Škripavac is a soft, full fat, local cheese traditionally made in Lika, in places at the foot of Velebit and Velika Kapela, in Gorski Kotar and in the area of Kordun, and it is also listed in the List of the Protected Cultural Goods of the Republic of Croatia. It is most commonly made from cow’s milk, however, for obtaining a škripavac of an intensive flavour goat’s milk can also be used, although this is not so easily come by so the cheese made from that milk is therefore valued much more. In the past it was prepared much more frequently because every family had at least one cow, whereas today it is produced mainly by small Croatian cheeseries.
Škripavac is the freshest cheese which can be consumed because it is made from raw milk, which is strained through a gauze and gently heated, only so much that the rennet, which is used for its clotting, can dissolve in it. Although today there are artificial ways to achieve this, traditionally used for this purpose is a rennet called “voda iz murice”, which is obtained from the stomach of a calf or lamb - called “murica”. After the stomach of the animal has been washed well, the housewives would salt it and leave the murica to stand for two or three days, after which it is stretched and placed to dry. Cut pieces of murica are then placed in a pot with water and left to stand sealed so that the “voda iz murice” rennet is created. The liquid which is created by the soaking of the pieces of stomach is then poured into the slightly heated milk. After only twenty or so minutes the cheese would begin to clot, and then they would put it into a special pot. After an hour or two the škripavac would take on a firmer form, after which they would leave it in perforated pots to drain.
This mild favoured cheese is eaten fresh, and in the case that the housewives made a greater amount, the škripavac would be smoked or even dried in the air and sun. Due to its softness and the fact that it is not made by a long-lasting thermal treatment, škripavac is short-lived and it can last up to three months. Apart from its aroma, young škripavac also has a specific rubbery texture which is why it squeaks when eaten, and this is also how this tasty cheese got its name – “škripi” means to squeak or creak in Croatian. It is most commonly served with slices of homemade bread, however, it can also be grilled and added to meals such as salads or sandwiches.