Tuesday, December 15, 2009

first homemade kvas, part 1

For my first kvas I used the recipe that calls for rye sourdough starter that I found at http://ask.metafilter.com/64513/Kvas-recipe:
Here is a simple recipe for kvas in every way except time (preparation takes at least 5 days, though you don't have to be paying attention the whole time) but I imagine it will be very good. My wife just got a great cookbook called "Bread Matters" and I noticed the kvas recipe in it just a few days ago.

The (five) days before, prepare a rye production sourdough (recipe below).

450 grams rye bread
4 1/2 litres water
300 grams molasses
150 grams rye production sourdough
2 raisins per bottle

Cut the bread into small pieces and dry them out thoroughly, either in a warm place or in a low oven. Put them in a bucket of at least 5 litres capacity. Boil the water and pour in over the bread. Cover and leave until the temperature has dropped to about 35 degrees. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into another bucket. Press the crumbly sludge very gently to release the last of the liquid, but do not squeeze it hard or too much sediment will fall in. Add the molasses to the warm liquid and mix thoroughly. Then mix in the rye sourdough and leave it in a warm place for twelve hours. In the morning, strain and pour into sterilized bottles, adding the two raisins per bottle. Seal the bottles and leave them in a cool place.

If after two days, the bottles have not carbonated, give them a shake and move them to a warm place to carbonate. Drink chilled, or use as the liquid for making soup such as borshch.

In order to make rye production sourdough, you first have to make rye sourdough starter.

To make a rye sourdough starter, start by mixing together 25 grams of rye flour and 50 grams of warm water; keep these in a warm place. The next day, add another 25 grams of rye flour and 50 grams of warm water. Again on day three, and again on day four; same proportions. Leave the mixture for one more day; now you have your rye sourdough starter.

Now, take 50 grams of the starter. Add 150 grams rye flour and 300 grams water. Mix together to form a sloppy mixture and leave for 12-24 hours. Now you have your rye production sourdough.

I started with 485 grams of fresh bread.

The bread dried to 371g. Broken open it was not really fully dry inside, but close. I failed to break it into small pieces to start with.

I combined the boiling water and bread and five hours later poured, strained, and added the molasses and starter.

The water tastes just like liquid rye bread. With molasses, the flavor is just what you'd expect.

The rye sourdough starter tastes startlingly like a Belgian ale! It's crazy!

I did not do anything to avoid aeration and didn't take any sanitization steps up to this point.

The next day I bottled, ending up with three full Martinelli's bottles (25 ounces, I think), plus maybe eight ounces of dregs. I cleaned and sanitized the bottles, funnel, and filter, but did not use any gear to prevent aeration during pouring.

It had certainly fermented and was quite lively on the tongue. The molasses is the predominant flavor and it's rather sweet. I would try making this with a different adjunct, and unless it becomes dryer in the bottle I would use less.

About an inch of sediment settled in the bottles. Two days later, I opened one. Ooooooh. Aaaaaah. All but about three ounces blasted forth like foam from a fire hose. It was quite magnificent in a dancing about the sink trying to keep the walls and ceiling dry sort of way. Needless to say, what remained was murky. It wasn't all that different in flavor or carbonation from when it went into the bottle. The boys didn't really like it. I thought it was OK for sipping but it's not what I'd call a refreshing beverage.

About a week ago I bought a two liter bottle of homemade kvas at European Foods. The proprietor told me to exercise caution when opening it. It was quite explosive, all right. Even the third and fourth openings caused it to release mighty blasts of CO2 and completely stir up the sediment. Hmm.

Well, crud. I'm going to leave the other two bottles alone for a while and think about how to better extract their contents. Mayhap extreme cold would help. At the very least I'll have to capture it and if it's not drinkable use it as a soup base or something.

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