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Contributors to this review of traditional milk products in southern, eastern and western Africa, the southcone countries of Latin America, the Middle East - Syria, India and neighbouring countries and Nepal and Bhutan, have provided considerable detail on the traditional milk products of their region.

Considerations of the technologies applied in the preparation of traditional milk products are based on groupings within the following categories:-

  1. Fermented milks,

  2. Butter and ghee,

  3. Cheeses,

  4. Other milk-based products,

Common and specific features will be noted in relation to the products mentioned but details of the processes will be given in Part 2 which summarises the results of the questionnaires sent to more than 100 countries.


It is evident from the contributions to this review that in most of the countries to which reference is made, that conservation and prevention of the spoilage of milk remain of major importance. The producers of milk in the countries under review have not been influenced to a major extent by improvements in refrigeration and milk collection methods such as have had a major effect on dairying practices, milk conservation and milk quality in the past thirty years in countries with a developed dairy industry.

Methods to protect milk from spoilage remain empirical and yet they appear to offer at least some help to the milk producer.

In reviewing the technologies employed in the preparation of traditional milk products it is necessary to appreciate that the characteristics and quality of the milk produced in the countries concerned is not comparable in bacterial content with the milk from dairy farms in developed dairy countries which are equipped with refrigerated milk coolers and bulk milk collection. Nevertheless, practices for the limiting of spoilage of milk are in place in the countries concerned and include immediate boiling of milk after its production, the use of lactose fermentation by lactic acid bacteria as a means of preventing milk spoilage and sanitising methods which include smoking of the vessels used for milk and milk products.


It is mentioned above that fermentation of lactose to form lactic acid is an important means of preventing, or limiting, milk spoilage due to the growth of contaminating bacteria and their enzymic activity.

The value of lactic fermentation as a means of preservation has led to a situation in Africa, the Middle East, and India and neighbouring countries, that many of the processes for traditional milk products include a fermentation stage. This stage not only affects the shelf-life of the product but it also affects the quality and characteristics of the product.

As an example, the souring of milk leads to the preparation of products such as dahi and other highly soured milks which can either be consumed in liquid form or may be processed further with separation of the milk constituents into traditional butter which is the basis of ghee, and soured milk which may be eaten as it is or be further developed into various cheese products.

This fact is illustrated in the flow chart of the conversion of milk into Indian traditional dairy products - Figure 1. The technologies, or perhaps more correctly the outline methods, for the various fermented milk products are compared below and details of the processes are given in Part 2.


All of the reports refer to the use of natural fermentation as being the most important means of achieving the necessary souring either in the formation of a fermented milk product ready for consumption or in an acidification or souring intermediate stage in a product's preparation.


It is clear that very many variations in the characteristics, quality and acceptability of traditional milk products are inevitable due to the unregulated nature of natural fermentations which have such an importance. In many cases little is known of the exact nature of the bacteria or other micro-organisms contributing to these fermentation processes.



Southern and eastern Africa encompasses a wide range of climatic conditions ranging from the hot humid coastal areas, dry and semi-arid grass hinterlands (areas of extensive pastoralism) to high altitude highlands with subtropical to temperate type climates. Mean diurnal temperatures may range from as low as 15–17°C in the highland areas to as high as 35°C in semi-arid and arid areas. These high ambient temperatures coupled with the general lack of refrigeration facilities imply that the milk, often containing high initial numbers of bacteria, becomes sour in 12 to 24 hours. It is no wonder that spontaneously fermented milk is the basis of traditional dairy processing at the household level.

Over centuries of cattle keeping, technologies have evolved within different communities resulting in products of varying tastes, colour, texture, consistency and keeping quality. With so many ethnic groups in the region, each with its distinct cultures and preferences, it is virtually impossible to give a detailed description of individual processing techniques.

Those techniques which appear common in the region and might have an influence on any future efforts aimed at transforming traditional household level dairy processing to community level technologies required in the process of commercialisation of dairying are considered.

