This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
The original koumiss is the Russian, made from mare's milk, while that produced in this country and other parts of Europe is usually, probably always, made from cow's milk. For this reason there is a difference in the preparation which may or may not be of consequence. It has been asserted that the ferment used in Russia differs from ordinary yeast, but this has not been established.
In an article on this subject, contributed by D. H. Davies to the Pharmaceutical Journal and Transactions, it is pointed out that mare's milk contains less casein and fatty matter than cow's milk, and he states that it is "therefore far more easy of digestion." He thinks that cow's milk yields a better preparation when diluted with water to reduce the percentage of casein, etc. He proposes the following formula:
Fresh milk......... 12 ounces
Water............. 4 ounces
Brown sugar.......150 grains
Compressed yeast... 24 grains
Milk sugar......... 3 drachms
Dissolve the milk sugar in the water, add to the milk, rub the yeast and brown sugar down in a mortar with a little of the mixture, then strain into the other portion.
Strong bottles are very essential, champagne bottles being frequently used, and the corks should fit tightly; in fact, it is almost necessary to use a bottling machine for the purpose, and once the cork is properly fixed it should be wired down. Many failures have resulted because the corks did not fit properly, the result being that the carbon dioxide escaped as formed and left a worthless preparation. It is further necessary to keep the preparation at a moderate temperature, and to be sure that the article is properly finished the operator should gently shake the bottles each day for about 10 minutes to prevent the clotting of the casein. It is well to take the precaution of rolling a cloth around the bottle during the shaking process, as the amount of gas generated is great, and should the bottle be weak it might explode.
Kogelman says that if 1 volume of buttermilk be mixed with 1 or 2 volumes of sweet milk, in a short time lively fermentation sets in, and in about 3 days the work is completed. This, according to the author, produces a wine-scented fluid, rich in alcohol, carbon dioxide, lactic acid, and casein, which, according to all investigations yet made, is identical with koumiss. The following practical hints are given for the production of a good article: The sweet milk used should not be entirely freed from cream; the bottles should be of strong glass; the fermenting milk must be industriously shaken by the operator at least 3 times a day, and then the cork put in firmly, so that the fluid will become well charged with carbon-dioxide gas; the bottles must be daily opened and at least twice each day brought nearly to a horizontal position, in order to allow the carbon dioxide to escape and air to enter; otherwise fermentation rapidly ceases. If a drink is desired strong in carbonic acid, the bottles, toward the end of fermentation, should be placed with the necks down. In order to ferment a fresh quantity of milk, simply add J of its volume of either actively fermenting or freshly fermented milk. The temperature should be from 50° to 60° F., about 60° being the most favorable.