Although not as well-known as beer or wine, kvass is a delicious drink that’s well worth a try! Find out more about the origins of this drink, kvass recipes, the perfect food pairings and so much more. Here’s where it all began.
What Is The History Of Kvass?
Kvass is deeply rooted in Russian history. In truth, it can be traced a lot further back than before Russia was even in existence. An antiquated version of kvas is said to have been found in Ancient Egypt, Babylon and Greece, although the exact origin is unclear. Kvas came to Russia just a little over 1 000 years ago.
This drink was mentioned in Russian manuscripts from this time. It was a daily drink in old Russia and was valued for its thirst-quenching properties and revitalising effect. It was the drink that farmers would have in the field on a hot day.
Back in those days, people believed that kvas had healing properties. Modern-day science has proved that these beliefs were not without reason. Kvass does have properties that assist with killing parasites and harmful bacteria, which made it safer to drink than water at that time.
Kvass is not dissimilar from borsch. The general rules for cooking these drinks are the same however every person makes it with their own nuances. All the more so as kvass provides a lot of room for experimentation: the difference could be both in the quantities and kinds of ingredients in addition to the peculiarities of the cooking process itself.
For instance, to prepare the wort (bread or flour with water included and left for fermentation), either cold or hot water could be utilised. The result is dependent on the selection between the two.
Alternatively the time the wort was kept in the oven or in the vats varied. Ultimately, the barrels where the kvass was supposed to ferment may be coated with sugar, hops, mint, raisins or honey.
This drink used to be considered proper food. This is why the verb used with it was to “eat” as opposed to “drink”. In times of famine, kvas allowed people to survive. Although kvass was liquid as it is now, it created a feeling of fullness and served as a basis for a number of different dishes: from okroshka (ultimately, a salad with kvass) to tyurya with scallions (a bread crust soup).
Is Kvass Considered Alcoholic?
Kvas is normally sold unfiltered and has yeast in it. Thus, the alcohol content is challenging to standardise. Usually, kvass has not more than 1.5% of alcohol by volume however if it stands for a longer period of time, the concentration can become 2.5% or higher. As opposed to beer, the kvass is generally considered to be a non-alcoholic beverage and is consumed by children of all ages without any limitations.
Is Kvass A Beer?
Kvass is a non-alcoholic beer that is slightly sour. It is of Slavic origin and is commonly made from rye bread or flour and is flavoured with mint or fruits. Today it is available on street corners in Russia, Latvia, Uzbekistan as well as many other countries of the former Eastern bloc. Here it is frequently dispensed from mobile tanks, and in 2-litre bottles, like soda (to which it relates as much as it does to beer).
Kvas’ production beginnings are as temporally distant (and also as vague) as many other different home-brewed refreshments. However, it is said to have been a staple beverage in these parts of the world for thousands of years. Kvass is mentioned in such works of classic Russian literature such as Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, and Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich.
Is Kombucha The Same As Kvass?
Kombucha is a very popular fermented drink that is made from brewed black or green tea, sugar, and a SCOBY (which is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). It’s slightly bubbly and, dependent on the length of fermentation, the taste of this drink can lean towards either the sweet or tart side.
If it is fermented long enough, kombucha can lose almost all of its sugar. However, this drink then ends up closer to vinegar as opposed to a probiotic soda. Some are perfectly happy to drink kombucha in this way.
You will be able to find bottled kombucha at any major grocery store. It is available in flavours that range from sweet and fruity to tart and herbal. However many people also manufacture it at home. The rudimentary recipe is to brew some sweetened tea, include any fruit or flavourings desired, and, when the tea is cool, put it in a clean jar with your SCOBY.
After a few days, you’ll have an effervescent and tangy drink that can rival any shop-bought soft drink but with the extra benefit of probiotics. As with other fermented and probiotic drinks, kombucha recruits microorganisms that cold support the digestive tract. Thanks to the tea base, kombucha includes antioxidants and caffeine as well.
Owing to the fermentation process, kombucha is just slightly alcoholic. The alcohol level is frequently 0.5 percent or less per serving, but it’s worth keeping in mind for anyone who is concerned about alcohol consumption, whether for health or religious reasons.
In terms of the differences between kombucha and kvas:
- Kombucha relies on the SCOBY to ferment, but
- Kvas uses lacto-fermentation by relying only on the natural sugars present in the beets.
