing excess dough into a topknot. Press down on topknot with a damp fist to press cheese out from center. Continue to flatten dough and distribute cheese evenly, pressing outward from center, until dough is an 11-inch disk.
  6. Cut a 6-inch X through top of dough to expose cheese. Bake until pale golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Brush/spray surface of dough with olive oil and bake until golden and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes more. Serve cut into wedges.

Notes

Dough can be made 1 day ahead and chilled in bowl (for a slow rise), covered with plastic wrap. Punch down and bring to room temperature before proceeding with recipe.

If you are using a perforated pizza pan, be sure to have a baking sheet on the rack underneath it when you bake the bread. There might be cheese dripping through the holes. On that note, the cheese might burn so be ready for a smoky oven (and kitchen, and house…).

The cheese bread reheats well in the microwave for 20 seconds.

19 Responses to “Georgian Cheese Bread”

  1. Apollo says:

    Hi Joy,

    I just wanted to let you know that the Georgian Cheese Bread looked so delicious that I wish I could have just taken a big bite out of the screen and the pizza version of it looks twice as good. I really look forward to that this weekend and thanks for sharing this recipe (although it was a bit unfair to have to look at it and wonder if it tastes as good as it looks; just kidding). I really like your blog.

    Apollos last blog post..Bulls fool themselves once again…

  2. Rachel S says:

    Oh my goodness! You really should have put some kind of warning on this post. I nearly shorted out my laptop with the drool flood! :)

    Rachel Ss last blog post..Treasure of Southwest Texas

  3. Elle says:

    Oh my gosh–that looks fabulous and cheeeesy! I love havarti!

    Elles last blog post..Going Old School for the "Tastes To Remember" Blogging Event

  4. joy says:

    Apollo — I swear, if I can give this out to everyone who visits, I would! You’re welcome and I hope you’ll enjoy it. It’s fun to make, and doubly satisfying to eat. Thanks a lot!

    Elle — As cheesy as cheesy goes! To tell you the truth, I’ve never touched havarti until this recipe. Always learning something new. :)

  5. EAT! says:

    I love the addition of the havarti. This looks amzing and so cheesy. Even better than a pizza.

    EAT!s last blog post..Dinner # 101 Grilled Maple-Dijon Center Cut Pork Chops with Sweet and Sour Broccoli Slaw

  6. Kevin says:

    That cheese bread looks so good!

    Kevins last blog post..Roasted Asparagus and Red Pepper Farro Salad

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I swear I can smell that bread through the screen! And then when I got to the PIZZA photo? That looks so unbelievably good.

    Elizabeths last blog post..Four Foods On Friday

  8. Mark says:

    Putting pictures like that on a blog should be banned. I an sitting here slavering like a hungry puppy looking at that dish!

    Marks last blog post..A Greek Tragedy

  9. Manggy says:

    Well, you’re certainly making *me* hungry! That is awesome! (Don’t worry, I totally get your instructions :) )

    Manggys last blog post..Hispanis

  10. leigh says:

    this looks great – in a local indian restaurant we go nuts for a ‘cheese naan’ with our curries – it tastes great but we can neve replicate it at home. This looks pretty close and I think will satisfy our craving! nice one!

    leighs last blog post..Pork Pinwheels with Skylark Pale Ale

  11. My goodness, that looks sinful! I love bread with cheese… YUM!

  12. joy says:

    EAT! — Me, too. I actually didn’t think it would turn out as well as it did.

    Kevin — Thanks!

    Elizabeth — Haha. Mission accomplished. O;-)

    Mark — LOL. Sorry! You’ll just have to make it. :D

    Manggy — Hehe. Well your dishes make me hungry, too.

    Leigh — Thanks. Cheese naan? I haven’t seen it at the indian restaurants. I love that bread and I can almost taste it as soon as I read that. Haha. The dough isn’t similar to naan, more to pizza dough. But you own’t be disappointed with the cheese factor for sure.

    Patricia — It looks absolutely disgraceful for one’s diet. Haha.

  13. farida says:

    Joy, this is a great recipe! I love Georgian bread – Khachapuri! Georgia is Azerbaijan’s neighbor and our cuisines have been influenced by each other alot. We have a lot of similarities in our foods. Khachapuri is pretty famous in Azerbaijan. Street vendors in Baku sell them hot and that’s how I love it:)) Yum yum!

  14. farida says:

    Oh, got carried away and forgot to say how gorgeous your bread looks! Well done!

  15. rjleaman says:

    You had me at the first photo… Harvati and mozza! It’s gorgeous. I can feel my hips expanding just reading about it…

    rjleamans last blog post..Cat Desk Box

  16. joy says:

    Farida — Wow. Thank you so much for that information. I love stories behind food and this makes it much more meaningful. I’ve heard of Khachapuri before but I didn’t make the connection. Thanks!

    rjleaman – Thanks. The good thing is, you’re not really taking in the calories. :)

  17. Recipes says:

    Very interesting recipe to but i m confused about what is Havarti cheese can i use some other cheese like cheddar cheese instead of this?

    Recipess last blog post..Raw Mango Juice (Kairee Juice)

  18. gina says:

    This looks sinfully good!

    ginas last blog post..Roasted Asparagus – 0 pts

  19. OMG, sooo much cheese! That would probably kill me, but it’d be a happy death!

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