Who's The Cheesiest?


Just in time to try and capture the Super Bowl crowd, Domino's Pizza is advertising their Stuffed Cheesy Bread and how great it is. Their claim is that they sampled cheese bread from all the other competing pizza joints and then made theirs even cheesier.

I've got news for you Domino's....my bread is even more cheesier than the cheesiest bread you could ever dream of creating! With a whopping 1/2 pound of melted mozzarella and Havarti oozing out of this, who could argue??

This recipe hails from a 2008 issue of Gourmet magazine and claims to be a close replica of a traditional bread from the Republic of Georgia (the country, not the state) called khachapuri. The combination of Havarti and mozzarella is similar to the salted cow's milk cheese called sulguni used in the Georgian version of the bread. Of course we Americans are notorious for putting our own "traditional" spin on things and serving this warm, cheesy goodness with marinara sauce or a garlicky butter sauce would no doubt make this an over-the-top Super Bowl game snack.

This bread is best right out of the oven but the dough can be made the day before and left to rise slowly in the refrigerator, so you can have a batch of this ready to bake just before kick off or during half-time if you want to avoid another display of total narcissism.


Georgian Cheese Bread
Serves 8

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (a 1/4-ounce package)
7 tablespoons warm water (105-115°F)
1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 pound Havarti cheese, coarsely grated
1/4 pound salted mozzarella, coarsely grated
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted

Sprinkle yeast over warm water and stir in 1 tablespoon flour. Let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast does not activate, start over with new yeast.)

Stir together salt and remaining flour in a large bowl, then stir in egg and yeast mixture to form a dough.

Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and turn to coat with flour, then knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form into a ball and dust with flour. Let dough rest in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, punching down with a wet fist every hour, at least 2 hours and up to 3.

Preheat oven to 500°F with rack in middle.

Turn out dough onto floured pizza pan, turning to coat, then flatten with your fingers into a 7-inch disk.

Toss together cheeses and press into a compact 3-inch ball with your hands. Place ball in middle of dough, then gather dough up around ball of cheese, squeezing excess dough into a topknot. Press down on topknot with a damp fist to press cheese out from center. Continue to flatten dough and distribute cheese evenly, pressing outward from center, until dough is an 11-inch disk.

Cut a 6-inch X through top of dough to expose cheese. Bake until pale golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Brush surface of dough with butter and bake until golden and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes more.

Cooks' note: • Dough can be made 1 day ahead and chilled in bowl (for a slow rise), covered with plastic wrap. Punch down and bring to room temperature before proceeding with recipe.

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