In short, both are able to support a healthy lifestyle however, have some differences such as the proportion of particular probiotic strains, the presence of caffeine, and the levels of salt and sugar.
Is Kvass A Probiotic?
Since kvass is considered to be one of the great probiotic foods, there are a number of different benefits, such as improving intestinal tract health and boosting the immune system, which makes nutrients a lot more available to the human body.
What Does Kvass Taste Like?
Kvas tastes somewhat like beer. Some other people compare it to kombucha.
How To Make Kvass At Home? Some Simple Recipes
- Organic beets,
- Fine sea salt,
- Filtered water,
- Dice two organic beets (about two cups) and leave the skin on.
- Mix three cups of water with one heaped tablespoon of sea salt. Pour the mixture into a four-cup jar, leaving an inch of headroom at the top.
- Cover the jar with a loose-fitting lid. The salt will kill the harmful bacteria however allow the healthy lactobacilli to flourish.
- Put the mixture in a bowl or baking dish (to collect any drips). After this, put it in a dark and cool place. Check on it weekly. After about one to two weeks you should notice some slight bubbling. In order to get this even more bubbly and effervescent, tighten the lid, burping every day (or twice a day) for a few days.
- Refrigerate (either strain, or leave beets in) or, for a tangier flavour, continue fermenting for 1-2 more weeks. The kvass will continue to ferment in the fridge however at a much slower rate so developing more depth of flavour.
- 9.5 litres of water,
- 9 slices of classic black, dark or – alternatively – rye bread,
- A handful of raisins,
- 4 cups of sugar,
- 1 ½ tbsp of active dry yeast,
- 3 large plastic soda bottles.
- Fill a giant stock pot with 9 ½ litres of water (or divide it into two large pots). Bring it to a boil.
- While you’re waiting, toast the bread slices twice on the darkest setting of the toaster. Darker bread results in darker kvass. Toast the bread either outside or – alternatively – in your garage. If you don’t do this your house will get smokey.
- When the water begins to boil, take the pot off the heat. Add a handful of raisins and toasted bread into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and let it stay overnight or at least eight hours.
- Remove toasted bread carefully and discard it.
- In a medium bowl, mix together four cups of sugar as well as 1 ½ tablespoons of yeast. Include these in the kvas mixture and then stir.
- Cover the pot with plastic wrap or a lid. Leave the mixture on the counter for another six hours, stirring every couple of hours.
How To Make Slavic Kvass
Making Slavic kvas just requires a little bit of mixing and patience in terms of the fermentation process. Below short overview of the recipe before you dive right in.
- Mix the ingredients together. In a large, sealable commercial storage dish, mix together the warm water, apple juice, sugar, apple cider vinegar, instant coffee and yeast together until it’s combined well.
- Cover the mixture and give it the opportunity to ferment. Cover the container with a sealable lid and allow the kvass to ferment for between 24 and 8 hours depending on the level of fermentation you prefer.
- Refrigerate and serve it cold. Transfer the kvass into a sealable jug or individual soda bottles.
Tips and tricks for making kvass:
- Allow the kvass to ferment in a warm place. Before you refrigerate the drink and serve it, you’ll want to allow it to ferment in a warm place. A couple of instances include your garage on top of the dryer or near a heating vent.
- Ferment it longer if you want it to have a tang. The longer you allow the kvass to ferment, the more fermented and tangier the drink will be. You should really experiment with fermentation times as you want to.
- Store kvas in a sealable pitcher or jar. In order to prevent the beverage from soaking up the smells in your refrigerator, store the drink in a sealable pitcher or jar.
What Are The Most Popular Or Best Kvass Brands To Try In The World?
The most popular, or best, kvass brands in the world are:
- Jester King Cornbread Kvass,
- Põrgu Kali,
- Fonta Flora Ticky Ticky Buzz,
- Jester King Kvass.
What Are The Best Foods To Pair With Kvass?
Strawberry Basil Kombucha pairs amazingly well with a Caprese salad with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. This drink is also great with a spinach salad or a chicken salad sandwich. Try out Brew Dr Clear Mind Kombucha with your favourite chicken dish or a roasted turkey.
As you can see, kvass is a great drink that is low in alcohol and pairs deliciously with many foods. Try it – you’ll be amazed!