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Old 03-31-2014, 04:37 AM   #1
TasunkaWitko
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Default Russian Kvas ~

Has anyone tried it?

Quote:
Kvas
Mint-Flavoured Bread Beer


Photo Credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...bread_kvas.jpg

From Time/Life's Foods of the World - Russian Cooking, 1969:

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 to 115 degrees)
2 tablespoons frsh mint leaves or 1 tablespoon crumbled, dry mint
2 tablespoons raisins

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. 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 the 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 to 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 to 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 rebottle 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 for dishes such as okroshka and botvinia.
I'm thinking of giving this a go after my Finnish Sima:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f30/sima-finland-467664/
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Old 03-31-2014, 11:20 AM   #2
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I have not done it but I have thought about it. I just tend to not keep rye bread around long enough to brew with it.

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Old 03-31-2014, 11:29 AM   #3
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I tried it a few times while traveling Russia, couldn't get into it. The 10 year old kids lining up for it at 10am seemed to love it however! I guess it's not very strong though so not a big deal to serve it to kids?

I couldn't get over the bread yeast nose...

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Old 04-01-2014, 06:25 PM   #4
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I'll probably try this now that my Finnish Sima is bottled and waiting for Vappu.

would anyone be able to tell me - if I want to double the batch in the recipe above, would it be a straight, 1-for-1 doubling as far as the amounts of ingredients go? I know that with some things (such as multiplying spices etc.) when you scale up, you don't scale up all ingredinets to the same degree.

Thanks -

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Old 04-02-2014, 12:41 AM   #5
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I did two kvas so far. I started them with the assumption that kvas was a farm drink used in the old days to salvage old and stale bread. So it was not designed to be fancy but rather to make a refreshing summer drink with cheap ingredients. for this reason I didn't use pumpernickel but stale bread that I collected over several weeks and put in the freezer so it didn't get moldy. It had some rye bread in it, maybe a third. It didn't matter to me. I also didn't use mint. I decided I could add it later to the keg or scrape some lemon zests into the glass.

The first one didn't work too well. In fact it was a disaster. When I let the bread soak in warm water it turned into a thick dough. I could not extract any liquid out of it. It more or less looked like a porridge. The only missing thing were some decorative raisins on top of it. I managed to ferment and bottle it. After a while the liquid finally separated in the bottles. The kvas became even drinkable. but the solid portion at the bottom of the bottles made the whole thing a bit off putting.

My next attempt was more successful. Here is my secret. I could have used rice hulls but having made a batch of beer in the morning I still had the spent grain in the mash tun. I decided to add the bread to it. I added a good portion of hot water and mixed everything. The spent grain allowed me to collect the run off easily, rinse the "kvas mash" with hot water and even vorlauf. The result was a relatively bright liquid that I put directly into the fermenter. I didn't boil the "kvas wort". I only heated the mash up to 180F to kill most of the nasties.

To start the fermentation I could have tossed the raisins - they bring additional sugar and have wild yeast on them, that's why they are used. Instead I used a pack of Safale-US05 and a pinch of crushed malt. The lacto present in the crushed grain gave a bright tart to the beverage. Once the kvas fermented I put everything into a keg. With time the kvas became extremely bright, tart and very refreshing. We tried different flavorings. Lemon zests are nice, but personally I prefer it "au naturel".

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Old 04-04-2014, 08:16 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info, selivem - I'm thinking that this will be some good stuff. I'll probably see about starting a batch next week.

There is actually a small company that brews Kvas not too far from here in Montana, and the next time I am in the western part of the state, I do believe I will pick some up in order to give it a try.

Here's the link:

http://www.kolokolkvass.com/

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Old 04-04-2014, 09:05 PM   #7
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I make kvas in the summer because it was readily available back home and it works wonders to quench the thirst. Simplicity is the key. Best kvas will turn out from about third or fourth batch once your natural yeast bank establishes itself. On first batch you can use baking dry yeast but the flavor is going to be mmm... yeasty. Usually rye flour has all the yeast you need so I advise you not use bread yeast at all but it makes for longer ferment.

1)Couple loafs of rye bread, cut to finger size pieces and toasted in oven until golden/brown. The darker the bread the darker the kvas will be. I like it as dark as possible, just don't burn it. Soak this bread in boiling water to release all goodnes and color, and let soak for hour or so. The hardest part is to separate now soggy bread from liquid. I use cheese cloth and it works great. Cool collected liquid overnight in fridge so nothing grows there for time being.

2)Cup of sugar or honey, I don't have exact measurements but if I remember correctly 300-350 grams for 2 gal or so. Its not exact science. If finished kvas is too sharp scale down on sugar.

3)Add bread yeast or better yet couple tablespoons of rye flour. It will have all yeast you need. I don't like bread yeast it creates harsh yeasty flavor and in delicate beverage like this you will notice it. The best kvas will be made if you continue re-use yeast. After kvas fermented save some sediment in mason jar (refrigerated) and re-use it within a week. If you continue do this in cycle your kvas will improve in taste. If your gap between kvas making sessions are longer than a week, make sure you add tablespoon of fresh rye flour to your yeast jar to keep thing alive in there.

4)Fill plastic bottles with kvas, add 1-2 teaspoons of sugar or honey to 2L bottle as well as couple raisins and leave at room temperature for two more days to get some carbonation. Don't get crazy with carbonation this beverage is not as fizzy as soda. Refrigerate for 2 more days and enjoy. Kvas will be fully ready in less than a week.

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Old 04-04-2014, 09:28 PM   #8
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That is great information, paraordnance! Thank you for sharing it!

If I read you correctly, the sediment will provide the starter for the next batch, similar to a sourdough starter for bread?

I am looking forward to trying this. I have a real love for projects such as this, with a traditional and historical context. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!

Ron

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Old 04-07-2014, 08:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TasunkaWitko View Post
That is great information, paraordnance! Thank you for sharing it!

If I read you correctly, the sediment will provide the starter for the next batch, similar to a sourdough starter for bread?

I am looking forward to trying this. I have a real love for projects such as this, with a traditional and historical context. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!

Ron
Correct, save some sediment and re-use it. I usually pack some of soggy bread left overs in 500 ml mason jar and add couple tablespoons of yeast sediment from previous batch. Yeast will have something to eat and will be happy for a week.
Good natural yeast is at most important when making kvas. It takes few generations to get to that point. Once you start making kvas you will notice how taste will improve after several generations.
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:55 AM   #10
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Got it - thanks!

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