Chal, or shubat (Kazakh: шұбат ), is a Turkic (especially Turkmen and Kazakh) beverage of fermented camel milk, sparkling white with a sour flavor, popular in Central Asia — particularly in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. In Kazakhstan the drink is known as shubat, and is a staple summer food. Due to preparation requirements and perishable nature, chal has proved difficult to export. Agaran (fermented cream) is collected from the surface of chal.

Fermented chal is reputed to possess virucidal and virus inhibiting properties not found in fresh camel or cow milk, both in its liquid and lyophilized form — characteristic unaffected by shelf life.

Chal is typically prepared by first souring camel milk in a skin bag or ceramic jar by adding previously soured milk. For 3–4 days, fresh milk is mixed in; the matured chal will consist of one third to one fifth previously soured milk.

Camel milk will not sour for up to 72 hours at temperatures below 10°C (50°F). At 30°C (86°F) the milk sours in approximately 8 hours (compared to cow's milk, which sours within 3 hours).

A comparison of the composition of camel milk and camel chal:

Camel milk Chal
acidity 18° 28°
fat 4.3% 4.3%
lactose 2.75% 1.32%
non-fat solids 8.2% 6.6%
ash 0.86% 0.75%
ethyl alcohol 1.1%
ascorbic acid 5.6 mg% 4.8 mg%

The chal contained Lactobacilli lactic; streptococci and yeast.

Chal may be cultured with lactobacillus casei, streptococcus thermophilus and lactose-fermenting yeasts incubating in inoculated milk for 8 hours at 25°C (77°F), and then subsequently for 16 hours at 20°C (68°F). Holder pasteurization does not affect the quality of the milk, but pasteurization at higher temperatures ( 85°C/185°F) for 5 minutes negatively impacts flavour. Chal made from pure cultures of lactobacillus casei, streptococcus thermophilus and species of torula has markedly less not-fat solids and lactose than the milk from which it is made.

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