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Fermented Milk Products From All Over the World • Amasi (South Africa)


Amasi or maas, as it is called in Afrikaans, is a traditional product made out of fermented milk, which is similar to thick sour milk. In a place where refrigerators are uncommon, the appearance of fermented products was more a necessity rather than just a curiosity. Also, doctors noticed that the children who consumed amasi have less digestive problems, so people learned that fermented milk is healthy and consumed it even more. Amasi is very interesting as it is not yogurt, being thicker, but not cheese either, as you can still drink it. People in South Africa drink it as it is or adds it to various dishes, such as a porridge made with maize flour. The product is usually served in bowls made out of clay and eaten with wooden spoons.

In order to make amasi, people put the fresh milk in a sack made out of hide and mix it with a bit of amasi that was previously made. This is an extremely easy way of making amasi, as the previous batch has all the bacteria needed to start the fermentation process. It is the same when you are making yogurt by using a small quantity of readily made yogurt. When it comes to the bacterial composition of amasi, it differs from one community of people to another. We are talking about live bacteria here, which can develop and adapt, changing over time. Or the beverage can acquire new bacteria, from the environment where it is prepared, this is why there isn’t a specific recipe for amasi.

But, if we talk about industrially-made amasi, then the product is made using bacteria like L. lactis subspecies cremoris and Lactococcus lactis subspecies lactis.

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