Kvas (Mint-Flavoured Bread Beer) – Beverages and Drinks Recipes

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Kvas (Mint-Flavoured Bread Beer) – Beverages and Drinks Recipes

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Recipe ingredients and directions:

"For drink the peasant diet had kvas, which was much like the 'small 

beer' of Western Europe. It could be made from grain and malt, but was

often made from leftover dark bread soaked in hot water and allowed to

ferment for a few hours; sugar, fruit or honey was customarily added as a

sweetener. The finished brew could be drunk on the spot or bottled for

later use; in some households a part of the brew served as a fermented

stock for soups. Homemade kvas is somewhat effervescent and only

slightly alcoholic. It has never enchanted many non-Russians, but it had

an important place in the peasant diet. It was cheap and the yeast

suspended in it, like the vegetables in shchi [cabbage soup] or borshch

[beet soup], formed a nutricious supplement to a limited diet."

Kvas (Mint-Flavoured Bread Beer)

To make 6 cups

1 pound day-old black bread or Danish pumpernickel

2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup lukewarm water (110 - 115F)

2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves or 1 tablespoon crumbled dried mint

2 tablespoons raisins

Preheat the oven to 200F. Place the bread in the oven for about 1 hour,

or until it is thoroughly dry. With a heavy knife, cut and chop it

coarsely. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in an 8-quart casserole and

drop in the bread. Remove from heat, cover loosely with a kitchen towel,

and set it aside for at least 8 hours. Strain the contents of the

casserole through a fine sieve set over another large pot or bowl,

pressing down hard on the soaked bread with the back of a large spoon

before discarding it.

Sprinkle the yeast and 1/4 teaspoon of the sugar over the 1/4 cup of

lukewarm water and stir to dissolve the yeast completely. Set aside in a

warm, draft-free spot (such as an unlighted oven) for about 10 minutes,

or until the mixture almost doubles in volume. Stir the yeast mixture,

the remaining sugar and the mint into the strained bread water, cover

with a towel, and set aside for at least 8 hours.

Strain the mixture again through a fine sieve set over a large bowl or

casserole, then prepare to bottle it. You will need 2 - 3 quart-sized

bottles, or a gallon jug. Pour the liquid through a funnel 2/3 of the

way up the sides of the bottle. Then divide the raisins among the

bottles and cover the top of each bottle with plastic wrap, secured with

a rubber band. Place in a cool -- but not cold -- spot for 3 - 5 days,

or until the raisins have risen to the top and the sediment has sunk to

the bottom. Carefully pour off the clear amber liquid and re-bottle it

in the washed bottles. Refrigerate until ready to use. Although

Russians drink kvas as a cold beverage, it may also be used as a cold-soup

stock in okroshka [chilled vegetable soup with meat] or botvinia [green

vegetable soup with fish].

Category: Beverages & Drinks Recipes

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Paul

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