But in 1858 Dr. Postnikof started an establishment for the cure of diseases by fermented mare's milk, at Samara, in Eastern Russia, and a similar establishment, about forty-five miles distant, was started by the late Dr. Tchembulatof, both of which have been extremely well patronised, as their places were well ordered, and the Koumiss was prepared in a cleanly manner. So successful were they, that the Russian Government, in 1870, started a place of their own for the cure of sick soldiers belonging to the Kazan district. Here are beds for 100 soldiers and 20 officers.
The curative effect of fermented mare's milk set people thinking whether the milk of cows, which is much more easy to procure, would not answer the same purpose. It was tried, and a new drink was given to the civilized world, as also a new name, which was coined expressly for it - Galazyene, from
a ferment. It can be obtained in
London from the large dairies.
Dr. Polubensky gives the following formula for fermenting cow's milk.
"An oak churn, such as is used for churning butter, has a bottle of fermented cow's or mare's milk, five days old, poured into it in the morning. A tumbler and a half of warm milk (of a temperature of about 900 Fahr.), in which half an ounce of cane, still better milk, sugar has been dissolved, and a bottle of skimmed cow's milk, are then added.
"The addition of the sugar is made for the purpose of remedying the small amount of lactine in cow's milk; the water is added to make the milk, which is rich in casein, thinner, and thus to facilitate its agitation and emulsion. Skim milk is used because it contains less fat, an excess of which interferes with fermentation. The mixture is then beaten up during half an hour, to prevent the curdling of the casein, and is then laid aside for three hours. (This is effected at an ordinary room temperature of 6o° Fahr.)
"After the lapse of three hours, when the surface of the mixture is covered with a film (of casein and fat in a non-emulsioned condition), it is again agitated for half an hour, and another bottle of skim milk - with or without warm water, according to the thickness of the milk - is added; the whole mass is again .churned for an hour and a half, or longer, until the casein is well divided, and small bubbles appear on the surface of the fluid. Then the mixture, having stood for half an hour, has a fresh bottle of milk added to it, and the stirring is again renewed, with short intervals, until the Koumiss is ready, which usually happens by
10 o'clock p.m., if its preparation was commenced at 8 a.m.
"The approaching completion of the Koumiss is known by a thick froth, which sometimes rises very high, forming on its surface; while the full completion of fermentation is recognised by a falling of the froth, and by certain signs detectable by the ear and hand; the process of churning becomes easier, and the splash of the drops during agitation presents a clearer and more metallic sound. The Koumiss is then poured into Champagne bottles, well corked, and left for the night at a room temperature of from 6o° to 70° Fahr. Towards morning, the Koumiss is quite fit for use. Left in bottle till the next day, it becomes stronger, but is still drinkable; while, if placed in a cold room, it may be used even on the fifth day.
"In order that the preparation of Koumiss may be carried on successfully, it will be necessary to put aside two bottles of the Koumiss first prepared, and to keep them for three or four days, so as always to have a bottle of four days old Koumiss in store for fermenting new portions of milk, and of replacing the used bottles by new ones."
This seems to be rather a long method of making Koumiss, compared to that given by Dr. Wolff of Philadelphia, which is excessively simple.
"Take of grape sugar 1/2 oz.; dissolve in 4 ozs. of water. In about 2 ozs. of milk dissolve 20 grains of compressed yeast, or else well washed and pressed out brewer's yeast. Mix the two in a quart Champagne bottle, which is to be filled with good cow's milk to within two inches of the top; cork well, and secure the cork with string or wire, and place in an ice chest or cellar at a temperature of 500 Fahr. or less, and agitate three times a day. At the expiration of three or four days, at the latest, the Koumiss is ready for use, and ought not then to be kept longer than four or five days. It should be drawn with a Champagne syphon tap, so that the carbonic acid may be retained, and the contents will not entirely escape on opening the bottle."
Be wary in opening a bottle of Koumiss, or you may be thoroughly drenched, and have nothing left to drink, for it generates a large quantity of carbonic acid gas, so much so, indeed, that extra thick bottles should be used.
There is an interesting speculation abroad, that the milk which Jael gave Sisera was fermented, and highly intoxicating, which rendered him in a condition favourable for her purpose.
The Usbecks, Mongols, Kalmucks, and other Tartars not only made milk into Koumiss, but distil a very strong spirit from it, which they call araka, conjectured by some, from its high antiquity, to be the true source whence the Indian Arrack derives its name. The distillation is generally effected by means of two earthen pots closely stopped, from which the liquor slowly runs through a small wooden pipe into a receiver, which is usually covered with a coating of wet clay. The spirit, at first, is weak, but after two or three times distilling, it becomes exceedingly intoxicating. Dr. Edward Clarke, in his Travels in Russia,
Turkey, and Asia, saw this process performed by means of a still constructed of mud, or very coarse clay, having for the neck of the retort a piece of cane.