The Great Kvas Experiment -- Part Two
- Recipe and Notes for Kvas
I used a kvas concentrate called simply "koncentrat kvasnogo susla". I
comes in a brown, 12 oz bottle that likes like a beer bottle. It is
apparently imported from Russia by a company called "Amros" in NJ. The
concentrate contains rye malt, cornflour, rye flour and barley malt. It is
an _incredibly_ thick, dark brown "liquid". It smells a bit like a
yeast-starter (poolish) for bread-making. It tasted a just a little tangy
and just barely sweet.
The directions are given in Russian and English on the bottle.
"Instructions: To prepare 5 liters of the beverage, mix 8-10 tablespoons
of the concentrate with warm water (35-40 deg C), add 1 2/3 cup of sugar,
6-7 g of yeast and keep in the warm place (20-30 deg C) for about 18-20
hours. Cool before serving. Store the finished beverage in the cool place."
I did not have a container large enough for 5 liters of water, so I had to
scale the recipe down a bit. I did have two glass jars that were about a
half gallon each. After fiddling with a conversion table, a calculator and
an empty half-gallon container for milk (1.89 L), I decided to
"guesstimate". (Hey, it is the way I cook, and Paul has gained at least 30
pounds since I moved in with him, if that's any indication of my cooking
In one of the jars I mixed 6 T of kvas concentrate in hot tap water (about
40-45 deg C according to my candy thermometer). After washing the stuff
off my arms (don't ask), I added a cup and a bit more of sugar (about 1 1/4
C). I divided the mixture equally between the two jars, topping off with
more hot water. The pre-kvas was a very dark, clear brown.
In one of the jars I added about a third of a 7gram packet of dry bread
yeast (about 2 g). The directions didn't say what kind of yeast to use,
but if kvas is made from bread, then bread yeast seems a logical choice. I
covered the jar with a paper towel (the concentrate stains) and then a
folded bread towel. I rested the lid on top to help keep any nasties out,
although I did not exactly use a sterile method in my brewing.
The other jar (non-yeast) I simply capped. I rescued about 1/2 cup of the
non-yeast kvas and stuck it into the fridge as a "control". It tastes very
sweet (I think I added too much sugar), but okay, somewhat reminiscent of a
tamarind beverage without so much tang. Paul didn't like it at all.
I then set the two jars inside my oven, where it is slightly warmer than
the rest of the kitchen (the weather has turned here and it is no longer 88
degrees inside the house). I felt that since I usually put bread in the
oven to rise, why not the kvas?
Now I wait. I'll take the temperatures of the two jars when I remove them,
just for the sake of the record.
Oh yeah, an explanation of why I didn't put yeast in both jars: I don't
like alcohol in any amount. If the yeast-kvas turns out like "gavno", then
I can drink the non-yeast kvas. It won't be fermented, but it gives me
something to compare the yeasted-kvas aginst. I will probably have to
dilute either kvas a bit because the jars I used were not *quite* a half
gallon and I used a lot of sugar because sugar makes everything taste
better, right? :)
The final results of the great kvas experiment will appear later this
evening or early tomorrow.
Ilyana Barsova (Yana) aka Yana Groznaia, evil list-administrator