"Knedliky Etc" has recently relauched as "Dobrou Chut'!"

You should be automatically redirected in a second or two. If not, please go to
and update your bookmarks.

Hopefully see you there!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


It’s been a fair few years in the Czech Republic for me now, and in that time I think I’ve pretty much successfully acclimatized to Czech cuisine, even if I don’t tend to eat it on a regular basis. I love a good svíčková or guláš for dinner (not lunch – eating big in the day is one Czech habit I just can’t get used to). My all-time favourite Czech dish is stuffed dumplings savoury or sweet, and I’m eternally grateful that I reside in a country where it is considered acceptable to consume the latter as a main course. I even light-heartedly named both myself and this blog after the humble knedlík, though admittedly have yet to feature this culinary namesake in any actual entries - it’s just too hot at the moment for traditional heavy Czech stodge. Winter will be a different story though!

But the one culinary aspect of life here I will probably never fully understand is the ongoing Czech love affair with the humble rohlik.

When I first started here, I marveled at my one Czech colleague’s ability to turn up to work in the morning with a bag of half a dozen rohliky and slowly but surely munch his way through the lot over the course of the day – a large lunch in the local hospoda notwithstanding. I now, of course, realize this is common practice here. A Czech Facebook page set up in honour of the rohlik has attracted 7,515 fans and counting, while the the so-called "Angličký Rohlik" topped with melted cheese and ham has garnered an even greater fanbase, with an impressive 9,005 signed up at the time of writing. PragueGinge and GirlinCzechland both report regular altercations with Czech other halves in the Albert bakery section should they have the temerity to wish to spend an extra crown or two on a nice multigrain bap or other such hedonistic dough-based goods instead.

Personally I have always considered rohliky a borderline “foodstuff” consisting of nothing more than glorified sawdust and air – in short, a chewy, rubbery pretender to the baked goods crown. And no – I don’t mean rohliky fresh out of the oven lovingly hand-crafted by Babička; I am referring here to your bog-standard Albert / Tesco / Billa shop-bought rohlik at 1kč a pop. When fresh baked Czech rye bread is so nice and almost equally inexpensive by comparison, I’ve always just thought – why bother? (Unless you are trying to keep baby occupied while you do you grocery shopping of course, going on to retrieve the drool-covered stump at check-out in order to pay...)

Anyway, in the interests of culinary adventurism and cultural assimilation, yesterday I dedicated all my meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner to the unassuming rohlik.

Kicking of my day of bready-based experimentation, snídaně yesterday therefore consisted of rohlik and strawberry yogurt.

An odd combination maybe, and one that I wasn’t expecting to particularly like. Surprisingly though, I actually found it really worked, with the creaminess of the yogurt successfully counteracting the otherwise dry chewiness of the rohlik itself. That said, this is coming from the girl who used to take cheese and jam sandwiches into school for lunch, so admittedly my judgment in terms of what foods go with what is somewhat questionable here.

For lunch I had rohlik with šunka and sýr – on top of course rather than in the middle.

Bleh – far too dry. Though bought earlier that day, the rohlik tasted predictably stale and chewy, despite the valiant effort by the otherwise blameless cheese and ham to redeem it.

Later for dinner, I stopped off at the Anděl sausage stand for a párek in a rohlik with mustard squidged down the sides.

Again, this was surprisingly ok – the outside of this particular rohlik was actually nicely crusty rather than rubbery and dry, and the sausage and mustard moistened up the inside nicely. It certainly wasn’t the worst 15kč I’ve ever spent at any rate.

My conclusion after a day on the rohlik diet?

My opinion is that rohliks are just about acceptable when served with some type of moist topping or filling, such as yogurt or soup, to detract from the otherwise characteristic dryness and utter lack of flavour. Apart from that though - beyond the obvious price-tag - I still just don’t get the appeal – sorry!!

The Czechs have a famous saying that “beer is liquid bread”. I can only assume here that what with all the admirable national efforts put into the fine art of brewery over the centuries, the bakery of actual “solid” bread has in this respect correspondingly fallen by the wayside.

As for me, I’ll pass on the rohlik for now – but I’ll take a Gambrinus please… ;-))))


  1. Take some real beer, Gambrinus is so called "eurobeer". I suggest beer from some local brewery such as Svijany, poutník, Bernard, ....

  2. Houska nad rohlík are no more the good stuff they used to be, just some kind of neutral matter pressed to a similar shape. I almost stopped eating them. But the good, fairly made ones... mmmm! :)

  3. Lunch should have been with BUTTER, ham and chees and all that INSIDE of rohlik :-) Then it would not be so dry ;-)

  4. That would be the English way, not the Czech :-))

  5. you have to try a good rohlik, not the ones from albert, tesco etc... unfortunatelly i dont know where to buy one in prague:/

  6. I absolutely agree with that you need to try GOOD rohlík. Usually bigger, topped with coarse rock salt and cumin(caraway seed). Rohliky in those super/hyper-markets cannot by salted, because salt attracts moisture and so the good can't last long enough for this big markets.

