Glass of Kvass
(click to enlarge)

Kvass
Slavic, Baltic, etc.
  -   Kvass (Slavic); Gira (Lithuania); Dzira (Latvia); Kali (Estonia); Kalja (Finland)
Makes:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
10 cups  
**
7 days  
Must

This is a very traditional beverage in most Slavic countries, particularly Poland, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Serbia. It is also popular in the Baltic countries, in the Caucasus, and in Western Asia. It is called "non-alcoholic", but will have 0.5% to 1% alcohol. This recipe makes the real thing - commercial products in North American markets are mostly or entirely faked up. They are more like soda pop, and excessively sweet. In this recipe the yeast eats just about all the sugar, so it has a touch of sour.




1-1/2
6
1/4
1/4
1-1/2
3
#
qt
oz
c
c
T
Rye Bread (1)  
Water
Yeast (2)
Water, warm
Sugar
Raisins

Make   -   (6 or 7 days - 1 hr work)
  1. dry BREAD until entirely crisp, in a 200°F/93°C oven, in a Dehydrator, or by other means. Some people toast the bread dark for a darker brew.
  2. Bring 6 quarts Water to a boil in an 8 quart pot. As soon as it boils, take it off the heat and stir in the bread, gently, but getting it all wet. Cover loosely and let it sit in a cool place for 8 to 10 hours.
  3. Strain the liquid from the bread through a fine strainer or by some other means. Gently squeeze liquid out of the bread - not too hard or your Kvass will be cloudy. Clean the pot. Return the strained liquid to the pot. When returning the liquid I strain again through a very fine strainer purchased from an Asian market.
  4. Bring 1/4 c WATER to a temperature of 110°F/43°C. Stir in the Yeast and 1/8 t of the Sugar. Let proof for 10 minutes or until foamy.
  5. Stir the Yeast into the strained Liquid along with 1 cup Sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Cover loosely and set in a cool place for 8 to 10 hours.
  6. Strain the liquid again through a fine strainer. Place in a clean glass or plastic jar. Add the Raisins. Cover with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Set aside in a cool dark place for 4 to 5 days. It is ready when the yeast has settled out and the liquid is almost clear.
  7. When the yeast sediment has settled to the bottom of the container, carefully pour off the clear liquid without disturbing the sediment (yes you will get some of it - see Comments). Strain out the Raisins. Pour it into clean bottles and refrigerate. I use Gerolsteiner Mineral Water bottles with their original caps.
  8. Serve chilled
NOTES:
  1. Rye Bread:   This should be a high quality dark rye bread with no oils or fats in the ingredients list.
  2. Yeast:   What was used here is one packet of Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast (Original). Various brewing yeasts could also be used with some difference in flavor.
  3. Comments:   This beverage is consumed with various amounts of the sediment stirred up. Some sediment is not objectional and increases the vitamin content of the brew. Fruits other than Raisins are often used, as are herbs, such as Mint.
  4. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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