Recipe: Russian Baked Milk

Russian baked milk, known as ryazhenka, somewhat resembles sweetened condensed milk. The initial slow heat gives the milk a dense, caramelized quality, and a rich creamy color. The caramelized milk is then cultured with buttermilk. Because it is fermented, it can be safely stored at room temperature for up to 40 hours.



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Pour milk into an oven-safe 9x13-inch casserole dish. Bake 4-5 hours until a golden-brown crust forms on top of the milk.
  3. Remove from oven and cool slightly so the crust can be removed. The milk should be a light tan. Continue to cool to 70°-77°F. At this point, the baked milk is very sweet with caramel notes. You can stop here, if you like, and chill for a sweet, rich milk, or continue with the fermentation.
  4. While the milk is cooling, prepare a vessel for fermentation. A Yogotherm, or a similar type of thermos incubator, works well. Pour the baked milk into the vessel and stir in buttermilk.
  5. Cover the container and leave it in a warm place for 10-12 hours or overnight.
  6. Pour the finished ryazhenka into a bottle or pitcher and store in the refrigerator. It will be somewhat thick, much like drinkable yogurt.

At A Glance

PREP: 12 hours
COOK: 5 hours, 30 minutes
TOTAL: 17 hours, 30 minutes
YIELD: Makes about 1 quart.