    Just look at some small bakery shop, there should be some in ANY town.

    And for the butter case - Rohlik is definitely traditionaly eaten with butter. Butter and jam/marmelade, butter and beacon(thin sliced), butter and everything! Just todays craziness for (so-called) healthy food may skip butter and results in a dry and boring "rohlik+cheese"

  7. Yes I agree with what was written above.
    Instead of ordinary butter you could try vegetable butter (like Alfa for ex.). I like it more this way, it's not so fatty. And of course INSIDE the rohlik :) Czechs eat it this way (only some lazy men don't bother to slice it or it's used for dipping when other instruments are not available).
    The dryness of rohliks depends heavily on how you store them. They are not so chewy when they stay in good binded igelitka.

  8. Being the son of a baker back in Denmark, I have simply given up on Czech bread. I bake my bread myself, and leave the rohliky to my boyfriend who seems to enjoy them, even if they were bought one or two days before consumption

  9. Try the crispy "Pivní rohlík", it can be bought even in Interspar: http://www.pivak.eu/Neco_o_pivaku
    Really differs from the rubbery x-market disaster :)

  10. Just to correct:
    Czech dont use cumin on rohliky.Its usually caraway seed which is a completely different spice tastewise.Actually we dont use cumin on anything as far as I know.

  11. Well this is a turn up for the books. On a good day site traffic to Knedliky Etc is between 300 - 500 hits per day. Write about rohliky, however, and it suddenly skyrockets to just off 2,000... If I'd known posting about everyday groceries would prove so successful, I'd have saved myself lots of money and stuck to blogging about milk and potatoes etc instead!!


  12. Try to find a shop where they sell rohliky made in Horovice bakery. This is a good usual Czech rohlik. Then prepare your meal: cut a rohlik horizontally in two long slices, spread butter on the lower one, and add a slice of ham and cheese. Cover with the upper slice of rohlik and roll everything into a food plastic foil. Make more pieces since one is not enough. Then put your filled rohliky into a bag and go for a trip, to the zoo or swimming-pool. After several hours in your bag, foil-wrapped, it has the right taste. Then taste it and you will never stop to love it.

  13. I think the web traffic is thanks to Mr Cuketka, he posted your entry at his website. Fun reading anyway. And, by the way, I prefer rohlik with butter ON TOP... don't let yourself be daunted by the INSIDE camp!! :-)

  14. Ahhhh that explains it :-)) I did think it was a bit random! Thanks Mr Cuketka!

  15. You need to cut the rohlik in half horizontally, then put good butter and jam on both of the slices and eat them separately. Yum!

  16. Rohlíky aren't usually eaten separately. The usual way is to halve the rohlík lengthways, then spread both halves with butter and then put cheese, ham, marmelade or anything else on the butter. In these days some people prefer margarine to butter because they think it's healthier. The halves are eaten separately unless it's packed rohlík for a snack - children usually prefer rohlík to chleba, because it's sweeter.

    I eat rohlík with soup when it seems to me to be hot or when it's too oily or watery or peppery or when it doesn't taste very well and I still want to eat it. I don't know if the others have same reasons as me.

    The other reason to eat rohlík or chleba with soup in the pub is when you want to eat some cheap but hot food - you then won't buy the main meal. When speaking about economizing - chleba is not only cheaper but it fills you better than rohlíky.

    What I've heard, the multigrain baps in the supermarkets are dyed not to be so pale instead of being made from wholemeal flour. You should definitely try some rohlík baked at your local pekárna - the taste is remarkably different than the taste of the supermarket's 1Kč one.

    However, rohlíky are good if you are recovering from indigestion - you then eat just old hard rohlíky with non-sugared tea. Unless anybody in the family is having indigestion, the old hard rohlíky are grated to strouhanka and used to make řízky. And the most important thing for you - houskové knedlíky are - despite of their name - prepared from rohlíky!

  17. One thing I'll say in favour of rohliky: the non-caraway ones are great if you've got a crook stomach, seeing as they have no fat, fibre, acidity or indeed flavour.

  18. I miss the good old rohliky from my childhood. What is now sold in the supermarkets doesn't deserve its name. I stopped eating rohliky several years ago after a series of bitter disappointments over their quality. I remember having them as an afternoon snack on a summer children camp together with a chocolate bar.
    And I join the camp of insider - ham, cheese or jam goes inside the cut rohlik. But inside or on the top, there always must be butter.

  19. Why do the Americans eat yucky McDonald's hamburgers? Because they ate good hamburgers in the past, they find it normal to eat hamburgers and they understand you sometimes have to compromise. Why do the Czechs eat yucky Kaufland rohliks? Because they ate good rohliks in the past, they find it normal to eat rohliks and they understand you sometimes have to compromise.