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"Gryphon" - Georgian Cheese Bread (Khachapuri)

action-adventure thriller buchman

Miranda Chase #14
Chief Kancheli’s secretary nodded for him to proceed up the stairs. Tamar was a deceptively attractive woman with a model’s flow of brunette hair, a particularly fine chest, and a notorious reputation for being utterly vicious. Rumors about her ran the gamut, all the way to castrating her lovers after their one night with her so that they could never find pleasure with another. He’d never heard her speak, didn’t even know if she could despite working here for years.
Vasil did know, from the time that he’d dropped a folder to the floor out of pure nerves, that she had an MP5K short barrel submachine gun slotted under her desk close by those lovely long legs. He always made sure to treat her with the utmost respect.
He checked his watch, 0800 exactly. If nothing else, Kancheli was punctual.
Two men were in his office when Vasil reached the head of the stairs. They each had coffee and the remains of a Khachapuri. The malty smell of the cheese-and-egg bread boat made him wish he’d been able to eat. He’d skipped breakfast because he didn’t want to barf from pure fear during this meeting.
“Ah, Vasil,” Chief K waved him over. “There is someone I want you to meet. He’s a great admirer of your work.”

Note: The national dish of Georgia (the country), often used to welcome guests into homes. There are many regional variations—most of which we found a little grainy, from the traditional ricotta, and a little bland. So this is our own twist on Khachapuri.
Variation: Drop all of the spices. Instead use 1-2 tsp. dill and 2-3 tsp. Everything Bagel topping. (add no extra salt as most Everything toppings contain a lot)
Active time: 1 hour / Cook time: 30 minutes / Total time: 2-3 hours / Serves: 4
Ingredients for Dough (or use store bought)
If using store-bought dough, add coriander and any malt into the filling instead.
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp. sugar or 1 tsp. malt powder or 1 Tbsp. barley malt syrup
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. instant or active dry yeast
  • 2-3/4 c. (330g) bread flour
Ingredients for Filling (Combine all. Beat or pulse lightly in food processor. Set aside.)
  • 2 c. mozzarella or Muenster cheese, shredded
  • 1 c. feta cheese, crumbled (or dry blue cheese or goat cheese)
  • 1 lg. egg
  • 2 Tbsp. bread flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dill
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
Egg wash – 1 lg. egg, beaten (optional)
  • 4 lg. eggs (cold)
  • 4 tsp. butter
  • 1/2 lb. spicy Italian sausage or bacon, fried and crumbled (non-traditional)
  • 2 Tbsp. chives, finely chopped, and/or more parsley
The Dough
  1. Heat butter and milk until melted (in a pan or microwave).
  2. In a large bowl, combine: sugar (or malt), coriander, and salt.
  3. Pour in milk and butter, stir to dissolve, and cool until lukewarm (or it kills the yeast in the next step).
  4. Mix in flour and yeast. It will be shaggy and sticky. Cover and rest 10 minutes.
  5. Knead (6 minutes in mixer, 10 minutes by hand). Can add 1-2 Tbsp. flour if too sticky.
  6. Place in greased bowl. Cover and rise for 1 to 1-1/2 hours until nicely risen (1-1/2 to 2 times in size).
  1. Prepare two baking trays with silicone mats or parchment paper. Dust with flour.
  2. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces (about 150g).
  3. Roll (or simply stretch by hand) into a 6” x 10” ovals and place on prepared baking trays. Handle lightly to avoid knocking air out of dough.
  4. Brush lightly with olive oil, then rest of 15 minutes.
  5. Spoon 1/4 of cheese mixture into middle. Leave 1” (first thumb joint) clear area around the edge.
  6. Fold the dough edges up and over the outer edge of the cheese mixture. Then pinch and twist each end to make a boat shape—like a pointy oval.
  7. (Start oven now.) Rest 20 minutes. Should be puffy, but not doubled in size.
Cooking and Garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Set two racks near the center (but with enough separation for bread to rise).
  2. Brush the exposed dough with egg wash.
  3. Bake 12-14 minutes until set but still pale, not browned at all.
  4. With the back of a soup spoon, make a 3”-wide divot in the center of the mixture.
  5. Scatter cooked Italian sausage or bacon bits (if used) around the divot.
  6. Crack an egg into the divot. Top with a pat of butter and sprinkle with chives.
  7. Bake 6-8 minutes more (soft eggs), or 10-12 (firm eggs).
  8. Serve warm. Salt and pepper to taste.
Filled, and rough fold. Dough should be more oval-shaped than rectangular like these. Kinda boat shaped. This one had the meat blended into the filling, but we think it’s better on top with the egg. Only parsley atop this one, chives were in filling but better on top.

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