5.1.1 Fermented milk.

The preparation of fermented milks in Africa has been described previously by Shalo and Hansen (1973), O'Mahony and Peters (1987a and 1987b) and Shalo (1987).

The use of smoking of the vessels used in the storage of the milk by various pastoral and agropastoral communities in the region is, with very few exceptions, the commonest feature. A limited list is given (Table 13) of plant materials including grass, shrubs and hardwoods used for the smoke treatment of milk utensils by various communities in three countries in southern and eastern Africa.

The general processing method for fermented milks in southern and eastern Africa is to filter the raw milk into a smoked clay pot or bottle gourd and transfer the vessel to a warm place until the milk has soured and coagulated. Fresh batches of milk may be added each day with or without previous removal of whey, until the gourd or clay pot is full. The fermented milk may be consumed as such (straight fermented milk) or as in the majority of cases, it is churned to produce butter. The buttermilk is then consumed at the household level or sold or exchanged for grains (Kerven, 1987).

5.1.2 Concentrated fermented milk.

This traditional product is made among the nomadic pastoral Samburus, the Maasai and agro-pastoralists such as the Nandi, Kipsigis and Tugen of Kenya. The essential difference between this group of products and fermented milks is that whey is removed to increase the total solids in the curd. The processes used in the region have been reviewed by Shalo (1987) and Bekele and Kassaye (1987).


5.2.1 Irgo (fermented milk).

Smoke treatment of milk utensils. Containers of calabash, clay pots, woven grass or plant fibre vessels or hollowed wood vessels are washed with hot water and rinsed with cold water.

The vessels are then smoked by burning chips of Olea africana or Acacia busia. In some areas, the hot smoking chips are introduced into the vessel and whirled inside for a few minutes with the lid of the vessel on. In other cases, the vessel is inverted over the smoking chips until the smoke dies out.

5.2.2 Hard fermented milk curd.

This product is prepared by the Borana tribes, pastoralists in southern Ethiopia for use during the dry season.

The preparation is similar to that for irgo except that in this case there is daily removal of whey and the addition of fresh milk until the vessel is filled with hard curd.

When milk is soured and reaches an acidity of about 1 per cent lactic acid, fermentation ceases and two layers - curd and whey - are formed.

The curd floats on the whey and the whey is removed by a wooden pipette introduced into the vessel. This type of product may be used for up to 90 days (Bekele and Kassaye, 1987).

5.2.3 Arrera (sour butter milk).

Arrera is a by-product of butter making in Ethiopia. The milk fat content ranges from 1 per cent to 3 per cent depending upon churning temperature. It is rich in protein, lactose, minerals and vitamins. It makes a wholesome beverage either plain or spiced in the same way as irgo.

When there is a plentiful supply of fresh whole milk, this product is given to calves, lactating cows and dogs. Alternatively it may be converted into local cheese.


5.3.1 Kadam (fermented milk).

This is a traditional beverage amongst producers and consumers especially as a thirst quenching drink in the hot season. Residual milk is accumulated and allowed to sour. Depending on the season the souring may take a few hours or several days.

5.3.2 Sour butter milk.

After the butter is removed from soured milk which has been churned to produce butter, the buttermilk is consumed by the family or sold.

In urban centres, the suburbs of towns and the city of Bamoko, the milk traders produce butter and buttermilk.


5.4.1 Yoghurt.

This fermented milk is made in a traditional way in some southcone countries of Latin America such as Paraquay.


5.5.1 Laban.

(i) Small-scale production at the village level. There are two procedures which are used:-

  1. the raw milk of the cow, sheep or goat is placed in a tin or copper container and immediately innoculated with a starter of lactic acid bacteria or with a small amount of a previous batch of laban.

  2. Alternatively the farmers heat the milk to about 80°C and then cool it to around 37–40°C and then add either a starter or 5 per cent of a previous batch of laban.

In each case, thereafter, the containers of inoculated milk are covered with woollen sheets to keep the temperature constant for not less than 4 hours.

Some local types of laban have a burnt taste and a cooked smell which are due to processing methods.

