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Encyclopedia > Kumis
In the West, Kumis has been touted for its health benefits, as in this 1877 book also naming it "Milk Champagne".
In the West, Kumis has been touted for its health benefits, as in this 1877 book also naming it "Milk Champagne".

Kumis (also spelled kumiss, koumiss, kymys; called airag in Mongolian cuisine) is a fermented milk drink traditionally made from the milk of horses. It remains an important drink to the people of the Central Asian steppes, including the Bashkirs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyzs, Mongols, and Yakuts.[1] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (575x1011, 82 KB) Summary Scan of the title page of 1877 book A Treaty on Koumiss or, Milk Champagne: The great Russian remedy for wasting, debilitating, and nervous diseases. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (575x1011, 82 KB) Summary Scan of the title page of 1877 book A Treaty on Koumiss or, Milk Champagne: The great Russian remedy for wasting, debilitating, and nervous diseases. ... The Champagne appellation highlighted in red Champagne is a sparkling wine produced by inducing the in-bottle secondary fermentation of wine to effect carbonation. ... The traditional Mongolian cuisine primarily consists of Dairy products and meat. ... In its strictest sense fermentation (scientifically called zymosis) is the energy-yielding anaerobic metabolic breakdown of a nutrient molecule, such as glucose, without net oxidation. ... A glass of cow milk Milk is the nutrient fluid produced by the mammary glands of female mammals. ... The word drink is primarily a verb, meaning to ingest liquids. ... Binomial name Equus caballus Linnaeus, 1758 The horse (Equus caballus or Equus ferus caballus) is a large odd-toed ungulate mammal, one of ten modern species of the genus Equus. ... Map of Central Asia showing three sets of possible boundaries for the region Central Asia located as a region of the world Central Asia (Russian: Средняя Азия/Srednyaya Azia for Middle Asia or Центральная Азия/Tsentralnaya Azia for Central Asia; in Turkic languages Orta Asya; in Persian آسياى مرکزی; (Urdu: وسطى ايشيا)Wasti Asia; Standard Mandarin Chinese... A steppe in Western Kazakhstan in early spring In physical geography, a steppe (Russian: - step, Ukrainian: - step), pronounced in English as step, is a plain without trees (apart from those near rivers and lakes); it is similar to a prairie, although a prairie is generally considered as being dominated by... The Bashkirs, a Turkic people, live in Russia, mostly in the republic of Bashkortostan. ... The Kazakhs (also spelled Kazak or Qazaq), (in Kazakh: Қазақ []; in Russian: Казах; English term is the transliteration from Russian) are a Turkic people of the northern parts of Central Asia (largely Kazakhstan, but also found in parts of Russia and China). ... Kirghiz (also Kyrgyz) are a Turkic ethnic group found primarily in Kyrgyzstan. ... Honorary guard of Mongolia. ... Yakuts, self-designation: Sakha, are a Turkic people associated with Yakutia/Sakha Republic. ...


It is traditionally made from fermenting mare's milk in a horse-hide container over the course of hours or days, often while stirring or churning. During the fermentation, Lactobacilli bacteria acidify the milk and yeasts turn it carbonated and mildly alcoholic. In modern production, the initial fermentation takes two to five hours at a temperature of around 27°C (80°F); it may be following by a cooler aging period.[2] The finished product contains between 0.7 and 2.5% alcohol.[3] Kumis can be strengthened through freeze distillation, a technique Central Asian nomads are reported to have employed.[4] It can also be distilled into the spirit known as araka. In its strictest sense fermentation (scientifically called zymosis) is the energy-yielding anaerobic metabolic breakdown of a nutrient molecule, such as glucose, without net oxidation. ... A glass of cow milk Milk is the nutrient fluid produced by the mammary glands of female mammals. ... Species L. acidophilus L. bulgaricus L. casei L. plantarum L. reuterietc. ... For other uses, see Acid (disambiguation). ... Yeasts are single-celled (unicellular) fungi, a few species of which are commonly used to leaven bread, ferment alcoholic beverages, and even drive experimental fuel cells. ... Bubbles of carbon dioxide float to the surface of a carbonated soft drink. ... Bottles of cachaça, a Brazilian alcoholic beverage. ... Freeze distillation is a metaphorical term for a process of enriching a solution by partially freezing it and removing frozen material that is poorer in the dissolved material than is the liquid portion left behind. ... Various distilled beverages in a Spanish bar A distilled beverage is a liquid preparation meant for consumption containing ethyl alcohol (Ethanol) purified by distillation from a fermented substance such as fruit, vegetables, or grain. ...


