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Bosnian (BCS): Kajmak, pavlaka, and vrhnje

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by musicalchef, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. musicalchef

    musicalchef Senior Member

    Prague
    English; USA
    Dobar dan,

    If this question doesn't belong on the forum, I apologize.

    What is the difference between kajmak (I've also seen stariji kajmak), pavlaka, and vrhnje (I've also seen kiselo vrhnje)? Seems they are all some form of cream. I know what pavlaka is - a thick cream that is tasty with krumpiruša, and kisela pavlaka is similar to the sour cream we eat in the US. But what are the other two? Are either of them equivalent to the heavy (liquid) cream that is used to make sauces and ice cream? I'm becoming extremely frustrated while grocery shopping!

    I just got some Bosnian/Croatian cooking magazines, so I'll probably be on here with some more food vocabulary-related questions. Sorry I can't share the food over the web! :)
     
  2. phosphore Senior Member

    Serbian
    I think that (kisela) pavlaka (used in Serbia and Bosnia) and (kiselo) vrhnje (used in Croatia) are different names for the some product, which is also sometimes called mileram; on the other side, kajmak is a completely different product. I do not really know to explain the difference, but pavlaka has a mild taste and about 12-20% of milk fat, while kajmak is usually pretty salty and has some 60% of milk fat; one can buy pavlaka in a supermarket, while one should go to a greenmarket to buy kajmak.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smetana_(dairy_product)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kajmak
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  3. musicalchef

    musicalchef Senior Member

    Prague
    English; USA
    Thanks for your response and for the links! I think I have some idea of what each one is like now. It sounds like kajmak may taste like cheese? I guess if I need them for a recipe I'll find out!

    What would be the Bosnian word for what we would just call "cream" in the US? This is a liquid, but much thicker than milk. In the US it comes in light, heavy, and heavy whipping (in British English called "double cream"). I most often use it for pasta sauces such as alfredo, but I still can't figure out what it is in the stores here.

    * Sorry - just realized I forgot to add (BCS) to the thread title.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  4. phosphore Senior Member

    Serbian
    If you mean cream as the top layer of milk, it is also called kajmak, but that is different from the product with the same name. However, there is a similar product in markets and its name is not kajmak, but I am not sure at the moment what it is called here.
     
  5. musicalchef

    musicalchef Senior Member

    Prague
    English; USA
    Hvala! Does anyone else know?

    I was going through the dairy products at the store, shaking the containers to find out if it contained liquid or not; the workers probably think I'm completely nuts!
     
  6. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Well, according to the Wiki page Kajmak is produced differently.

    English "cream" is the milk fat just skimmed off "raw" milk (or through a centrifuge, in industrial production); this is not sour cream but "just" cream.
    "Smetana" - as called in most Slavic languages - seems to be the equivalent of "pavlaka" and "vrhnje" if Wiki is right: so, "sour cream".
    (Note that in some Slavic languages "smetana" just means "cream" and that you have to add the adjective "sour" to indicate "sour cream" = "kisla smetana".)

    There are many varieties of sour cream - low on fat, or high on fat, but all of them are just sour cream with different fat content.
    But the Kajmak Wiki page describes an entirely different process for Kajmak: the milk is cooked and only then the milk fat is skimmed off it, and left to ferment.

    For sour cream no cooking is required - you only use pasteurisation in industrial production (for preservation purposes, and after it milk bacteria are added), but if you make sour cream for yourself you even must not cook it because through cooking you'd kill off the natural milk bacteria which make sour cream out of cream.
    So whatever bacteria is fermenting Kajmak, it can't be the same as for sour cream; thus it is a different product (just try and compare yoghurt with sour milk: they are similar, but definitely very different in taste).
     
  7. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    This is a partial false friend between Slovenian, where smetana refers to any type of cream, and several other Slavic languages, including Russian, where it refers specifically to sour cream.

    I'm not sure about BCS. Does smetana even exist in BCS (in either sense of the word)? I don't recall ever seeing it in BCS texts. I'm familiar with vrhnje; is this word used for any type of cream?
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  8. musicalchef

    musicalchef Senior Member

    Prague
    English; USA
    I bought some "vrhnje za kuhanje." It is the liquid cream I was looking for. But yes, I think there was more than one variety of vrhnje in the store - I'll take note of them next time I go.
     
  9. phosphore Senior Member

    Serbian
    Maybe that is what we call slatka pavlaka?
     
  10. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    Whatever
    No, smetana does not exist in BCS (except maybe in some Kajkavian dialects).

    Yes, slatko vrhnje/pavlaka is (sort of) what musicalchef asks for. I'd note that it isn't quite a "traditional" dairy product in our areas (back when I was a kid, one could buy it only as imported goods). Also, there's the non-sweet variant, used for main dish preparing in Western cuisines, that came here after the sweet one. Now, that poses a terminology problem, because it isn't slatko vrhnje :). As you discovered, "vrhnje za kuhanje" was a way out of that ;).

    We also don't usually put slatko vrhnje in coffee; instead, you could ask s mlijekom ili sa šlagom.

    Now, šlag (from Austrian German schlag) is the whipped stuff what we commonly put on coffee and on desserts. The main difference from slatko vrhnje is that it's much lighter; for home use, it is purchased as powder (rather than dense liquid), and in restaurants they will often use the "spray" variant.

    "Šlag" and "slatko vrhnje" may be used somewhat interchangeably. See e.g. here: "Vrhnje je namijenjeno pripremi ukusnog i kvalitetnog šlaga". In other words, when you whip vrhnje you get šlag.

