The dough for Megrelian khachapuri was once only kneaded with milk or the whey left after making cheese, along with a little bit of salt and oil. Sourdough was used as leaven and the dough was supposed to be unquestionably soft. It was left to rise in a warm place and would be ready to bake after 30 to 40 minutes.
Livestock-rearing and cattle droving have been major occupations in Samegrelo for as long as anyone can remember, so dairy products were plentiful in nearly every family. The cheese for khachapuri would have been made the night before and the dough would be kneaded in a nisori, or Megrelian bowl used normally only for pastries.
Megrelian khachapuri uses two varieties of cheeses. It was generously filled with fresh, ripe cheese, and a layer of dough, called ghanda in Megrelian, would be placed above it. Then sulguni cheese slices or sulguni grated with egg yolks would be layered over the top. The khachapuri was placed on a large covered pan, called angora, with laurel cherry leaves layered below it. Then it was covered with tin, embers placed around it, and, after a few minutes, it was ready to serve!
Over the years, the form of Megrelian khachapuri has become more convenient and modern. Now the cheese is put into the dough, closed, and flattened evenly, with cheese (usually sulguni) mixed with egg spread over the top, then put into the oven and baked on high heat. Top it off with a dollop of butter.
Ingredients for one moderately-sized khachapuri:
200 g flour;
70 g butter;
200 g cheese;
Milk (to knead the soft dough in);
1 tsp yeast;
A pinch of salt and sugar.
Crumble the fresh cheese for the filling and grate 100 grams of sulguni to add separately. Put 200 grams of fresh cheese into a bowl and mix it with one egg and 50 grams of butter, using a wooden spoon.
Knead the dough in warm milk while some yeast dissolves into it, so that it becomes soft and flexible, easily molded with the hands. Then cover it with a towel and leave it to rise. 25-30 minutes later, form the cheese into balls and flatten them. Put the filling in the center of the dough, close it up, turn it over, and flatten it very carefully. Also, ensure you leave a small hole for the smoke to escape.
Mix the grated sulguni with the egg yolk and spread it over the surface of the khachapuri.
Put a small amount of flour on a baking tray, place the khachapuri on top of it, and bake it in a closed oven between 200-220 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes. After baking it, put the remaining 20 grams of butter on top, take it out, and let it cool for 5 minutes before cutting it.