Even in the areas of the world where kumis is popular today, mare's milk remains a very limited commodity. Industrial-scale production of kumis thus generally uses cow's milk, which is richer in fat and protein but lower in lactose than the milk from a horse. Before fermentation, the cow's milk is fortified in one of several ways. Sucrose, a simple sugar, may be added, to allow a comparable fermentation. Another technique adds modified whey in order to better approximate the composition of mare's milk.[5] COW is an acronym for a number of things: Can of worms The COW programming language, an esoteric programming language. ... Lactose is a disaccharide that makes up around 2-8% of the solids in milk. ... Sucrose (common name: table sugar, also called saccharose) is a disaccharide (glucose + fructose) with the molecular formula C12H22O11. ... Magnified crystals of refined sugar Magnification of typical sugar In general use, non-scientists take sugar to mean sucrose, also called table sugar or saccharose, a white crystalline solid disaccharide. ... Whey or milk plasma is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained; it is a by-product of the manufacture of cheese or casein and has several commercial uses. ...


Mare's milk

A 1982 source reported that 230,000 horses were kept in Russia specifically for producing milk to make into Kumis.[6] Rinchingiin Indra, writing about Mongolian dairying, says "it takes considerable skill to milk a mare" and describes the technique: the milker is down on one knee, with a pail propped on the other, stabilized with a string tied to an arm. One arm is wrapped behind the mare's rear leg and the other in front. A foal starts the milk flow and is pulled away by another person, but left touching the mare's side during the entire process.[7]


In Mongolia, the milking season for horses traditionally runs between mid-June and early October. During one season, a mare produces approximately 1,000 to 1,200 kilograms of milk, of which about half is left to the foals.[8]


Documenting Domestication says "unfermented mare's milk is generally not drunk, because it is a strong laxative and purgative."[1] Varro's On Agriculture, from the 1st century BC, also mentions this: "as a laxative the best is mare's milk, then donkey's milk, cow's milk, and finally goat's milk..."[9] Yet today mare's milk is sometimes recommended as a substitute for cow's milk for people with milk allergies, and little mention is made of this laxative effect. In fact, mare's milk is well-tolerated by people of northern European descent and others who are lactose tolerant. Lactose-tolerant people can digest lactose even as adults; most of the world's population cannot, including the majority in the Central Asian steppes where mare's milk is popular. Mare's milk has almost 40% more lactose then cow's milk[10] (and, validating Varro's observations, goat's milk has even less); drinking six ounces (190 ml) a day would be enough to give a lactose-intolerant person severe intestinal symptoms. During fermentation, the the lactose is converted into lactic acid, ethanol, and carbon dioxide, and the milk becomes an accessible source of nutrition.[11] Milk from a pregnant mare contains enough estrogen to fill dozens of perscriptions. The brand name of estrogen (premarin) identifies its source: pregnant mare's urine.[12] Marcus Terentius Varro ([[116 BC]–27 BC), also known as Varro Reatinus to distinguish him from his contemporary Varro Atacinus, was a Roman scholar and writer, who the Romans came to call the most learned of all the Romans. ... In some children the ingestion of cows milk can trigger the body into launching an inappropriate immune response to the proteins in milk resulting in an allergic reaction. ... Lactose intolerance is the name given to the condition (found in the majority of humans) in which lactase, an enzyme needed for proper metabolization of lactose, is not produced in adulthood. ... Lactic acid, also known as milk acid or 2-hydroxypropanoic acid, is a chemical compound that plays a role in several biochemical processes. ... Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol, is a flammable, colorless chemical compound, one of the alcohols that is most often found in alcoholic beverages. ... Carbon dioxide is an atmospheric gas comprised of one carbon and two oxygen atoms. ...


History

Kumis is an ancient beverage. Herodotus, in his 5th century BC Histories, describes the Scythians' processing of mare's milk: Bust of Herodotus at Naples Herodotus of Halicarnassus (Greek: , Herodotos) was a historian who lived in the 5th century BC (484 BC-ca. ... The Histories of Herodotus by Herodotus of Halicarnassus is considered the first work of history in Western literature. ... Scythia was an area in Eurasia inhabited in ancient times by an Indo-Aryans known as the Scythians. ...

The milk thus obtained is poured into deep wooden casks, about which the blind slaves are placed, and then the milk is stirred round. That which rises to the top is drawn off, and considered the best part; the under portion is of less account.[13]

It is widely believed that this is a description of ancient kumis making,[14] and it matches up well enough with later accounts, such as William of Rubruck's. Strabo, writing within 25 years of Year 1AD, refers to the Sarmatians as "milk eaters", and given that fresh milk would certainly not keep in the conditions then prevalent, it must have fermented and effectively be kumis, the traditional beverage of the steppe. William of Rubruck (also William of Rubruk, Guillaume de Rubrouck, Willielmus de Rubruquis, born ca. ... the Greek georgapher Strabo, in a 16th‑century engraving. ... Sarmatia Europæa separated from Sarmatia Asiatica by the Tanais (the River Don), based on Greek literary sources, in a map printed in London, ca 1770. ...


