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New culture could bring Russian milk drink to new markets

By Jess Halliday , 11-Mar-2010

Danisco is introducing a new culture to make industrial production of ryazhenka easier and more consistent, and is expecting the traditional Russian milk drink to garner interest worldwide in the future.

Ryazhenka is a traditional Russian milk drink which is baked to achieve a caramelised, toffee-like flavour and creaminess. Once made in the home, it is now made on an industrial scale, but the high temperatures required mean it can be hard to achieve expected creaminess and no sour notes.

The new culture, called Yo-Mix TA 460 LYO, was developed especially for ryazhenka, and is said to deliver consistent creaminess, mild flavour, smoothness and viscosity. It is added after the whole milk has been heated to 95c then stored in double-jacketed tanks for up to five hours.

It is a St. thermophilus strain, which fits with the Russian food authorities’ requirement for the culture strain used in any product labelled as ryazhenka.

“The culture is for direct vat inoculation and freeze dried,” said technical sales manager for Danisco Moscow Jan Pärn, “making it easy to transport over long distances”.

The portability of the culture is important given the size of Russia. But although Russia is the main market, a spokesperson for Danisco Cultures told FoodNavigator.com that ryazhenka could be adopted as an ethnic product sold in other countries, too.

There is already a good precedent for an ethnic Eastern European dairy product going global in kefir, a fermented effervescent dairy drink from the Caucasus region. Indeed US-based Lifeway Foods is already offering ryazhenka alongside its portfolio of kefirs.

“These products are expanding as the taste of the consumer is opening up to different types of milk application,” said the spokesperson.

Danisco already offers a range of cultures to dairy product manufacturers around the world, and the new culture will “definitely proposed to manufacturers around the world”.

She added that although the culture has been developed for ryazhenka, it may also be of interest to makers of mainstream yoghurt products, which could benefit from the viscosity and interesting flavour profile it brings.

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