Russian Peasant Cheese Quick Bread (Khachapuri)

Russian Peasant Cheese Quick Bread (Khachapuri)

This cheese-filled quick bread from southern Russia, is substantial enough to serve as an entree.

You need a total of 1 1/2 pounds cheese. For boldest, most authentic flavor, use 1 pound goat cheese. Traditional accompaniments include parsley, cilantro, or green onions, and dry, fruity white wine.

1/2 to 1 pound goat cheese, such as bucheron or montrachet
1 to 2 packages (8 oz. each) neufchatel cheese (if using 1 lb. goat cheese, use only 8 oz.)
About 3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 3/4 cups sour cream
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

In a large bowl, mix goat cheese and neufchatel until well combined; set aside. In a large bowl, mix 3 cups of the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add sour cream and stir until evenly blended. Gather dough into a ball and gently knead on a well-floured board until fairly smooth, 20 to 30 turns.

Divide dough in thirds; set aside 1 portion. On a well-floured board, roll remaining dough into a 14-inch round. Trim edges to make even; add scraps to reserved dough. Fold dough round in quarters; set in a greased 10-inch cast-iron frying pan (or other oven-safe frying pan). Unfold dough to line pan and extend beyond rim. Evenly pat cheese mixture into dough-lined pan. On a floured board, roll remaining dough into a 9-inch round; set on top of the cheese filling. Brush dough top with yolk mixture. Fold extended rim down over dough top, crimp, and brush rim with yolk mixture. Prick top in 12 places with a fork.

Bake in a 400 F oven until well browned, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, then run a knife between pan and bread. Turn bread out of pan onto a plate, then turn upright onto a rack; cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve in wedges, warm or at room temperature. If made ahead, cool completely; chill air-tight up to 2 days.

Makes 9 or 10 servings.

Source: Los Angeles Daily News & Sunset Magazine, 1987