(Russian fermented rye beverage)
2 1/2 quarts
- Stale dark rye bread, cubed -- 1 pound
- Water -- 3 quarts
- Active dry yeast -- 1 (1/2-ounce) packet, or 2 1/2 teaspoons
- Water, lukewarm (110°F) -- 1/4 cup
- Sugar -- 1 cup
- Raisins -- 2 tablespoons
- Preheat oven to 200°F. Spread the cubes of bread on a baking sheet and place in the for about an hour, or until the bread is fairly well dried out.
- Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the bread. Cover with a clean towel and let rest in a dark, cool place for 8 to 10 hours.
- Pour the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve or strainer, gently pressing one the bread to get the liquid out. Don't press too hard, or your kvas will turn cloudy.
- Mix the yeast with the warm water and a pinch of the sugar. Set the yeast mixture aside for 10 minutes to proof until foamy. Stir into the strained liquid along with the 1 cup of sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved. Cover again with the towel and let set another 8 to 10 hours.
- Strain the liquid again through a fine-meshed sieve or strainer and pour into a 1-gallon pitcher or container. Add the raisins and cover tightly with plastic wrap and a rubber band. Set in a dark, cool place for 4 or 5 days until the yeast sediment has settled to the bottom of the container and a clear liquid remains.
- Carefully pour off the clear liquid into a clean container or individual bottles, taking care not to disturb the yeast sediment. Chill well before serving.
- Add 2 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves along with the yeast and sugar.
- Some recipes substitute berry juice for 2 to 3 cups of the water, giving it a refreshing, fruity flavor.
- Kvas is often served unfiltered, with the yeast sediment. This gives it a richer flavor and boosts its vitamin content.
- The final fermentation can also take place in stoppered bottles if you like. In step five, pour the strained liquid into individual beer bottles. Add one or two raisins to each bottle and rest for 4 or 5 days. Move to a refrigerator and store chilled until consumed. CAUTION: the bottles have an alarming habit of popping open from pressure during the fermentation. So it's best if you know what you're doing.
- Apart from its use as a beverage, kvas is often used as a based for soups and stews, including borshch.