Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Bread (Khachapuri Style)
This khachapuri-inspired spinach and cheese stuffed bread made from scratch looks impressive and tastes amazing. The soft and chewy spinach, mozzarella and feta stuffed bread will please any crowd.
Right off the bat, I should say that this is a khachapuri-inspired recipe, and therefore not 100% traditional.
Khachapuri is a very popular Georgian (the country, not the peach state) dish that is basically baked bread and cheese. It usually comes in its most popular form, which is in a boat shape with an egg cracked on top.
Here in Vilnius, I had the pleasure of going to a Georgian restaurant and eating a type of khachapuri called megruli khachapuri. Since then, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and decided I’d try my hand at it.
So I found an amazing recipe for authentic megruli khachapuri. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any Georgian cheese in the supermarkets here.
So, I decided if I couldn’t use authentic cheese, then I’ll just throw authenticity out the window and make my own version: spinach and cheese stuffed bread.
The first change was the filling. The original seems to be just cheese, butter and egg. However, I love the Greek flavors of spinach, feta and garlic, so I decided to add that with a heap of mozzarella to make the filling. I also was missing some salt in the original dough recipe, so I added it based on my pizza dough recipe.
Although there are quite a few steps, they simply boil down to: make the dough, make the filling, get the oven hot, put it in, take it out and eat.
While I did play with the recipe a bit, I can say that I’m very proud of the outcome. I mean come on, look at this baby right here:
One thing I loved particularly about this khachapuri-inspired recipe is the puffy rise of the bread and its deep golden color. It is amazingly impressive when it comes out of the oven.
You can make one large bread, like I did, or two medium ones from the amount of dough.
In order to get that color, you need to rub egg yolk on the outside “ridges.” I imagine if you’d like a less brown color, you can add some egg white to the yolk or make a more traditional egg wash.
This is how the cheese stuffed bread looked before it went in the oven—a strong yellow rim with a cheesy middle:
And this is the golden deliciousness after the 15-minute hot-oven bake:
The cheese was extremely melty and just oozed from both the topping and the filling:
Makes you want to eat your screen, huh?
OK, so without any further ado, let’s see how you can make your own spinach and cheese stuffed bread—khachapuri style!
Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Bread (Khachapuri Style)
This Georgian khachapuri-inspired spinach and cheese stuffed bread made from scratch looks impressive and tastes amazing. The spinach, mozzarella and feta stuffed bread will please any crowd.
For the dough
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 330 g flour (2 2/3 cups)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp tsp sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 egg, whisked
For the filling
- 50 g spinach, chopped (1/4 cup packed)
- 200 g mozzarella, shredded (1.5 cups)
- 100 g feta, crumbled (2/3 cups)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 eggs
- 70 g butter (1/3 cup)
To make the dough
First we'll begin by adding the yeast to the warm water in a small bowl. Let it sit until creamy, about 7-10 minutes.
In a large bowl, add the flour, salt and sugar. Make a well in the middle and add the wet ingredients: oil, yeast-water, milk and egg. The original recipe made double the amount, so here we only need half of the egg, so make sure not to add the entire egg in there.
Starting from the middle of the bowl, first mix the wet ingredients and gradually mix in the flour, continuing until all the flour is mixed and you have a nice dough. It shouldn't be too wet or too dry. After it is all incorporated, cover with cling film and let it rest until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours.
Halfway through the rise, turn on the oven to the highest temperature. The oven needs to be hot, hot, hot. You can use a pizza stone or turn a baking sheet upside down in the lower half of your oven (but not at the bottom).
When it has risen, separate the dough from the side of the bowl and add a handful of flour and knead the dough inside the bowl. It should be soft and pillowy. If the dough is too wet, continue adding flour.
Form into a ball, remove from the bowl and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
To make the filling
While the dough is resting, combine the shredded mozzarella and crumbled feta. Remove 1/4 of the mixture and place it in a separate bowl and set aside. This will go on top of the bread.
In the larger bowl (with 3/4 of the cheese mixture), add one egg, 50 grams (1/4 cup) of butter, chopped spinach, and garlic and mix.
Putting it all together
Separate the remaining egg, saving only the egg yolk (you can use the egg white for meringues or a healthier omelette). Whisk it briefly in a small bowl and set it aside. It will be used to glaze the dough.
Place a large piece of baking paper on your counter and add some flour on top.
Now that the dough has rested, stretch the dough in a nice round shape and place it on top of the baking paper. Add the spinach and cheese filling in the center of the dough.
Fold up the edges around the filling and seal the dough. It should look like a ball. Now carefully flatten it by pushing down on the stuffed dough with your palms and finger tips. Make sure to create a lip or "ridge" around the edge of the dough, with a large "valley" in the middle where the cheese will sit.
Add the cheese in this "valley" and then glaze the "ridge" with the egg yolk. This will give the cheese stuffed bread a nice golden color.
The stuffed dough will be heavy. What I do is I slide the dough and baking paper on a sturdy cutting board, and then slide the baking paper and dough onto the pizza stone or upside-down baking sheet.
After about 5-7 minutes in the oven, the dough will puff up beautifully. Bake until the bread has a deep golden brown color and the cheese is brown and bubbling, about 15 minutes in total.
Remove carefully from oven by sliding the bread and baking paper on a cutting board. Take the remaining butter and slather it on the outside of the bread. You can slice immediately for the gooey cheese effect, or probably wait a few minutes so that you don't burn yourself.
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