My good friend Jason recently told me about a drink called kvass, which he had many times when he lived in Russia. He said everyone told him it was made from black bread. Neither of us really understood what that meant, so I went to ask the Internets, who knew exactly what I was looking for, of course. Jason had been reminded of kvass as we sipped my somewhat sour Munton's Irish Stout. He said the tang was definitely similar. It sounded intriguing so I knew I had to find a homebrew recipe for it.
Kvass is a fermented drink very similar to beer, except instead of being made from grain, it is made from bread, which, of course, is made from grain. Typically a person might wait until bread got hard and stale, rendering it virtually unusable for normal bread purposes. Then you mix it with hot water and add whatever flavoring you want, whether mint, honey, hops, spices, or herbs. Strain it, let it cool, and add yeast.
I sent a recipe to Andy to see if he had heard of such a beverage before, and he said no, indicating that it seemed too much like prison hooch for his taste. As demonstrated before, I am not above prison hooch. It's not what I care to drink, but can be palatable enough if made right. If nothing else, I have a skill to trade, should I be locked up for something. It never hurts to be prepared.
I am about to try my hand at making kvass. Here is the recipe I am using for a one-gallon batch, found online as Kvass Recipe 4:
Ingredients for 1 gallon:
1 loaf dry dark rye bread (approx 24 slices)
1-1/2 gal boiling water
3 c sugar
2 pkgs yeast
1/4 c golden raisins
Put bread in a tea towel & tie bundle securely with string. Put bundle in crock & pour in boiling water. Cover & let set until water is lukewarm. Remove bundle & let drip into clean pan. Pour drip water back into crock, making sure no bread is in the water. Add sugar, then yeast, stir & cover. Set in a warm place 10 to 12 hours. There will be a slight yeast settlement. Pour the clear liquid into a jug & add raisins. Cork the bottle or put a lid on the jar, but not too tightly, or the cork will blow. Refrigerate for 5 days, then strain before serving. Yield will be about a gallon.
Be sure to use air locks on your bottles or jug. After a few days, fermentation will have ceased and you can rack it as much as you want until it is your preferred level of clarity, or drink it immediately.
Another page you can go to for kvass recipes is on Metafilter. Have you ever tried this drink? Better yet, have you ever made it? Any guidance would be helpful!