Making Bread the Georgian Way

“If you wait for tomorrow to follow your dreams, by the time that you get there they’re gone.”

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One of the most fascinating things I have seen in Georgia is really quite simple – bread making – and I think the reason I find it so great is simply because I would never would have imagined that this is how the delicious bread I eat everyday is made.

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While staying in the small village we were in for two nights we got to visit the local bread shop (right across the street) since the fourteen year old boy we were staying with was working there for the summer. Though we had seen this process before, it was more interesting this time because we got the details (how many hours they work, how much bread they make…) and even got to try our hand at it!

First, they make an absolutely gigantic portion of dough which they lump into equal portions and then turn into nice little balls. From there, they make the balls long and flat-like in order to slap them onto the side of the giant furnace they are baked in. This isn’t an ordinary “stove” though, but rather a large barrel half in the ground with a fire burning at the bottom.

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The most extraordinary part of this whole process is when the guy goes in to slap the bread against the side because as he does so, his head enters into the barrel as his feet lift off the ground! (This isn’t always the case, we have also seen smaller bread making barrels where you can reach without literally jumping right inside). Then, magically, the bread sticks to the side as it cooks so when it’s ready to be taken out they use a stick with a hook to poke and drag it out.

Bread is a staple in the Georgian diet and often these bakeries run nearly 24/7 in order to meet the demand of a village. At this shop there was an older gentleman and a young man (the one pictured above) who took turns working nineteen hour shifts alongside their helpers, two local village boys (including our guy), who each only made five dollars a day for their work. In totally they usually sold about three hundred of these breads a day, half of which they sold for thirty cents straight from the shop, with the other half distributed to small shops around the area.

I really love how everything here is fresh, and if you don’t make your own bread, cheese, or yogurt, you can be sure that your neighbor does!

6 thoughts on “Making Bread the Georgian Way

  1. I find it very interesting that the bread oven in Georgia is similar to the Tandori oven in India. The flat bread sounds just line Nan! I never thought I would want to travel in Georgia but after reading of your experience I have a another country added to my list!

  2. I was thinking the same thing as the previous poster. The oven looks almost exactly like the Tandoors I saw in India and in Turkey, where I didn’t expect to see one at all. Not too surprised they are also in Georgia, good cooking techniques travel around the world. Now Georgia is on my list as well.

  3. Sounds amazing! In Kuala Lumpur I had a go at making fresh Naan bread with a Pakistani guy called Mohammed which was an amazing opportunity! This Georgian bread seems to be on the same lines of Indian Naan in terms of the prep! Thanks for the share the pics are savage! Bella 🙂

  4. Pingback: The Georgian Cuisine | A Wandering Nomad

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