Khachapuri sits on a white plate

This is a fairly easy recipe, listed as difficult only due to the inconvenient advance notice needed to source the special vegan egg yolk ingredients. The extra effort to make the vegan yolks with their runny centres – to fully replicate the egg traditionally cracked on the khachapuri at the end of baking – is well worth the gasps they elicit. Feel free to leave this step out, though. As cheese is the real star, below-average cheeses have nowhere to hide here. You’ll need to fork out for the extra good stuff, but you’ll be glad you did. Use a combination of vegan melty cheeses (like mozzarella) and tangy cheeses (like feta) to make a Georgian cheesy bread that’s engorgin’ and tastes absolutely gorge!-ian.

Makes 6


500 g (1 lb 2 oz) fancy vegan cheeses, crumbled or grated
1 lemon, cut in half
cracked black pepper, for sprinkling
3 tablespoons aquafaba, for brushing
chives, to serve
black salt (kala namak), for sprinkling

For the dough
7g (2 teaspoons) active dried yeast
125ml (4 fl oz) warm water
125ml (4 fl oz) warm plant-based milk
320g (11½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
¾ teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for greasing

For the egg yolks
80g (2¾ oz) carrot, chopped
1½ teaspoons olive oil 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
¼ teaspoon mustard powder
1/3 teaspoon sodium alginate
1/8 teaspoon black salt (kala namak)

For the setting solution 
1 teaspoon calcium chloride


To make the dough
Combine the yeast in a small bowl with the warm water and milk, and a pinch of the flour. Leave to bloom for a few minutes until frothy.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, garlic powder, sugar and salt. Make a well in the centre, then pour in the yeast mixture. Stir until combined, then press into a loose dough. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes, or use a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook on medium speed for 5 minutes. Gradually add the oil during the last few minutes of kneading. Lightly oil the bowl, add the dough ball, then cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise in a warm spot for 1–1½ hours.

To make the egg yolks
Meanwhile, get cracking on those egg yolks. Put the carrot in a microwave-safe dish, pour in 80 ml (2½ fl oz) of water, then cover and microwave for 5 minutes or until tender.
Drain, then allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add to a blender with the remaining egg yolk ingredients and whiz until smooth.

To make the setting solution
Dissolve the calcium chloride by whisking it into 750 ml (25½ fl oz) of water in a large bowl. Dip a dessertspoon into the calcium chloride solution, then use a teaspoon to heap some egg yolk mixture on top, until it forms a rounded egg yolk shape. Slowly lower the spoon back into the calcium chloride solution until the egg yolk floats. Carefully spoon more calcium water over the top, then repeat five more times to make six yolks. Leave the yolks in the solution until needed – but don’t prepare these more than a few hours ahead of serving, or the yolks may set completely hard.

To make the khachapuri
Flour a work surface generously, and keep it floured as you work. Punch down the dough, then divide into six pieces and roll each into a smooth ball. Working gently, pull and stretch each ball with your hands, into a 20 cm (8 in) round. Crumble the cheeses over one, squeeze on some lemon juice, then crack some pepper over. Roll in the edge to create a crust, with the cheese filling trapped inside. Grab an edge of the round and pinch it firmly together, curving slightly up to create a tapered end, like the bow of a boat. Repeat on the other end, curving in the opposite direction to create a large boat-shaped rim around the filling. Continue until you’ve made all the boats. Place each boat on its own square of baking paper, then cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.
Remove the oven racks from your oven, then place one rack about 20 cm (8 in) below the oven grill (broiler). Select an appropriate pizza tray that will conduct very high heat – pizza stones, baking steel sheets or dark-coloured metal perforated pizza baking trays are ideal; a large baking tray will work, too. Place the pizza tray in the oven, preheat the oven to its highest setting – 250°C (480°F) or higher – and turn the oven grill on.
Using a pastry brush, glaze the pastry edges of each khachapuri with aquafaba. Carefully remove the hot tray from the oven, load it up with the khachapuris, then bake for 2–3 minutes. Switch off the grill, then continue to bake for another 10–15 minutes, until the toppings are sizzling. (If your vegan cheese is being too resilient, brush water or oil over the top of it while in the oven to encourage melting.)
Remove from the oven and cool the khachapuris on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
Carefully rinse the egg yolks in a bowl of fresh water and lay one in the centre of each bread boat. Finely snip chives all over the top. Finally, sprinkle black salt directly on top of the egg yolk and the area around it.
These dreamboats are best served fresh and warm, so you can marvel in the ooze of the yolk as you crack in.

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