Breakfast is deemed as the important meal of the day. Kick starting your day on a happy and fulfilling note is also very essential and what happens on an empty stomach? Apart from a growling tummy which makes weird noises till you stuff it up with something, it puts off your mood and makes you feel low on energy too. That is why each culture has their own breakfast staples to satiate hunger after a night-long fast. Take Maharashtrians for instance. Poha or flattened rice is a usual suspect on their tables while aloo parathas with sweet lassi make the Punjabi breakfast complete in its truest sense. 

Similarly, the Turks also have their own special breakfast item ready on the table each morning. It’s called bal kaymak, or simply kaymak. Unlike many carb-intensive breakfasts around the world, this one is all things smooth and creamy. Kaymak, for the unversed, is a close cousin of clotted cream that is similar to it in taste and texture. The white and creamy chunk of kaymak is traditionally made from the milk of water buffalo. The differentiating factor is that this cream contains about 60% of milk fat which makes it a heavy and filling breakfast option. 

Generally doused with oodles of fresh Turkish honey, the bal kaymak serves as a great spread for breads as well as a condiment for meaty dishes. Serve it as a sweet bite with your evening tea or top it with chopped walnuts for a creamy and crunchy dessert. In fact, this dish is considered to be a morning staple in Turkey as mentioned in Fodors Essential Turkey by Fodor’s Travel Guides, which states that, “you can also do as the locals do and stop by in the morning for a takeout breakfast of the delicious bal kaymak- honey with the Turkish version of clotted cream”. 

From Historical Roots To Present-Day Breakfast Tables 

Kaymak or kaimak, as it is called even today essentially means to melt or mold. The earliest reference of this special clotted cream can be found in the texts of Dīwān Lughāt al-Turk which positions the dish in the culture of Central Asian Turkic tribes. From the Turkish regions where it originated and is still very popular, the creamy kaymak reached the Balkans and other Central Asian nations during the Ottoman empire. Each of these nations developed their own special ways of making and using kaymak. Some of them even went on to call it geymar or Qaimak, as in Iraq and Afghanistan respectively. 

The local variations of the clotted cream appeared in the Balkan region as Kajmak, where they started serving it as a side dish for meats. Following this, Iran also adapted to the dish but it created a sarasheer version of kaymak, from milk that hasn’t been boiled. Iraqis differed on this front as their geymar was prepared from cow or buffalo milk and usually slathered on local breads or Iraqi pastries like Kahi. The most diverse varieties as well as the most expensive kaymaks around the world can be found in Turkey, with the richest and purest one made from water buffalo milk. 

Preparation Of Kaymak 

This rich dairy product is not inherently sweet in taste and instead, has a tangy flavour. The boiling and simmering of fresh milk of a buffalo over low heat to obtain a creamy by product is what kaymak is at its most primitive stage. Once done, the cream is set aside for a chunky and creamy solid which is served as kaymak. Thicker than clotted cream, it has higher amount of milk fat and is a perfect ingredient for creamy dips and desserts. 

Often, it is paired with baklava, kunefe and ekmek kadayafi. From Macedonia to Serbia, Greece and Georgia, the kaymak of the Turkish cuisine has traversed and made its mark in several Middle-Eastern and Central Asian countries over time. 

You may not find kaymak in your country but you can definitely whip up some delectable dishes using clotted cream. Here are the ones which you can try at home. 

1.  Clotted Cream With English Scones 

Scones are a relished breakfast item of the English and generally smothered with a spread like butter, jam or cheese. This time, you can make use of your smooth and chilled clotted cream and slather it in between your warm, baked scones. 

2.  Clotted Cream Victoria Sponge 

A spongy and moist cake, the Victoria sponge is a classic sweet dish. The chocolate and Victorian cake base is layered with a creamy and heavy mix of clotted cream that is finished off with some sweet strawberries. 

3.  Roasted Plum And Clotted Cream Tarts 

Tarts are another crusty treat that pair well with clotted cream. The sweet cream mixture is stuffed in the tarts with honey-glazed berries placed on top. This is then frozen and eaten chilled.