After souring the laban is cooled until used.

Garlic is sometimes added to laban along with pieces of ice to make a refreshing summer drink called airan.

(ii) Large scale production in Government factories.

Milk is collected from production centres and smallholders and sampled for quality analysis.

5.5.2 Labaneh (laban mousafa).

This may be described as a drained laban or drained yoghurt. The product combines the characteristics of laban and cheese. The dry matter content is estimated as 18–23 per cent i.e. higher than in laban and lower than in cheese. The pH ranges from 5 to 5.5. It is very popular in Syria as a breakfast dish, especially if olive oil is added.

5.5.3 Shenineh.

This product is prepared by shaking laban in a special bag made of sheep skin. It has a sour taste and a very strong aroma and is very popular in the villages.

5.5.4 Shenglish (Sorke).

It is made from laban and is considered as a fermented milk but the dry matter is very much higher (45–50 per cent). Spices are added to give it its special taste and chilli may also be added.

5.5.5 Keshkeh.

This product is made by mixing laban with fine wheat. The mixture is dried and ground into a powder.


5.6.1 Dahi.

This milk product is of major importance in the Indian sub-continent. It is a yoghurt-like product made in India and neighbouring countries. It is the most important fermented milk product used in India from times immemorial. The scale of production ranges from household level to industrial scale including preparation in halwai's milk shops in urban areas. Cow or buffalo milk or a mixture of the two is used. It is boiled and sometimes concentrated before addition of the starter which is usually a portion of the previous day's dahi or buttermilk.

Dahi has a milk pleasant flavour and a clean acid taste. It has a yellowish creamy-white colour when made from cow milk and a creamy-white colour when made from buffalo milk. It has a smooth and glossy surface. The body is firm but not hard and free from gas holes.

The Bureau of Indian Standards has laid down the following specifications for dahi:-

 Sweet dahiSour dahi
Acidity (per cent (w/w)  
lactic acid)  
Yeast and mould count per g  
Coliform count per g (maximum)1010
Phosphatase test-ve-ve

Dahi is widely consumed all over India and the neighbouring countries including the Himalayan region, either plain, sugared or salted. The sweetened concentrated form of dahi consumed in Bengal is known as mishti doi i.e. sweet dahi.

5.6.2 Mishti Doi.

A sweetened variety of dahi known as mishti doi, mishti dahi, lal dahi (red dahi) or payodhi in the eastern region of the Indian sub-continent is very popular.

Cane sugar (6.0 – 6.5%) is added to the milk before boiling. Artificial colour, caramel and jaggery may also be added. The milk is cooled to 40–45°C and incubated for 12 – 15 hours.

5.6.3 Lassi.

Dahi is converted into this refreshing beverage by stirring and adding a small quantity of water. It is best consumed chilled, and either sweetened or salted.

It is a preferred drink in the northern parts of the sub-continent particularly the Punjab and Haryana. It is known to induce sleep particularly after consumption during the summer afternoons. Aseptically packed long life lassi has recently been introduced in India.

5.6.4 Shrikhand.

Shrikhand or Sikarni, as it is known in Nepal, is made from concentrated dahi with a sweet and sour taste. It is a semi-soft whole milk product resembling sweetened quarg or quark produced in Germany. Shrikhand is traditionally made at home in western India. The name shrikhand is derived from the Sanskrit work shikharini.

Dahi is placed in a muslin cloth and drained for 4–8 hours to reduce the whey content and produce a solid mass called chakka or maska.

Chakka is mixed with the required amount of sugar, condiments and flavour to produce shrikhand. An industrial process for the manufacture of chakka and shrikhand has been developed by the National Dairy Development Board of India.

The Bureau of Indian Standards has prescribed the following standards for shrikhand.

