Food products made from cultured milk have been consumed for many
centuries and have remained popular to this day. The ingredients
and processes used are somewhat different and the finished products
vary in taste and texture. Following is a listing of some of the
more popular products made from cultured milk, some facts about
their origin and the process by which they are made.
Some researchers have estimated that the making of yogurt started
with the nomadic tribes of Turkey. Others have claimed that it had
its beginnings in the Balkans. Written records suggest that the
people living in the Middle East used yogurt to administer to those
with stomach, intestinal, and liver ailments. Today yogurt is very
popular in most places around the world, and is the most popular
cultured milk product in the United States.
Making yogurt at home is easy. Use the milk from grass-fed organic
cows. Heat the milk slowly to 180 degrees and then cool to 110
degrees. Add some prepared yogurt, stir and pour into glass jars.
Dry in warm oven, which has been turned off. It can also be warmed
in a dehydrator. Warming time varies from 8-20 hours. Put jars into
2. Crème Fraiche:
It is known to have originated in Normandy, France. Probably it is
the particular quality of the grass that is eaten by the local cows
there which produces the exceptionally tasty milk. For many years it
was principally a product of France, but now is sold in specialty
stores throughout Europe and the U.S. There are also many good
Crème Fraiche is popularly known as European style sour cream. It
is made from high quality cream with a small amount of whole-milk
buttermilk added. The French are famous for using it in delicious
sauces and soups. Crème Fraiche is a bit different from our sour
cream ~ez_ndash~ it contains 28% butterfat and is less sour than most sour
creams. It works well for cooking as it doesn~ez_rsquo~t curdle.
This fermented drink is thought to have originated in the Caucasus
Mountains. In ancient times the milk and kefir grain were put in a
skin pouch and hung in the doorway. As people passed in and out,
they would punch or kick it to keep the fermentation process going.
It has traditionally been made in homes, but can now be found in
health food stores. People who live in Russia, northern Europe and
Eastern Europe are fond of this drink.
Kefir is a fermented drink that is made from the milk of goats,
sheep or cows. Kefir grains, which are composed of bacteria and
yeast, are added to fresh milk When the kefir has fermented, it
becomes a refreshing drink, similar to thin yogurt. This drink is
highly acidic, somewhat bubbly and has low alcohol content. A small
amount of kefir must be saved to add to the next batch. It has
traditionally been made in homes, but can now be found in health
food stores. For those who don~ez_rsquo~t like the taste, sweeteners and
fruit can be added and blended into a smoothie.
Unlike other fermented dairy products, kumis is made from mare~ez_rsquo~s
milk. It~ez_rsquo~s still commonly used in Central Asia, and by Baltic and
Hungarian tribes. Historical records indicate that Marco Polo
thought kumis was quite a refreshing drink. It~ez_rsquo~s a very popular
drink with the Russians.
When making kumis you need to use a liquid starter to begin a batch
of kumis. Mare~ez_rsquo~s milk has more sugar than cow~ez_rsquo~s milk, so in the
fermented form, it is more alcoholic. Since there is a limited
supply of mare~ez_rsquo~s milk available, commercially prepared kumis is made
from cow~ez_rsquo~s milk. Sugar is added to make it more like traditional
kumis. Kumis has a light and somewhat sour flavor with a bit of a
bite to it due to the alcohol content. It is served chilled. In
the West, kumis has been touted as the ~ez_ldquo~milk champagne."
Scientific studies show that kumis drink, kefir, crème Fraiche and
yogurt all have similar health benefits. They aid in the digestion
for those who are lactose intolerant, and help with digestion of all
foods. Enzymes in the cultured products aid in the absorption of
calcium and vitamins B and C.
Fermented products using milk have been used for centuries and
survive to this day. The four milk foods that are discussed here
are made by different processes, and they have different qualities,
tastes and textures. Health benefits are present in them all.