Perhaps not so surprisingly, baking ingredients was the first thing on my shopping list when it was time to go to the supermarket for the first time after moving to Brno. It was then that I realised I was going to have to learn some new Czech baking ingredient vocabulary pronto. There seemed to be a wide range of different flour with different labels and I had no idea which one was used for what…this was my baking nightmare.
Although it was a little puzzling and confusing at first, I soon learned that flour was sold in relation to the texture rather than the protein content. These textures came in four main types – each for a different purpose. Knowing this made it somewhat easier and before I knew it, I was back baking cookies and cakes again (phew).
If you’ve been confused and puzzled too, then this post is for you.
Let’s start with flour:
Firstly you’re going to need to know the word for flour which is mouka and remember as I mentioned above, the flour comes in 4 main different textures and are made from wheat flour.
- The finest grain you can buy is Hladká. Depending on which brand you buy, it typically has a protein content of 11-12g per 1kg (you can check the protein amount on the back of the flour packets. The word for protein is bílkoviny). I use this flour for cookies, pancakes, cakes, biscuits, brownies or anything that usually requires ‘all purpose flour’.
2. The second finest is a semi-course flour called Polohrubá. This flour soaks up a lot of moisture in baked goods and I use this for some cookie and bread recipes. It has a similar protein content to Hladká. This flour is also used to make koláč and Trdelnik which are popular Czech baked sweet treats (and not to mention delicious).
3. The third on the list is Hrubá which is coarser still. I have used this for making dumplings and for sprinkling over pizza bases before baking to prevent a soggy crust. This flour soaks up liquid like nothing else and I wouldn’t recommend this flour as a substitute for all-purpose flour.
4. And lastly is Krupice – the coarsest of all the flours, which has a very similar texture and look to semolina (this can also be used to sprinkle over pizza dough and to make dumplings).
(See below for notes on gluten free flour and others).
Sugar is cukr and is sold in several different forms:
- If you’re wanting sugar cubes, look for kostky cukru. You can usually find these in the baking section or coffee and tea section of supermarkets.
- Granulated sugar is called krystalový cukr or sometimes it is just labelled krystal on the sugar bag.
- Castor sugar is cukr bílý krupice
- Granulated brown sugar is třtinový cukr (see note below on soft brown sugar)
- Icing sugar/Confectioners sugar is called cukr moučka
Where to find:
Soft brown sugar (which is a staple ingredient in my baking repertoire, and please note is different to granulated brown sugar):
This is usually called přírodní třtinový cukr. This literally translates as natural cane sugar which is different again to raw cane sugar and muscovado sugar.
Tescos sell vanilla essence and favouring but if you want actual extract you can buy it from most bio/health food stores also like Sklizeno. Or better still, make it at home yourself.
Bulk baking soda and baking powder:
Jedlá soda (baking soda) and kypřící prášek (baking powder) are sold in 12g packets. I was informed recently that this is because traditional recipes like babovka are made with one 12g packet of baking powder. Makes sense. If you would rather buy it in larger quantities, you can do so at Mark’s and Spencers (in Olympia) and I have also been told that you can buy baking soda in big containers at Tescos (though I have never seen it there myself). I usually buy several 12g packets and empty them into a glass jar for easy storage and usage.
Unsweetened Cocoa and Dutch Cocoa Powder:
Embarrassingly this took me a little while to find. I’m used to finding this in the baking section of supermarkets in New Zealand but here they stock it in the coffee and tea section of the supermarket. Natural cocoa powder is kakao and dutch cocoa powder is Holandské kakao.
Usually the ground almonds that are sold in the supermarkets are coarse in texture and not as finely ground as preferred for recipes like macaroons. For finely ground almonds, head to M & S.
This is not a common baking ingredient among Czech bakers but you can buy it from the large Tesco stores (not the Tescos Express). I usually make my own with this ratio (1 cup of hladka/all purpose flour:1 tsp baking powder – whisked and sifted).
Gluten free flour:
If I’m baking something with gluten free flour, I usually buy Schär gluten free flour which you can buy from Albert, Tescos and (again) most health food stores.
Alternatively, you could make your own gluten free mix by blending any combination of: bramborový škrob (potato starch), rýžová mouka (rice flour) and tapioka mouka (tapioca flour) if you do lots of gluten-free baking.
A note about butter:
I had a hard time trying to find unsalted butter until a Czech friend told me that all butter is unsalted unless stated otherwise on the packet 😂
So whether you’re planning a visit to the Czech Republic soon or if you live here already and have been too afraid to venture out to buy baking ingredients, I hope this post has equipped you with a few new terms to help.
Is there something else you are still looking for? Or perhaps you have a few tips on how to find other baking ingredients? Either way, feel free to comment below and see who can help.
Thanks for the additional ‘flour insight’ from expats.cz when writing this post.