Czechia's humble houska ranked among world's top 100 bread products

According to Taste Atlas user ratings, the traditional Czech bun comes in just behind German pretzels and English crumpets among the world's best breads. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 15.10.2023 13:10:00 (updated on 15.10.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The unassuming Czech houska (which translates as 'bun') may not inspire much celebration among locals, but now it's achieved some global recognition. Users of TasteAtlas have ranked the simple Czech bakery staple among the world's top 100 breads.

The TasteAtlas rankings of the top 100 breads in the world incorporate ratings from around 10,000 users. The site gives additional weight to users its system recognizes as knowledgeable, and ignores ratings determined to be nationalist or locally patriotic.

The Czech Republic's houska currently sneaks in at number 95 on the TasteAtlas list of the world's top 100 breads as the country's lone representative. It comes in just behind some better-known European staples like English crumpets at 94 and German pretzels at 93. Note that the rankings are live and can change as new data is evaluated.

"Houska is a popular Czech bread roll, simple and small in size," the website states. "It is made with plain wheat flour, water, yeast, salt, and, occasionally, eggs. Before baking, it is usually braided and shaped into a plump circular form resembling a knot. The top is sprinkled with coarse sea salt, and either caraway or poppy seeds."

"Baked houska is light in color; it has a crispy exterior and a light, soft center. The roll can be bought in most Czech supermarkets and bakeries. It is often consumed for breakfast, when it is served alongside a variety of sweet and savory spreads, butter, or marmalade."

The houska is a staple found at most bakeries and supermarkets across the country. Other popular Czech buns and rolls include the rohlík, dalamánek, buchta, and loupák; read more about them in our roundup here.

It's worth noting that the TasteAtlas rankings specify the traditional savory houska, often topped with poppy or caraway seeds. The Czech Christmas favorite Vánočka, which is rolled the same way but larger, richer, and filled with raisins and topped with almonds, is also sometimes referred to as a type of houska.

What's the world's best bread? According to Taste Atlas users, as of writing it's Colombia's pan de bono, small doughy balls that are made with yuca flour, cheese, and eggs, and often served alongside a cup of hot chocolate.

Malaysia's roti canai, India's garlic butter naan, Iran's Nan-e barbari, and Brazil's pão de queijo, similar to the Colombian winner, also made the top five. Other notable breads in the list include the French baguette at number six, the Israeli challah at number 30, and the New York bagel at number 33.

While Czechia's houska may not have secured the top spot, it's addition to the list is a testament to the Czech Republic's culinary heritage, celebrating the simple joys of traditional bread in a global context.

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