This quick kajmak recipe is a satisfactory substitute for the traditional product, described below, which is rarely prepared anymore because it requires the use of unpasteurized milk which is becoming increasingly hard to find.
Traditional kajmak is a "new" (unaged) cheese made by boiling unpasteurized, unhomogenized (raw) cow's or sheep's milk and then pouring it into wide, shallow bowls known as karlice.
As the milk cools, the cream rises and forms a thin layer on the surface, which is skimmed off and placed in salted layers in a small wooden tub called a cabrica. The boiling and skimming procedure is repeated many times until the tub is full.
- 1 cup Bulgarian feta cheese (or Greek feta cheese)
- 2 cups sour cream (full-fat)
- 1 pound cream cheese (full-fat, softened)
- Press feta cheese through a sieve.
- In a large bowl, beat together sieved cheese, sour cream, and cream cheese until all the ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate.
- Let come to room temperature before serving.
How to Serve Kajmak
It's often served with with pogacha (simple white peasant bread) or corn bread (proja) or as an appetizer on flat bread (lepinja sa kajmakom). But you also will see it melted on the Balkan version of a hamburger patty (pljeskavica sa kajmakom) or simply tucked into pita bread with cevapcici sausages.
But don't count it out in simmered beef or veal shank meat (ribic u kajmaku) or in Karađorđeva Steak, created by Serbian chef Milovan Mića Stojanović.
Another way to serve kajmak is in popara, a dish made with leftover or fresh bread, hard cheese, kajmak and milk or water. It is a substantial meal often served for breakfast.
More About Kajmak
If you've never tasted kajmak, also spelled kaymak, it's hard to describe the flavor. Describing the texture is easy – it's light, fluffy and similar to whipped cream cheese. Only it doesn't taste like cream cheese. It tastes faintly of a stronger cheese but at the same time, it's sweet. Some compare it to clotted cream.
This new, unaged or fresh cheese, with a shelf life of about two weeks, is not only common in Serbia as an appetizer or served with bread instead of butter, but also in other parts of the Middle East, the Balkans, Iran, Afghanistan, India and Turkey, It just goes by different names.
When the kajmak is allowed to mature, it has a stronger, sharper salty taste and is yellow in color with a shelf life of about six months and is known as skorup. It is often used for a savory pastry (pita) known as gibanica.