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(ko͞o`mĭs): see fermented milkfermented milk,
whole or skim milk curdled to beverage or custardlike consistency by lactic-acid-producing microorganisms. Many forms of fermented milk were used by early nomadic herders, especially in Asia and S and E Europe, Scandinavia, Africa, and South America.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a drink made of fermented mare’s milk (less commonly, cow’s or camel’s milk).

Koumiss has been known among nomadic peoples since the earliest days of antiquity. It is prepared by fermenting raw mare’s milk (or pasteurized cow’s or camel’s milk) with lactic acid bacteria (mainly Lactobacillus bulgoricus) or lactic yeasts at 26°-28°C. Fermented to 60°T (Merner acidity scale), the milk is stirred for 60 minutes in conical oak or linden tubs and poured into narrow-necked hermetic bottles. It is kept in the bottles for 30–40 minutes at 20°-22°C to aerate naturally and then cooled to 4°-6°C for 12–14 hours. The finished koumiss is an efferves-cent, foamy drink with an alcoholic taste and odor.

Koumiss contains 2–2.5 percent protein; 1–2 percent fat, 3.5–4.8 percent sugar, 100–200 mg per kg of vitamin C; vitamins A, D, E, PP, and B complex; 400–600 mg of phosphorus; and 800–1,000 mg of calcium. Weak, moderately strong, and concentrated koumiss contain 0.6–0.8, 0.8–1.0, and 1–1.2 percent lactic acid, respectively. The alcoholic content is about 1.0, 1–1.5, and about 3.0 percent, respectively. Koumiss is easily digested. It increases the assimilability of food proteins and fats and improves metabolism. Natural mare’s koumiss is used in koumiss therapy. Koumiss is made widely in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.


Kuznetsov, D. I., and P. F. Gavrilov. Kumystsennoe lechebnoprofilakticheskoe sredstvo. Tambov, 1961.
Kumys. Alma-Ata, 1968. [Mironenko, M. S.] Kumysbogatyrskii napitok. Moscow, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
It is a well-known fact that yeast plays a key role in preparing koumiss and therefore, the further work concerned the selection of yeast for making sourdough with lactic acid bacteria.
In the laboratory the cultivation of microbial fermentation of koumiss was conducted in an incubator (FHC-12-250) at the Department of Microbiology, Virology, and Immunology (current "Biological Safety") of KazNAU.
The master batch koumiss sourdough prepared on sterile milk.
The sequence of the experiment is shown in the following combinations, where 20 combinations of koumiss starters were used.
Natural koumiss produced in the farm "Seysebek" in Talgar district of Almaty region served as the controller.
Koumiss produced with yeast has a sour taste and is free from foreign smell that gives the drink a smooth consistency and a better flavor.
The effect of yeast No.4 on the nature and intensity of fermented mare's milk, the quality of koumiss as well as acid and aroma formation in koumiss were studied as well.
Microflora resulting from natural koumiss starter No.4 is shown in Figure 1.
Having identified the optimal combination of koumiss starter, improving the way of obtaining koumiss, which is to speed up the cooking time of koumiss was the next priority.
The fat content of koumiss is about 1.5-2.3 percent; the protein content is about 1.8-2.2 percent; and it is high in vitamins A, [B.sub.12], [B.sub.2], [B.sub.1], and C, with small amounts of vitamin E.