Total solids (per cent by mass) (minimum)58.0
Milk fat (in dry matter per cent) by mass (minimum)5.0
Milk protein (in dry matter per cent) by mass (minimum)10.5
Titratable acidity (per cent lactic acid) (maximum)1.4
Sucrose (in dry matter per cent) by mass (maximum)72.5
Total ash (in dry matter) per cent by mass (maximum)0.9
Coliform count, per g (maximum)10.0
Yeast and mould count, per g (maximum)50.0

5.6.4 Shrikhand Wadi.

This product is obtained by further concentration of shrikhand as prepared above by heating in an open pan over a direct fire until it forms a hard mass.

Shrikhand wadi has the following composition.

 (per cent)
Lactic acid1.0–1.2

5.6.6 Chhaas (Buttermilk).

Buttermilk produced by the churning of soured milk (dahi) is known as chhaas or chhach and as mahi in Nepal. The fat content is usually from 1–2 per cent and it is rich in protein and lactose.

Chhaas is mostly consumed in the household and surplus is fed to cattle.

5.6.7 Kadhi.

This product is made from chhaas by a recipe which varies from region to region.

A blend of spices, of which the common ingredients are salt, black pepper, green chillies, turmeric, coconut, and ground cumin are added with a small amount of Bengal gram flour to an appropriate quantity of chhaas and the mixture is brought to boiling point. It is then served hot with rice.

In some regions of the country, small balls made out of besan (Bengal gram flour) dough and fried in oil are added to kadhi and served as a curry.


5.7.1 Dahi Production in Nepal.

The techniques for Dahi production in Nepal are largely similar to those used in India and details are given in Part 2.

5.7.2 Mahi.

This is a traditional drink in Nepal. It is made from dahi prepared from whole or skimmed milk dahi fermented either by natural souring or by ‘artificial’ lactic acid bacteria.

In India, mahi is known as lassi and largely used as a liquid drink. In Nepal, mahi is consumed as a drink as well as with food.

When whole milk dahi is churned by traditional country methods, the butter yield is not the theoretical possible. The fat globules are not in a proper condition for churning and they are in the liquid form and not in the clumped semi-solid form always found in conditioned cream. The traditional country churning process has the effect of homogenising some of the fat globules and these broken-up globules do not appear in the butter and neither do the smaller fat globules of the milk.

Therefore the mahi buttermilk is richer in fat, due to high fat losses in churning. The fat in skimmed milk dahi is only that which is lost in the skimming or separating process i.e. around 0.05 to 0.1 per cent if properly done. In the case of buttermilk mahi or lassi the milk fat content may reach 1 per cent.

When the fat is churned out of whole milk dahi the remaining acid buttermilk is a more correct example of traditional buttermilk than a product made by the lactic acid fermentation of skimmed milk. Mahi prepared from soured skimmed milk is a poor beverage compared with that made from the buttermilk of whole milk dahi.

Mahi or lassi may be sweetened by the addition of sugar. The drink may also be made by diluting dahi with about five times its volume of water.

Dahi sherbet can be made by diluting dahi with 8 to 10 times its volume of water containing 8 to 10 per cent of sugar and lemon juice.


Throughout southern and eastern Africa, the Middle East - Syria and India and neighbouring countries the production of butter and ghee is closely associated with the technology of fermentedmilk.

This is because most of the traditional butter is made by churning fully soured whole milk which could also be used for consumption as a whole milk fermented drink. In these regions traditional butter is not made by churning cream.

With the exception of some industrial dairy factories ghee is made from traditional butter. The main variations of buttermaking lie in the appliances used for churning the soured milk. These will be described later in relation to their area of use.


6.1.1 SOUTHERN AND EASTERN AFRICA - GENERAL. General Method for Butter.

Throughout southern and eastern Africa, traditional butter making involves the churning of sour milk in a variety of vessels, the most important being the gourd, clay pots, and wooden vessels carved out of some tree trunks. Bekele and Kassaye (1987) described some vessels used by Borana pastoralists in southern Ethiopia and details of these are given under the individual process descriptions. Churning is usually done by women and consists of rocking the vessel (gourds), or clay pots, which are suspended from a wooden post, or tripod, or placed on the ground or the woman's lap back andforth until butter granules form. The buttermilk is drained off by pouring it through a rough filter of specially treated fibres of tree bark or washed grass and is usually consumed by the household.


