Liptauer spread (Körözött)

Named after the curd cheese of Liptov, in today's Slovakia, Liptauer is an orange-hued spread favored by people across the former Austro Hungarian Empire. While many variations exist, the mixture almost always includes sheep's milk curd cheese (juhtúró), butter, paprika, minced onions, and caraway seeds. The version below rounds these out with sour cream and mustard for a creamy consistency and flavor boost. If in doubt, cold lager is always a good companion to körözött-slathered sourdough.

Ingredients

Yield: enough for 5-7 regular slices of bread; Total time: 10 minutes

  • 50 grams (¼ cup) sheep's milk curd cheese (juhtúró)

  • 170 grams (¾ cup) Hungarian túró or cottage cheese

  • 110 grams (1 stick or ½ cup) butter, melted

  • ½ onion, minced

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika

  • 1 teaspoon ground or whole caraway seeds

  • 2 teaspoons mustard

  • Salt to taste

  • Slices of crusty bread

  • Sliced bell peppers, tomatoes, and scallions for garnish

Directions

  • Step 1: In a mixing bowl, using a spoon, mix together all ingredients: sheep’s milk cheese (juhtúró), cottage cheese (túró), minced onions, sour cream, paprika, caraway seeds, and mustard. Don't add any salt at this stage.

  • Step 2: In the meantime, melt the butter in a pan (or microwave) over medium heat, then pour it over the körözött mixture. Stir until all parts are well integrated and the körözött has taken on the red hue of paprika. Add more sour cream if you'd like a creamier, more túró if a more solid texture. Taste and add salt if needed (the sheep's milk cheese is already salty).

  • Step 3: Serve with slices of fresh or toasted bread and garnish with sliced bell peppers, tomatoes, and scallions.

Words of advice

(i) People who don’t like the sharp taste of sheep’s milk cheese can make körözött with cottage cheese (túró) only. (ii) Many recipes also call for anchoy paste and capers but they are polarizing foods. (iii) The leftovers will keep well in the fridge for several days.

I created these recipes with the help of nearly a dozen historical Hungarian cookbooks, adjusting ingredients, cooking times, and methods to reflect my own preferences and tastes of the current day.