Smažený sýr, also called "smažák," is very popular in the Czech Republic. It’s a classic found on the menu in nearly every restaurant. Czech fried cheese is easily made at home.
The basic recipe is simple. However, the secret lies in what cheese you use – no need to be scared of experimenting!
What Is Czech Smažený sýr?
Smažený sýr is a slice of hard cheese, about ½ inch thick, coated with flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumbs, and then fried in a thick layer of fat.
Fried cheese is meant as a main course, and either fries or various types of potatoes (boiled, mashed, crushed) are served as a side dish.
A traditional condiment is „tatarská omáčka“, Czech tartar sauce.
Coating Czech Fried Cheese
- Grab the slices of cheese, prepare the flour, whisk the eggs (use a fork) and put the breadcrumbs on a plate.
- Firstly, coat the cheese in the flour.
- Dip the flour-coated cheese in beaten eggs.
- Coat the egg-coated slice of cheese with the breadcrumbs.
- For a perfect result, repeat steps 3 and 4. The cheese will not leak out during frying.
- Fry the coated slices of cheese in a thick layer of fat in a pan, until both sides turn golden brown.
TIP: Dip the cheese in cold water before coating if you want the flour to stick to the cheese better.
What to Do When the Cheese Leaks Out
If you don‘t want the cheese to ooze out during frying, coat it twice in the beaten eggs and breadcrumbs – the crust will be thicker then.
I didn´t double the coating, you can see the sides of the ‘smažák’ have leaked out a bit – but it doesn´t affect the taste of smažený sýr at all!
- You don’t need to go to a restaurant to enjoy fried cheese, it’s often served as a street food – "smažený sýr v housce" (fried cheese in a bun).
- Tartar sauce is the typical dipping sauce served with smažený sýr. Make it beforehand so that it’s all ready when the cheese is finished.
- Slovaks, our south-eastern neighbors, know smažený sýr as „vyprážaný syr“.
According to IPA, smažený sýr is pronounced as [ˈsmaʒɛniː ˈsiːr].
Here is a short audio clip how to pronounce "smažák" and "smažený sýr":
Which Cheese Is Best for Frying?
In terms of taste and melting point, the most common choice of Czechs is Eidam (Edam) or Gouda. These are semi-hard types of Dutch cheese. The following types of cheese are also very well suited for coating and frying: Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Swiss Gruyère.
Smažený sýr - Czech Breaded Fried Cheese
- 4 slices hard cheese ⅓-1/2-inch thick (Gouda or Edam)
- ½ cup (65 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (120 g) breadcrumbs (dry)
- 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
- pinch of salt
- oil for frying
- Heat a thick layer of fat in a pan.
- Beat the eggs lightly with a fork, and add a pinch of salt.
- Get the slices of cheese ready. Firstly, coat the slice of cheese in the flour, then in the beaten eggs, and lastly in the breadcrumbs.
- Turn the pan temperature to medium and fry the coated cheese on both sides, each about 3-4 minutes until it turns golden brown.
- Serve the cheese immediately with a potato side dish and the tartar sauce as the condiment.
DISCLAIMER: Because I come from Central Europe, my recipes are based on metric units such as grams or milliliters. Check out how I convert metric units to the U.S. system:Conversion chart