This traditional butter is made by churning sour milk.

The churn is made of the same materials as the vessel for souring milk, except for the addition of the skin bag, which is used by the Afar pastoralists in the rift valley. In some cases, especially in the highlands, the sour milk is churned in a different vessel from that in which souring is done. Washing and smoking practices are as described earlier.

The technique of churning differs from region to region depending upon the size and make of the churn.

6.1.3 WEST AFRICA - MALI. Nebam.

Nebam is the local name for traditional butter in Mali. The used churn has a large round body and a narrow neck ending in a funnel-shaped mouth. There are different sizes of gourd churns depending on the volume of milk available for churning. Normally it has about 5 litres capacity.

The woman sits on a mat and churns the milk by raising and bouncing the gourd either on her lap or on a small cushion. When the butter granules are formed, the contents of the churn are poured out into a calabash bowl (tumde). Cold water is added to the bowl to harden the butter granules which are then scooped out of the buttermilk and subjected to the final working or kneading stage.


Farm butter is produced in Peru and other southcone countries of Latin America.

6.1.5 MIDDLE EAST - SYRIA. Zobdeh.

Production of zobdeh (butter) in Syria takes place at the village level and in government dairy factories.

Village-level butter making is based on the heating of milk from the cow, sheep or goat and the collection of the cream (koshtah) which forms on the surface as the milk boils. When cold the cream is churned by shaking it in a sac made of sheepskin or goatskin or other special container until butter granules are formed.

Butter production at factory processing level may be based on whole milk or cream (koshtah) but usually on cream. Standard industrial procedures are used for churning and packaging and the product is stored at 5°C.


Makkhan is the traditional unsalted butter made by hand churning whole milk dahi. Beginning from the vedic times (3000 to 2000 BC) there is recorded evidence to show that makkhan was extensively used by the early inhabitants of India; both in dietary and religious practices. The milk of the water buffalo, by virture of its higher fat content and larger fat globules gives higher yields and is preferred. White makkhan from buffalo milk is generally preferred to the yellower product from cow milk.

About 170,000 metric tons are estimated to be produced annually in Indian households.

Outline of Method (Small Scale Units)

Whole milk is used

The milk is converted into dahi - the milk being set in an earthenware pot. 
Churning is done with indigenous wooden churning devices at ambient temperaturesThe cooler morning hours are preferred for churning.
The product made from buffalo milk has a harder/firmer body and a more granular texture than that from cow milk. It has a pleasant mild acid flavour.
The makkhan formed in the churn is hand scooped or removed with a wooden ladle or perforated scoop. 

Legal regulations in India require that makkhan contains not less than 76 per cent milk fat by weight.

The average composition is as follows.

 (per cent)
Milk fat78–81
Lactic acidnot more than 0.2

Makkhan is used in small quantities for direct consumption with the traditional unleavened bread (chapati or parontha) or boiled rice and other items of food. Household surplus of makkhan is used mainly for conversion into ghee. Organised dairies, produce butter on a commercial scale using modern butter making machines. Only a part of the butter produced in India is used as table butter and a large portion is used for the production of ghee on a commercial scale. Ghee made from makkhan has a firmer consistency, better crystalline texture and reputedly a better shelf-life than the product made in factories. Whenever boiling of milk is carried out over a smoky fire, the makkhan produced from milk heated in these conditions has a typical smoky flavour which is often preferred by a section of the consumers, particularly in the northern region.

