2188 Excellent kvass

Kvas otlichnyj


Pour 4 lbs malted flour into 50 glasses cold water—that is, almost 17 bottles or 17 half-shtofs. [1 bottle = ½ shtof] Mix and add enough rye flour (approximately 1 pood) to form a thick dough, but a little thinner than for bread. Prepare this dough at 9 o’clock in the evening, and keep it at room temperature until 7 o’clock in the morning, at which time you must have prepared 4–5 pails of boiling water and have heated the oven hot enough for baking bread. (In summer the dough will be ready sooner.) Dilute the prepared dough with the boiling water and pour into glazed jugs or even into kettles—but the color will not be as clear if kettles are used. Cover tightly and set in the oven for a full 24 hours. Watch that the dough does not overflow, but if that happens, immediately set a kettle of cold water in the oven.

After 12 hours, remove the kettles without shaking them. Fill them with boiling water and return them to the same oven for another 12 hours. Meanwhile, prepare a trough with a small opening in the middle. Place a clean stick or spill over this opening, spread hay on top, and cover with a single layer of thick canvas. Remove the kettles from the oven, let them stand 2 hours, and then carefully pour the liquid into the trough, which must drain into a prepared vat. Remove all the sediment from the kettle to allow all the liquid to drain off.

While this wort is being strained, prepare a bunch each of rowanberries, mint, and black currant twigs (twice as large as the bunches of berries and mint). Beat 1 tablespoon bread leaven with rye flour and let rise for 2 hours. When it has risen, place the prepared bunches of herbs in a small saucepan, fill the saucepan with some of the strained wort, and bring to a boil. Pour the wort into 3-pail kegs and add 1–3 spoons of the prepared leaven, according to the acidity of the wort. Set the kegs in the kitchen in the winter for 7 hours, or, in summer, in the cold cellar for 12 hours. Then bottle, adding a raisin to each bottle.* Cork the bottles and place them on their sides in [a box of] sand on ice.

*A few raisins were traditionally added to home brews to monitor the fermentation process; when the raisins stopped bobbing around and floated on top of the liquid, the fermentation was finished.