Georgian cuisine falls into the category of those foods which, for some mysterious, unknown to anyone reasons, isn't popular all over the world. And it should be! Just look at it. It's a cheesy bread boat. I mean, what else is there to life?
- 175ml (3/4cup) water, heated to about 30-40C
- 175ml milk (3/4 cup), heated to about 30-40C
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 tsp of dried active yeast
- 1 tbsp of olive oil + a bit for greasing bowl/baking tray
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 500g of flour + a bit more if needed and for dusting
- 200g of feta cheese
- 250g of mozzarella cheese
- 4 eggs
- roughly 4 tbsp of slightly salted butter
- 4 tbsp of unsalted butter
- Damp tea towel
- baking paper
- baking tray
- rolling pin
- warm place
- First of all, this recipe involves yeast, which means you'll need to leave it to grow in a warm place. If - like myself - you live in Scotland (or other climatically challenged country), there is probably no warm place in your house. Every time I bake with yeast I sacrifice my electricity bill to the Bread Gods and crank up the heating to "sauna" setting. Or put the oven on and leave it ajar. I know, I know.
- The first step is to mix the milk and water in a large bowl. They need to be heated up (e.g. microwaved) to about 30-40C. If you do not have fancy kitchen equipment such as a food thermometer, fear not. There's a way. Stick your finger in it (the clean one). If it burns, it's too hot. If it feels like fresh pee, you're there.
- Add the sugar and mix until dissolved.
- Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and milk (do not mix in), cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes. The yeast should get a bit foamy. If it doesn't get foamy, try again from scratch.
- Add the 1 Tbsp of olive oil and mix in.
- Add half the flour and mix in with a spoon.
- Mix in the salt.
- Gradually add the rest of the flour, little by little, mixing it in with a spoon until it comes together. Transfer in onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Knead it for about 5 minutes, adding more flour if needed. It should be very soft and tacky, but not sticky. The dough should be really smooth, light and warm, kind of like strangling a boneless sphinx cat.
- Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for about 1h. It should double in size in that time.
- While the dough is rising, you can prepare the stuffing. Crumble up the feta and shred the mozzarella. Mix together. Well done, give yourself a pat on the back.
- Perheat the oven to 230C.
- Split the dough into 4 equal parts, and roll each of them out into an ellipse no more than a 1/2cm thick.
- Roll the sides up to create edges, and pinch the ends to create a 'boat' shape.
15. Place the boats on a baking tray lined with lightly greased baking paper. Bake for about 2 minutes, then take out and fill up with the cheese stuffing. Crack an egg into the middle of each boat and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or so, or until the egg white is *just* cooked and the dough is lightly golden brown.