Traveller William of Rubruck offers a description of Kumis from the 13th century:

This cosmos, which is mare's milk, is made in this wise. [...] When they have got together a great quantity of milk, which is as sweet as cow's as long as it is fresh, they pour it into a big skin or bottle, and they set to churning it with a stick [...] and when they have beaten it sharply it begins to boil up like new wine and to sour or ferment, and they continue to churn it until they have extracted the butter. Then they taste it, and when it is mildly pungent, they drink it. It is pungent on the tongue like rapé wine when drunk, and when a man has finished drinking, it leaves a taste of milk of almonds on the tongue, and it makes the inner man most joyful and also intoxicates weak heads, and greatly provokes urine.[15]

Kumis and its cousin Kefir are still produced in many parts of the world. Kefir (alternately kephir, kewra, talai, mudu kekiya, matsoun, matsoni, waterkefir, milkkefir) is a fermented milk drink originating in the Caucasus. ...


References and notes

  1. ^ a b Zeder, Melinda A. ed. (2006). Documenting Domestication: New Genetic and Archaeological Paradigms. University of California Press. ISBN 0520246381, p .264.
  2. ^ McGee, Harold (2004). On Food and Cooking (Revised Edition). Scribner. ISBN 0-684-80001-2, p. 46.
  3. ^ Law, B A ed. (1997). Microbiology and Biochemistry of Cheese and Fermented Milk. Springer. ISBN 0751403466, p. 120.
  4. ^ McGee p. 761
  5. ^ Law p. 121.
  6. ^ Steinkraus, Keith H. ed (1995). Handbook of Indigenous Fermented Foods. Marcel Dekker. ISBN 0824793528, p. 304.
  7. ^ Indra, Rinchingiin (2003). “Mongolian Dairy Products”, Dendev Badarch, Raymond A Zilinskas Mongolia Today: Science, Culture, Environment and Development. Routlege. ISBN 0700715983, p. 74.
  8. ^ Indra p. 73.
  9. ^ Humphrey, John W. Greek and Roman Technology: A Sourcebook. Routledge. ISBN 0415061377, p. 131.
  10. ^ By weight, cow's milk averages 4.8% lactose and mare's 6.3%. McGee p. 13.
  11. ^ See also Nutritional Adaptation by O'Neil, Dennis, Palomar College: "In the Indian subcontinent and much of Central and Western Asia, dairy products are consumed frequently but usually only after bacteria (lactobacilli) have broken down the lactose. After this has occurred, milk becomes yoghurt or kumis, both of which are relatively easily digested even by people who produce little lactase."
  12. ^ Premarin - "Overdo$ed America" by John Abramson
  13. ^ Histories, book four. Translation by George Rawlinson; available online at The Internet Classics Archive.
  14. ^ Kurmann, Joseph A. et al (1992). Encyclopedia of Fermented Fresh Milk Products. Springer. ISBN 0442008694, p. 174.
  15. ^ Rockhill, William, translator (1900). The Journey of William of Rubruck to the Eastern Parts of the World, 1253-55. p. 67. London: Hakluyt Society.
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Wine | Beer | Ale | Rye beer | Corn beer | Wheat beer | Sake | Sonti | Makkoli | Tuak | Cider | Apfelwein | Perry | Basi | Pulque | Plum wine | Pomace wine | Mead | Kumis
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Other beverages
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  Results from FactBites:
 
Reference.com/Encyclopedia/Kumis (1398 words)
Kumis is a dairy product similar to kefir, but is produced from a liquid starter culture, in contrast to the solid kefir "grains".
Toward the end of the 19th century, kumis had a strong enough reputation as a cure-all to support a small industry of "kumis cure" resorts, mostly in southeastern Russia, where patients were "furnished with suitable light and varied amusement" during their treatment, which consisted of drinking large quantities of kumis.
Technically, it is closer by definition to wine than to beer because the fermentation occurs directly from sugars, as in wine (usually from fruit), as opposed to from starches (usually from grain) that had been first worted to be converted to sugars, as in beer.
Kumis - Food & Drink - Recipes24 Net - recipes, cooking, cookbooks and more (158 words)
Kumis (called airag by the Mongolians), is a traditional drink of the people of Central Asia.
Generally kumis is about 2% alcohol (4 proof), but can be made more potent through distillation.
Kumis and its cousin Kefir are still produced in many parts of the world, and can easily be made at home.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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