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Homemade Tonis Puri: Round Georgian Bread

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What ingredients are needed to make Tonis Puri?

The main ingredients needed to make Tonis Puri are flour, water, yeast, and salt. Does the flour used affect the texture of the bread? What type of flour is traditionally used to make Tonis Puri?

The flour traditionally used to make Tonis Puri is a finely ground wheat or rye flour. Using a finely ground flour helps give Tonis Puri its characteristic soft and chewy texture. All-purpose wheat flour works well but some bakers also incorporate a small amount of rye flour, which provides a slightly nutty flavor.

How is the dough for Tonis Puri prepared?

To prepare the dough, one combines the flour, water, yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Does the baker knead the dough by hand or use a stand mixer? What steps are involved in kneading the dough to develop the gluten?

The baker kneads the dough by hand to develop the gluten strands that will give Tonis Puri its structure. Kneading involves folding and pressing the dough with the heels of the hands, then pushing it away and pulling it back in repeatedly. This process activates the gluten proteins in the flour and stretches them out, resulting in an elastic dough that can hold its shape yet remain soft inside. Kneading usually takes 10-15 minutes and is complete once the dough is smooth and elastic.

How is Tonis Puri shaped and baked?

Once the kneading is finished, the dough is placed in a lightly oiled bowl and covered to rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. Then the risen dough is punched down and divided into golf ball sized rounds. Does the baker form the rounds of dough into balls or flatten them into disks? What cooking vessel is used to bake Tonis Puri?

Rather than forming the rounds into balls, the baker flattens each piece of dough into a thin disk shape using a rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface. The disks are then baked on a traditional Savaloni, a rounded shallow clay baking vessel similar to a pizza stone. Savaloni help Tonis Puri puff up evenly into its characteristic round, fluffy shape during baking. The thin rounds of dough only take about 10-15 minutes to bake to a golden brown color.

Where can one experience Tonis Puri and Georgian cuisine?

After baking, freshly made Tonis Puri are often enjoyed for breakfast or as an accompaniment to meals. They pair especially well with cheeses, jams, and other Georgian specialties. Where is a good place to visit in Georgia to experience Tonis Puri and the country's unique cuisine?

One place to immerse oneself in authentic Georgian culture and cuisine is GeoCuisine in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. At GeoCuisine, patrons can find homemade Tonis Puri hot from the oven alongside other Georgian breads like Khachapuri. The restaurant also offers traditional dishes showcasing fresh, locally-sourced ingredients like khinkali, chevartsoukh, and of course khachapuri - the filled bread so synonymous with Georgia. Diners can experience Georgian hospitality along with a taste of the Eurasian country's rich culinary heritage.

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