Fermented Milk Products from All Over the World. Tjukkmjølk (Norway)
Considering the fact that Norway has wide pastures with green grass to feed the cows, the people in this country are very fond of old dairy traditions and recipes.
Many artisans are doing their best to keep the old tastes of Norway alive, in spite of the fact that almost anything these days is industrially produced. Tjukkmjølk, which can be translated as “thick milk”, is one of the most appreciated products made out of fermented milk. This particular recipe comes from Røros, a town in Norway known for its copper mining history and one of the two towns in the country that were declared “mining towns”. With a history that goes back 150 years, tjukkmjølk’s name comes from a plant, which is the butterwort or tettegras as it is known in Norway.
What is the connection between a plant and a fermented milk product? Well, back in the days, Norwegians used to prepare tjukkmjølk by placing butterwort leaves on the bottom of a bowl made out of wood and pouring warm fresh milk on them in the bowl. Then this bowl was placed in a warm area in the house and left to rest. The product was ready to use when the milk was thick and firm. Overall, tjukkmjølk looks a lot like yogurt, but the taste can’t be replicated anywhere else. Some compare it with the taste of summer, probably due to the custom of placing the green leaves of a plant on the bottom of the bowl where the fermentation of the milk takes place. Why is tjukkmjølk so special and different? Maybe the secret lies in the fact that the warm is just warmed up a little, instead of being boiled, which does not make the fat particles of the milk to separate. This is why a thick layer of cream will appear on top of tjukkmjølk, especially if whole farm milk is used for the making of this product. If you visit Norway and see tjukkmjølk in stores, you need to know that the product uses only whole milk provided by cattle farms in Røros and that the product is made only there, due to the fact that “tjukkmjølk” became a protected geographical name of the Røros area.
Also, if you want to enjoy tjukkmjølk as a Norwegian, you can serve it with granola or fresh berries. You can add it to a smoothie, if you’d enjoy a milky flavor and a creamier consistency, or add it to desserts like mousse or panna cotta. But, do know that it is also used instead of heavy cream in cooking or in various savory dishes as well.