6.1.7 HIMALAYAN AREA - NEPAL AND BHUTAN. Nauni Ghiu (Nepal), Ma (Bhutan).

Traditional butter, Nauni ghiu and ma, is produced in the alpine regions of Nepal and Bhutan in yak, nak or chaury herds. It is made from whole milk which has been naturally soured. Cream is not used as the basis for traditional butter in the Himalayan area. Coagulated and acidified milk churns into butter more rapidly than sweet milk owing to the lower viscosity of its serum. It is also believed that the ghee made from butter churned from soured whole milk has the best flavour. In Nepal the butter churn made of raw wood and used in yak herd areas is known as a tolum. It is a cylindrical wooden churn of about 20–30 litres capacity. No salt is added. The water content may be around 25 per cent. In traditional butter making from soured whole milk the fat losses to the buttermilk are higher in hot weather, therefore higher yields of butter are obtained in cold weather. Butter Salt Tea.

In the alpine regions of Nepal and Bhutan, the butter produced by traditional methods is also used for making butter salt tea. The wooden churn of cylindrical shape has a manual piston type stirrer made of wood or bamboo. It is known as a chyadum. Tibetan tea is churned with hot water, butter and salt. After churning, the butter salt tea is poured into a kettle and kept near a fire so that it is ready to be offered in cups. This type of tea drinking is very common in Tibet, Bhutan and the alpine region of Nepal. Production of Ghee.

Ghee is a very important traditional milk product in Africa, the Middle East and India and neighbouring countries including those of the Himalayan area.

Its main use is for frying of food and its main advantage over butter from which it is traditionally prepared is its superior keeping quality derived from the almost complete removal of water during the making process. The boiling process drives off moisture and reduces the water content to well below one per cent so effectively preventing microbial growth. At the same time the boiling process destroys spoilage bacteria, all pathogens and inactivates some of the enzymes resulting from bacterial growth in the milk and butter.

The production of ghee is practised at household, village and industrial level in some countries.

For example in India ninety per cent of the ghee is produced by the traditional method of making unsalted butter (makkhan) first and then converting it into ghee. About 650,000 metric tons of ghee are produced in India annually.


Ghee originated in India long before recorded history. The name has its origin in the Sanskrit word meaning ‘bright’. The Vedas contain many references to ghee. About 650,000 metric tons of ghee are produced in India per annum of which 90 per cent is produced by the traditional method of making makkan and then converting it into ghee.

Makkhan (traditional unsalted butter made by hand churning whole milk dahi at room temperature) is placed in a metal vessel and heated to about 110 to 120°C with constant stirring over a low fire to evaporate the moisture. When practically all the moisture has been removed, further heating is avoided by removing the vessel from the fire. After the residue has settled down on cooling, the clear fat is decanted into suitable containers. At factory-scale modern processing equipment is used. Ghee is made either (i) from creamery butter or (ii) directly from cream.

  1. Unsalted creamery butter (commonly known as white butter) is heated in a ghee boiler which consists of a stainless steel jacketed pan provided with a manual stirrer. The pan has an outlet in the bottom for emptying the content as required. Butter is first melted at low heat and then the steam pressure in the jacket is increased so that the mass begins to boil. The contents are constantly agitated throughout the process to prevent scorching. Usually there is profuse effervescence accompanied by a crackling sound in the early stages of boiling which decreases as the moisture evaporates. When practically all the moisture has been removed the temperature of the liquid mass suddenly shoots up and the heating at this time has to be carefully controlled. The end point is indicated by the appearance of a second effervescence, which is much finer than the first, together with the browning of the curd particles. At this stage the characteristic ghee flavour develops.

    The final temperature of heating generally ranges from 110 to 120°C depending upon the practices in different regions. In some parts of India it is heated to higher temperatures resulting in a burnt or overcooked flavour which is relished in those parts.

    After cooling and sedimentation the ghee is filtered through a muslin cloth to remove the sediment known as ‘ghee residue’ which consists mostly of burnt co-precipitates.

    The product acquires the characteristic granular texture on cooling and is generally packed in tin containers, glass bottles and plastic pouches.

  2. Cream is heated in a ghee boiler as described above. The procedure of heating and moisture removal, final temperature of clarification, cooling and sediment removal and granulation also remain the same. The direct cream method yields a higher quantity of ghee residue and takes a longer time. However, a method where plastic cream is directly heated and converted to ghee has been used and resulted in higher yields. The cream may be washed to reduce the content of solids-not-fat. This reduces the ghee residue, thereby increasing the yield of ghee.

