Ryazhenka (ряженка) - Oven-Baked Version

Yield: About 1 quart

Preheat oven to 350F. Pour milk into an oven-safe 13x9 casserole dish and place in oven. Bake for 4 - 5 hours until a golden brown crust forms on top of the milk. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly so that the crust can be removed. The milk should be light tan. Continue to cool to between 105F and 115F.

At this point, the baked milk is rather good - very sweet with caramel notes. You can stop here, cool it completely and chill.

While the milk is cooling, get your vessel ready. I use a Yogotherm, a styrofoam contraption designed for culturing yogurt. You can use anything similar that will help the milk hold on to its heat as long as possible - a Thermos, insulated carafe, bowl wrapped in towels and a heating pad set on low (Alton's yogurt maker), etc. Pour the milk into the vessel and stir in 1/4 cup of buttermilk. Cover or seal the vessel and leave it in a warm place for 10 - 12 hours (i.e., overnight).

The next day, you should have ryazhenka! Pour off the ryazhenka into a bottle or pitcher and store in the fridge. It will be thick-ish, much like drinkable yogurt.

A recipe from http://kitchenmouse.rozentali.com/2010/06/ryazhenka-baked-cultured-milk/

Posted by Cori Rozentāle on .