Kajmak, creamy milk product with its rich flavor is an infallible part of Serbian traditional cuisine. People usually eat it with grilled meat and roasted paprika, but kajmak is also a perfect sandwich spread. The word kajmak has Central Asian origins, possibly formed from the verb kayl-mak, which means melt and molding of metal in Mongolian.
The traditional method of making it consists of separating the upper layer of fat from cooked raw milk. First, milk needs to boil slowly, then to simmer for two hours over a very low heat. After the heat source is shut off, the cream is skimmed and left to chill for several hours or days. Finally, people put it in wooden vessels and salt it layer by layer. Kajmak has a high percentage of milk fat, typically about 60%. It has a thick, creamy consistency and a rich taste. It can be made of cow, goat or sheep milk.
The main ingredient of kajmak is water, but it also contains proteins, minerals and vitamins. The best kajmak is the one that has around 65% of milk fat. The most expensive kajmak is the freshest one which is only a day or two old. It can be kept for weeks in the fridge but it becomes hardened and not as tasty as the fresh kajmak. It can also be matured in dried animal skin sacks and this type is called ”skorup”. Kajmak can also represent the creamy foam in the traditional black Turkish coffee in Balkan.
It is usualy enjoyed as an appetizer, but also as a condiment. The simplest recipe is ”lepinja sa kajmakom” (bun bread filled with kajmak in Serbia) eaten for breakfast or as fast food. Other traditional dishes with kajmak include ”pljeskavica sa kajmakom” (the Balkan version of a hamburger patty topped with melted kajmak), as well as ”ribić u kajmaku” (beef shank, simmered with kajmak).