Fermented Milk Products from All Over the World • Blaand (Scotland)
If you never heard about an alcoholic beverage that is made out of fermented milk, then do know that Scotland has it. While it is true that some fermented milk products, such as kefir, has a slight amount of alcohol, blaand is a real alcoholic beverage by all means due to the fact that one glass of blaand contains as much alcohol as usually found in a glass of wine. This peculiar beverage started to be made by the Vikings, so it is rather old. The tradition of making blaand remained in Scotland, but the product was never produced on a large scale, as it happens with most fermented milk products, remaining something that people prepared mostly at home. But, during the 20th century, people stopped making blaand, until 2005 when it was rediscovered and revived by a Scot that wanted to keep traditions alive. This man was the founder of Fallachan, a brand that sells industrially-made blaand.
This particular beverage is closely connected to the making of cheese in Scotland. But, as people stopped preparing cheese at home, blaand stopped being made as well. You see, blaand is prepared by using the whey that is left behind once the solid part of the fermented milk is turned into cheese. The precise recipe is extremely difficult to find unless you actually talk with a Scot that kept the recipe within the family. This is due to the fact that the recipe for blaand was transmitted through the word of mouth. So, the existent recipes can direct you to prepare blaand, but it is a true challenge to obtain the actual beverage that Scot’s ancestors used to enjoy.
To start with, you can use any kind of whey you like. Whey coming from fermented cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or sheep’s milk will do for the making of this product. So, if you have a preferred type of cheese you prepare, then you can use the remaining whey to make blaand. For this, you will have to separate the curds from the whey, once the milk of your choice fermented and its solid parts coagulated. Next, you will have to add sugar to the whey. The amount of sugar can be between 1 and 1.5 kilograms, according to taste and according to the quantity of whey you have. You may want to warm up the whey a little so that the sugar dissolves entirely. When the mixture cooled down, pour it into a glass container that can be later on secured with a lid. Don’t fill up the container with the mixture as you will need to add some water and a cup of tea as well, so leave some room. Then add the water, not too much, and a cup of tea that has plenty of tannins, for taste and color, and stir the mixture. Finally, you will have to add a small amount of yeast to promote the fermentation process of the beverage. Close the container with a lid and allow it to ferment for a few days. When the liquid starts fermenting, bubbles should be visible, especially at the top. Add a solution made out of sugar and water and allow it to ferment some more, racking it from time to time. When it is ready, the beverage can be stored for months in a row and some say that it gets even better with the passing of time.