The Czechs have a very unique take on their topinky or fried bread slices. Delicious dense rye bread is fried on lard and immediately served with raw garlic cloves. They are a popular side dish to lentils and steak tartar. The best part is that they are usually served with peeled garlic cloves allowing you to add pungency to satisfy your own taste. Thus, today we present you with our easy recipe for Topinky or Czech fried bread with garlic.
Take the peeled clove and rub the cut end over the crispy bread; the sharp edges grate it nicely into a delicious garlicky spread. You’ll notice that it almost melts onto the bread and simply disappears into the nooks and crannies of the bread. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
You’ll have the worst garlic bread for hours after, but that’s nothing that a good Czech beer won’t cure. Or have a few and you won’t care what your breath smells like! ;)
- Hearty Rye Bread – A nice and heavy loaf, sliced
- 1 head of garlic, cloves all peeled
- Sadlo, duck fat, bacon grease, lard, shortening or oil
- Salt, to taste
It depends on how much topinky or Czech fried bread with garlic you are making for. If you are making 2 slices use 1 Tbsp. fat. If you will be frying up the whole loaf, you will want more like 1/2 cup of fat. It really depends. The trick to remember is that if you put the bread in when the fat is not hot enough, it will just sit and soak up the grease and you will have very greasy topinky. What you want is for the bread to dance on the pan, and kind of just float on the grease, so it doesn’t soak up too much of it. It takes some practice and trial and error to get it right.
I use a very heavy stainless steel pan and I turn the heat up to medium high. Remember, you want it hot – but not so hot the bread will blacken the moment you put it in.
Slice the bread approx. 1/2 inch thick. Some like it thicker and I have eaten 1 inch topinky – but I think 1/2 inch is perfect (for me).
I peel one large clove for each slice of fried bread, but then if I am making it for the whole family I always just peel the entire head of garlic. Later I can chop up the leftover garlic and add it to another dish.
When the fat is hot enough, place the bread into the sadlo (pork fat) or duck fat. (I’ve also made it on reserved bacon grease mixed with a little bit of store bought lard or shortening.)
Don’t move it around too much. Just set it and watch the edges. After about 2 minutes, use a fork and gently lift one side to peek at the color. You want it golden all around. When it reaches that color, turn it over and repeat.
When removing, place on some paper towels to mop up excess grease. That is, if you want the healthier version.
I actually usually take it from pan straight to plate because sliding the garlic clove over the greasy bread when it’s scalding hot creates another layer of creaminess to the garlic.
Then immediately place on serving platter with garlic cloves and some salt.
Let the party begin!
This is one of the easiest and most economical Czech appetizers or pub foods available. It’s delicious when you use older bread as well, so it’s the perfect us for your stale bread. Certainly, you will keep all vampires away!
Think of it as one delicious giant crouton that you want to nibble on all day long.
The Italians have Bruschetta, which is an antipasto from Italy consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt. Their variations may include toppings of tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, or cheese.
Czech bread is, of course, so superior to any other bread in the world that we don’t need anything else on the bread! (Though we do also have various toppings that take topinky to another level completely. Let us know in the comments below if you’d like to see some of recipes here as well.)
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