    The colour of cow ghee is deep yellow while that from buffalo milk is white with a characteristic yellowish or greenish tinge. It has a pleasant cooked and rich flavour. The taste is usually characteristic of the milk fat; slightly acidic flavours are sometimes preferred.

Typical ghee has the following composition:-

Milk fat (per cent)99–99.599–99.5
Moisture (per cent)0.2–0.50.2–0.5
Unsaponifiable matter  
(a) carotene (mg/g)3.2–7.4-
(b) vitamin A (IU/g)19–3417–38
(c) tocopherol (mg/g)26–4818–37
Free fatty acids  
(per cent oleic)1–31–3

Ghee should meet the following legal requirements in India:-

butyro refractometer reading at 4°C 40–45 (depending on the region) R.M. value (minimum) 21–28 (depending on the region) FFA per cent (as oleic acid) (maximum) 3.0 Moisture, per cent, (maximum) 0.5

In India and Nepal under existing trade practices, grading of ghee is carried out to a limited extent at different places and stages of collection by rule-of-thumb methods. Grading requires testing of the product immediately before packing and sealing. Grading assures the customers of the quality and purity of the product.

In India grading of ghee has been made through the Agmark Ghee Grading Scheme initiated by the Government of India in 1938. There are the following standards for Agmark ghee:-

Moisture (maximum) 3 per cent, free fatty acids (as oleic acid) not more than 1.4 for special quality and not more than 2.5 for general quality.

A ghee refinery may submit an application to the appropriate authorities for the issue of a certificate of authorisation for the grading of ghee. After an authorised certificate is obtained, the product is given the Agmark stamp of quality.

The methods used for ghee preparation in other countries are summarised in Table 19.


Malai (Balai) is the firm skin that forms on cooling boiled milk. The yield of malai depends on the type of milk and the temperatures to which it is boiled. It is not generally sold through markets or halwai shops.

This product is made at home by skimming off the firm skin from the cooled boiled milk and melting it into ghee.

To meet Indian legal requirements, malai should contain a minimum of 25 per cent milk fat.

