Kvas (mint-flavored Bread Beer) Recipe

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Ingredients & Directions

1 lb Day-old black bread or
-danish pumpernickel
2 tb Active dry yeast
1 c Sugar
1/4 c Lukewarm water (110 – 115F)
2 tb Fresh mint leaves -or-
1 tb Crumbled dried mint
2 tb Raisins

“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.”

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]. Makes 6 cups.




From rec.food.cooking archives. Downloaded from Glen’s MM Recipe Archive,

1 Servings

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