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Do the breadcrumbs on mozzarella sticks require that you wash or at least say mezonot or do we say that it's only used as a cooking agent and therefore you would make a shehakol on the cheese?

Is there a difference if the sticks are fried or baked?

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This is a famous discussion of ikar (principal) and tafel (accessory). Normally the bracha is on the ikar but mezonot is important enough that in some cases it might justify a mezonot bracha even if it is only the tafel. See for instance here and here for more background.

In the case of mozzarela sticks, if the crumbs are highly meaningful, and you eat the sticks for the crumbs, there might be a discussion of whether mezonot is justified. But if they are only to give an interesting crunch, then it is clearly sheakol. One of the meaningful differentiating element is the thickness of the coating - thin is very clearly sheakol - thick might lead to more question of mezonot.

The question is asked for schnitzels (breaded meat, where the crumbs are much more significant and part of the nature of the dish), and unless the bread covering is really thick, or you eat the shnitzel just for the crumbs, then the brakha is sheakol. See for instance here or Yalkut Yosef (Brachot, vol 3, pg 426).

So kal vakhomer for cheese sticks, there would be little justification for mezonot.

Closest direct analogy I could find is fish sticks being sheakol. See here and here

PS. Note that for schnitzels, a number of poskim agree that the correct theoretical bracha is mezonot, and suggest to pick a piece of breadcrumbs to say mezonot, but in practice most poskim agree the bracha le-maasse is sheakol. See references above.

PPS. No difference between baked or fried in this case - although it does make a difference for bread products, e.g., there is a long discussion by poskim re sufganiot/doughnuts on hanuka, since the dough is hala dough and it is only the oil and custom that justifies the usual mezonot on them.

  • Do you have a source for your claim about schnitzel and/or your kal v'chomer to cheese sticks? – Daniel Dec 21 '15 at 15:33
  • Working on them :-> but just reviewed this a few weeks ago – mbloch Dec 21 '15 at 15:33
  • @MichaelBloch, I remember reading somewhere that shnitzel is mezonot for sefardim. – Ani Yodea Dec 21 '15 at 15:37
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    The Kal VaHomer to me is surprising. I don't see why it's not a parallel case. – Seth J Dec 21 '15 at 16:00
  • @Ani Yodea no the machloket is much stronger for ashkenazim, R Elyashiv said mezonot, R Feinstein, R Yaacov Kamenetsky and others sheakol. R Yitzhak Yosef (Yalkut Yosef, Brachot vol 3 pg 426) the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel says sheakol – mbloch Dec 21 '15 at 16:00
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This site lists shehakol but doesn't list a reason. I assume that the cheese is considered the ikkar.

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