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What Is Kaymak?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Similar in texture and appearance to clotted cream, kaymak is a dessert cream that is popular in many countries in the Middle East and the southeast portion of Europe. Kaymak can be made using milk from cows or water buffaloes. While commercial versions of kaymak are available, many people prefer to produce the cream at home.

Making kaymak involves bringing the whole milk to a boil slowly, then allowing the milk to simmer over a lot heat for approximately two hours. Once the milk is removed from the heat, the cream on the top of the milk is skimmed off and allowed to cool over a period of time, which may range from a few hours to several days. The skimmed cream contains a high concentration of milk fat, which acts as a thickening agent. When prepared properly, kaymak tends to have a taste that is slightly sour, but still pleasing.

Kaymak was once a highly popular dish in Turkey, although the usage has declined in recent years. The thickened Turkish cream is still often used as a topping for the strong Turkish coffee, and occasionally is utilized as an appetizer or as a topping for bread. The Turkish cream version of kaymak can also be used with various types of hot tea as well. Elsewhere in the Middle East and parts of Europe, kaymak continues to be popular as a breakfast treat that is served with bread, as well as use as a condiment with different types of breads. In countries such as Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, kaymak is often served with pastries and as a filling in pancakes. In many cases, kaymak can be substituted in a number of recipes that call for clotted cream or the popular French crème fraiche.

While there are some versions of mass-produced kaymak on the market today, the production is relatively low and not generally considered the best quality. Kaymak can be produced in the home with relatively little difficulty. Persons who want to create kaymak in the home can find recipes that are simple to follow in cookbooks that deal with Middle Eastern cuisine. The Internet is also an excellent source of recipes for producing kaymak, as well finding recipes that use kaymak as an ingredient.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including DelightedCooking, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By ddljohn — On Mar 16, 2011

I think restaurants that specialize in breakfast foods make the best kaymak. A friend of mine told me about this place where they had kaymak and honey for breakfast in Istanbul.

He said that it is such a different kind of cream because it's not exactly solid and it's definitely not liquid because they usually cut it into rectangles for serving. They use buffalo milk and roll the cream into its shape to get the right consistency. But this cream is said to be very high in cholesterol because it's made of whole milk. It's sort of like eating a fresh and fluffy version of butter.

I read that during the Ottoman Empire, kaymak was eaten everyday for breakfast with jams and honey on bread. I think they put it on top of many desserts too, kind of like we do with whipped cream.

By burcidi — On Mar 14, 2011

I've taken the fatty part of boiling milk to make kaymak but it doesn't quite taste right. The consistency is a little uneven, not like the kind I've seen on desserts like kadayif. It's really good in Turkish coffee, kind of tastes like a latte but I can't imagine having it for breakfast.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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