Table 19. A comparison of ghee production in several countries
 Southern and eastern Africa GeneralSouthern and eastern Africa EthiopiaWest Africa- MaliMiddle East- SyriaNepal and Bhutan
Local name(s) of productVaries with the countryNigour kibe (melted butter) Nitir kibe (butteroil or spiced ghee)Sirme (ghee)Samneh (butteroil or ghee)Ghee orghyu (clarified butter fat)
IntroductoryProduction of butter and thereafter ghee is closely associated with the local methods for preparing fermented milk which has been soured over several days.Traditionally butter (kibe) is made by churning sour milk which has fermented in a container which may be calabash, clay pot, grass or woven plant fibre, or a hollowed wooden vessel for 3–5 days. The vessel used is subjected to smoking treatment before use.Butter which has been churned - normally using a bottle gourd of around 5 litres capacity - from soured whole milk is the starting point.All butter and ghee produced in Syria is made from sheep or cow milk but the price of sheep milk ghee is higher than that from cow milk.Traditional ghee orghyu in Nepal is used almost universally as a shortener of pastries, as a frying medium and as an ingredient of cooked products. It contributes greatly to the calorific value of foods. It is also used in religious festivals and functions.
Outline methodButter produced by churning fermented milk in gourds is placed in a saucepan. pot or other suitable container.Butter resulting from churning of the soured milk is the basis of two products:-Fresh butter (nebam) is placed in a calabash bowl and kneaded with the convex part of the calabash ladle to remove excess butter milk.At the village level butter is made from cream normally called koshtah. The cow milk is boiled and since the fat is lighter than the serum the cream layer slowly forms at the surface and is taken off continuously.Ghee may be made direct from cream but this is not considered as a traditional method.
(a) Nigour kibe (melted butter) which is prepared by heating fresh butter in a saucepan to about 40°C on a slow fire. During the heating. bishop's weed. and cardamon seeds are added to the butter.
The traditional method is based on processing of butter which has been produced by churning dahi produced from cow or buffalo milk.
 The container with the butter is placed on a traditional wood-fired cookstove with a slow fire to boil off the moisture in the butter.
 The butter is then transferred to a metal saucepan and placed over the fire.
 The cream is shaken in a special container or in a sac made of sheepskin or goatskin until butter is formed.The acidity consistency and quality of the dahi is affected by the ambient temperature.
 There are 2 variations in the method:-This product is made to lengthen the shelf life of fresh butter. It is an intermediate between butter and ghee and contains about 10 per cent moisture. It can be kept at normal room temperature for about 6 months without developing noticeable rancidity.
 Water is driven off during the heating process and the process of ghee making is either stopped before the yellowish clear product is obtained or continued till the process is completed.
 (a) The ghee is prepared by simply heating the butter until it is ready as judged by colour - light brown for the ghee residue and straw yellow for the melted butterfat. The molten butterfat is decanted and is then termed ghee.
 Butter prepared by churning the dahi is not drained completely and may contain 25 to 35 per cent of water.
 Butter is placed in tin or copper containers and heated to around 100°C to drive off the water.
 The preparation of ghee involves the evaporation of the moisture from the butter by heating it in a container over a fire until all the water has been removed. The molten butterfat is then recovered. Normal yield is around 1 kg of ghee from 20 kg milk.
 (b) Nitir kibe is spiced ghee and is used for cooking For its preparation either kibe (traditional butter) or nigour kibe is inspected and cleaned of any visible impurities and placed in a saucepan over a fire. When the butter is melted, powdered spices, composed of fenugreek, black cumin, bishop's weed, cardamon, long pepper, ginger, sacred basil, black pepper, turmeric, rue and garlic are added either directly or enclosed in a small cloth bag.The partially boiled product and the final product are either consumed by the maker and his family or sold in the local market.Ground wheat is added to the boiling butter to absorb the remaining water and to reduce the boiling period.
 (b) Cereal flour or left- overs of the traditional hard porridge is added during the heating to assist in the clarification of the ghee. The non-fat milk solids of the butter precipitate together with the added cereals to form a nutritious and delicious by-product which is usually given to children as an occasional meal
 After the boiling foam has disappeared the hot ghee is filtered through wire mesh sieve and poured into clay pots which are stored in the dark.
 Various agencies including the producers, village merchants, middlemen traders and wholesale merchants are involved in the collection and distribution of traditional ghee.
 This practice is widespread around Lake Victoria in Tanzania, the Kamba in Kenya and with the Ethiopian Borana.
 On an industrial scale in government factories, butter is the main material for ghee production. The freshly-made butter is taken from the churns and placed in the boiling vats where it is heated and the water content is reduced to around 0.2 per cent. The fat content after the heating or boiling stage is completed is 99.5 per cent and there is 0.3 per cent of milk protein and other solids. 
  The mixture is then heated to about 80°C or until a clear yellowish liquid is obtained. The pan is then removed from the source of heat and allowed to cool. During cooling, the non-fat milk solids and the spices settle to the bottom and the yellowish fat layer is decanted and filtered through a clean cloth into a clean container.
 The vessel for storing nitir kibe is calabash, a clay pot or a large cattle horn. This product is kept in a cool place within the house and when required a portion is removed from the container using a horn spoon.
 The final product is packed in 2–17 kg cans.
Quality characteristicsThe flavour of the ghee varies from place to place depending on the age of the butter from which it was made, for instance, the Maasai people preter ghee made from slightly rancid butter.The product keeps for more than 6 months at normal room temperature.Ghee produced in the village-level operations has a different flavour and aroma from that produced in the government's factories due to differences in the acidity and quality of the milk and cream.In the Himalayan area the quality of the butter is mostly acidic, rancid and stale. Rancid butter may give rancid ghee.
Some quality grading of ghee takes place under existing trade practices.

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