    Also note that in colloquial Bosnian, "kajmak" may also refer to "vrhnje/pavlaka". That can be a source of confusion indeed; well, you won't err much if you choose it (except that proper kajmak is much fatter, tastier and expensive).
     
  11. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    In Austria "Schlag" is used only for ("sweet") cream ("sweet" we call it in Austria too, as they do in Slovenia; in English I think "cream" alone is sufficient to denote that it is not sour cream), but it is used both for cream and whipped cream, and for the kind we put into the coffee we differentiate between "(Kaffee)-Obers" (short of "Schlagobers") for non-whipped cream and "Schlag" (short of "Schlagobers" :D) for the whipped kind (so you can put both "Obers" and "Schlag" into a cup of coffee, and both mean something different).

    I hope that this is more clarifying than confusing - probably similar distinctions are made with the BCS terms for "cream".

    As you say, whipped "vrhnje" is "šlag" - so "šlag" in Serbian is "Schlag" = "whipped cream", and "pavlaka" seems to be the same as "vrhnje" - and also, from posts so far, I take it that both "vrhnje" and "pavlaka" can be both "(sweet) cream" and "sour cream", right? (Same as in Slovenian where "smetana" can be both "sweet" and "sour".)

    I'm also curious now if "šlag" is used at all in Croatian. :)
     
  12. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    "Slatka pavlaka" is actually heavy cream or heavy whipping cream.
    Although "pavlaka" can be "kisela" (
    sour cream) and "slatka" (heavy cream), used without predicates "kisela/slatka", the word "pavlaka" would usually mean sour cream and for heavy whipping cream you would have to use nominal suffix "slatka".
     
  13. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    Whatever
    Yes it is; I think all of my links above are to Croatian websites, including producers. Like you said, šlag is always whipped (well, when not in powder :p) and always sweet, as in Austrian.
     
  14. musicalchef

    musicalchef Senior Member

    Prague
    English; USA
    I saw "vrhnje za šlag" next to the "vrhnje za kuhanje." Seems to me that, in Bosnia at least, "vrhnje za kuhanje" is what we would call "light cream" in the US and "vrhnje za šlag" is "heavy whipping cream." (the vrhnje za kuhanje was definitely not thick enough to be heavy whipping cream) I saw some smetana too, but it could have been imported if it's not a local word. I was in a hurry and didn't look at it too closely.
     
  15. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    It is not unlikely that the "smetana" you've seen might have been a Slovenian product: many products now have multiple languages written on them.
     
  16. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    Indeed. I checked my fridge here in Ljubljana; the Slovenian carton of "Smetana za kavo" includes a small label with product information for Croatia and Bosnia, meaning that it's also sold in those two countries. Since native speakers have confirmed that "smetana" doesn't exist in BCS at all, that's probably what you saw, musicalchef.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2009
  17. pikabu Junior Member

    slovene
    Well, "vrhnje za kuhanje" that's the product that I buy for making some creamy sauces, for example with mushrooms for the steaks or for a sauce on pasta (with the asparagus at the moment). This "vrhnje" can be well used for cooking, you can also let it boil for a few minutes, while "kiselo vrhnje" can not boil because it goes bad. I add "kiselo vrhnje" sometimes to creamy soups when they are already served on plates while I always take care that I cook this "vrhnje za kuhanje" for a few minutes, I don't know why to be exact. :)
    "Vrhnje za šlag" is, in my opinion, sweet cream ("slatka"), used mostly for desserts.
    All of them should be stored in a fridge. "Kiselo vrhnje" is thicker while "vrhnje za kuhanje" and "vrhnje za šlag" are liquids.

    To add another noun to this confusion of different creams, I think that French "cr[FONT=&quot]è[/FONT]me fra[FONT=&quot]î[/FONT]che" is quite similar to sour cream, but with more milk fat and can also be cooked. :)

    I hope I helped a bit.
     
  18. The Wombat

    The Wombat Junior Member

    English-Australia, Serbian
    G'day

    I see that one word used for cream has not yet surfaced, basically used in mountainous areas of Serbia, the "скоруп".

    Also no one seems to have mentioned the essential difference between cream and "кајмак".

    Cream is a milk product that is collected off the surface of the fresh milk after it has separated on the surface, being left for several hours. The name "врхње" is derived from word "врх" which denotes top, so it is the stuff that separates and comes up to the top.

    Also contrary to some previous posts "врхње" is used in Serbia to add to coffee, perhaps not in its northern parts like Војводина, but certainly it is used in Шумадија and some other regions.

    However, the use of fresh "врхње" as additive to coffee in Serbia really is practised only by members of particular social group, not by general population. Very much like habits of drinking percolated or instant coffee as opposed to the black coffee, or to many better known as Serbian coffee.

    "Кајмак" on the other hand is cream that is forming as a crust, on the surface of the milk, as it cools down after it has been boiled. It is collected and kept in wooden containers over period of days, stacked in layers, just as picked from the surface of the milk that has cooled down, and to preserve it, each layer is sprinkled slightly with cooking salt.

    In the original post there was a mention of "стари кајмак". It is nothing else but the same milk product that has matured by process of fermentation, thereby giving it specific taste and quality, valued greatly for its taste by many (myself included).

    Normally "кајмак" is classified by maturity in three general groups, fresh, medium mature, and matured.

    Cheers
     
  19. SweetCherry Junior Member

    Norway
    Serbian
    Kajmak is something you have to try. :)
    If you are eating grilled meat (have you tried ćevapčići and pljeskavica?), ask them to serve it with kajmak and some fresh sallad. Mmmm.
    Bon apetite. :)
     

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