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Proja is a type of baked good made from ground corn, and is native to Serbia. Also called srpska proja, this simple dish accompanies various other foods in classical Serbian cuisine. In the broader spectrum of international breads and baked goods, proja tends to be one of the more simple presentations of this food item.
The main ingredients in proja are cornmeal, oil, water and salt. Many recipes also include baking powder. Some recipes for this dish also include items like butter, eggs, and milk that make the resulting bread more appealing.
In terms of its presentation, proja can be served in several small rolls shaped by a muffin pan. Other types of proja are made in a single round or flat pan and cut into circular or square pieces. The exterior of these items is often browned, while the interior can have different textures and coloration.
Those with direct experience in Serbian cooking contend that the simple dish is a variant of a more complex recipe, where the dish is often called projana. Those who best understand the difference between these two types of recipes hail from the areas around Serbia, or in other words, the Balkan region once known as Yugoslavia. Areas of the Balkan region include Croatia, Bosnia, and Slovenia.
In general, the various recipes for Serbian corn bread are served with other items like yogurt dishes and sides including sauerkraut or boiled cabbage. One of the most common is called kajmak. This food is made with cow or sheep milk.
The use of kajmak with proja or projana illustrates a big conflict in contemporary cooking. Since kajmak tends to be unpasteurized, many nations around the world would restrict the sale of this or similar products. Where a nation’s citizens only buy food through supermarkets, and in processed or commercial forms, there is little opportunity to partake of unpasteurized milk in any form. In areas where local cooking is still a way of life, many families might often eat products containing unpasteurized milk.
Overall, proja fits into a specific ethnic or local category of natural, classic breads. This type of cuisine may be featured in a world festival or other venue focused on creating international taste sensations for a cosmopolitan audience. Otherwise, bread or baked goods in some areas of the world tend to be made with heavier ingredients, or in more complex recipes.