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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Kumis: Fermented milk

Koumiss is a traditional milk beverage produced from fermentation of mares’ milk by indigenous microorganisms. Koumiss is also known by other names like koumiss, kumiss, kumis, kymis, kymmyz.

In Central Asia and China, kumis is a traditionally fermented drink made from the milk of horses and it is one of the most important basic foodstuffs.

For centuries, human civilization has used different approaches to preserve and to prepare food products. Probably the longest part of this history was based on empirical knowledge, gained by experience without former knowledge either of mechanisms or the scientific basis of fermentation.

Historically, the fermentation of milk can be traced back to around 10,000 B.C. Fermentation takes place through the natural microflora present in milk.

Aristotle (322 BC) reported the existence of a dairy product in Mongolia that processed mare’s milk to transform it into a fermented product.

According to Herodotus kumis is the ancient beverage which Scythian tribes (Central Asia Steppes) used to drink some 25 centuries ago and it is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented mare's milk.

The Scythians were the first of numerous waves of warriors on horses who swept westward over the vast Eurasian steppes. Scythians belong to a group generally categorized as the “steppe nomads”, who share a similar lifestyle of nomadic pastoralism centered on the use of the horse that remained largely unchanged for thousands of years.

With the advent of scientific methods, the different classes of microorganisms present in the fermented dairy products have been detected. In the middle of the 19th century, in south Russia, mainly in the region of Samara and Orenburg but also in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, there were centers successfully using kumis therapy in treating lung diseases, mainly tuberculosis, and in strengthening the body.

Today, commercial koumiss is made from cow's milk and additional sugar to better replicate the alcohol content.
Kumis: Fermented milk

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