fermented 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. Such milks are believed to have medicinal value in the control of intestinal fermentation by contributing bacteria that aid in digestion. Fermented milks include acidophilus milk; cultured buttermilk; kumiss (koumiss), probably originated from mare's milk by western Mongols, effervescent and of acrid flavor and containing alcohol produced by yeasts; the similar kefir of Central Asia; yogurt, similar to the Armenian matzoon; and the Scandinavian beverages, kaeldermaelk and filbunke.
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