Recipe From Russia: Very Simple Blackbread Kvas and Okroshka!

I was asked about these two recipes and since I was working on an article here in Moscow, Russia about those very recipes, I decided to post them early…

Kvass or kvas (literally “leaven”; borrowed in the 16th century from Russian квас (kvas)), sometimes translated into English as bread drink, is a fermented mildly alcoholic beverage made from black rye or rye bread (which attributes to its light or dark color). It is popular in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland and other Eastern and Central European countries as well as in all ex-Soviet states, like Uzbekistan, where one can see many kvass vendors in the streets. Its origins go back 5,000 years to the beginnings of beer production. (Link)

So lets make a very simple blackbread kvas:

Blackbread Kvas From Russia:

To do this right you need two tubs the same size. (wood preferred, but that is uncommon now, so it will work with good metal buckets. You can also use big glass jars)

45 – 50 ea slices of black bread, place upon large cookie sheets. Place in heated oven till bread is dry and hard. Not burned! Toasted like a crouton but no seasoning…

Place bread in one tub and pour over it 18 – 20 cups of boiling water then cover the tub and allow to stand until around room warmth. 80 – 90 degrees F.

Now you must strain this liquid through cotton cloth or cheese cloth without squeezing. (important part, do not force the straining process.) this is where people mess up. They try to hurry gravity. This leaves the parts of the black bread you do not want behind. This is where the second tub comes in handy.

Add to this strained liquid 48 ounces of molasses and mix it very well. (sorghum does work and in some places cheaper.) (not honey)

Now add 5-6 tablespoons of yeast mixed with 1 tbsp. wheat flour. Excess yeast and flour will destroy the kvas.

Cover lightly with a clean towel. (then go watch a movie and get a good night sleep)

After allowing to stand for 12-16 hours in a warm not hot, quiet place then strain through cloth into clean sterilized tub. (you will find lots of sediment)

Laddle into bottles with funnel, then place 1 – 2 raisins in each bottle; seal (good seal) and store in in the refrigerator or in a cold place. (cellar works good) I use screw top coke bottles and they work great.

Kvas is ready to drink or to use in 2 days time.

Now after a couple of days we can do several things with our delicious Kvas!

1. we can drink it.. (Ummmmm good)

2. We can make a fantastic cold soup or some say – salad.

Okroshka – cold soup – from Russia:

Raw vegetables – cucumbers, new onions, radish, boiled potatoes (no skin in soup) – eggs – ham (very light on the ham, just enough for the smoked flavor)!

Kvas of the black bread variety. (see above)

The ingredients are chopped into small squares and are mixed with kvas just before eating. The ratio of cut veggies to kvas is the same as cold cereal to milk. If that helps give an idea of how many veggies plus stuff to kvas! The idea is to have just enough kvas to keep the veggies crisp. The potatoes and eggs will suck the moisture out of the veggies and cause them to be limp. I like to top it off with a spoon of sour cream

That is it and they are easy to make. Just be very patient and you will succeed. Now remember the Kvas has a small amount of alcohol in it due to the fermenting yeast.

Yummy and more Yummy…

Windows to Russia!
Kyle and Svet

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