How to Make Kvas/Kvass From Concentrate at Home
Kvas Recipe Preparation—UnCola!
What Is Kvas?
Kvass or Kvas is a traditional Russian drink made from fermented rye. Depending on the method of fermentation, it can have a 0.4–4% alcohol content, and the average alcohol content is at around 1.2%. Generally, the less oxygen is present during fermentation, the higher the alcohol content. Because of the low alcohol content, the drink is suitable for children
The drink is rather different from other soft drinks out there because:
- It tastes somewhat like beer.
- It has a little bit of alcohol.
- It has a stronger flavor.
Making It From Concentrate
Traditionally, kvas was made from rye bread which was soaked in water and that water, along with sugar, is fermented to produce kvas. This is a complicated and long process that stopped a lot of people from making the drink at home.
There's a better solution! A kvas concentrate is available at some online retailers which eliminates the complicated process of creating the rye base for the drink. It is sold as "kvass concentrate" and comes in a rather unassuming can with a Russian label and a rather poorly translated nutritional information facts label in English on the back.
Upon translating the label, I learned that this is not a true concentrate, but rather is a base for the fermentation. Because I normally do not carry yeast or sugar at home, I had to make a quick trip to Walmart.
The little 550 gram can boasts that it can produce 25 liters or over 6.5 gallons of Kvas.
The instructions on the can translate to the following:
For making 5 liters or 1.3 gallons of Kvass:
- Use warm 35–40C water (100F).
- Dissolve 8-10 tablespoons (110 grams) of kvas concentrate in 5 liters of water (1.3 gallons) of warm water.
- Add 6–7 grams of activated yeast (1 packet).
- Add 1 2/3 cups of sugar.
- Mix, shake well.
- Keep in a warm place (25–30C) (77–86 F) and let it ferment for 18–20 hours.
- Filter the kvass, leaving yeast sediment on the bottom of the fermentation container.
- Store in a refrigerator.
- Serve cold.
Visual Step-By-Step Preparation
Because I do not have a 5-liter vessel, I opted out to use 1-gallon water jugs.
Ingredients that I used:
- 2 one-gallon jugs of water from Walmart: 2 x 1$
- 1 bag of pure cane sugar from Walmart: 2.44$
- 1 550gram can of kvas concentrate / base: 3$
- 2 x 7gram packets of activated baking yeast: I (got 3 strips of 3) 3 x 1$
- A measuring cup
- Filtered water: free
- Begin by activating the yeast—stir in the yeast packet in a little bit of warm water and add a tablespoon of sugar.
- Fill the jugs halfway with water. I used cold water to start with and warm it up later.
- Add 1.5 cups of sugar to each jug
- Add 8–10 tablespoons of kvas concentrate to each jug
- After 10 minutes, of when you are done preparing, pour the yeast into the jugs
- Add water, leaving some room for the air.
- Gently put on the lid, but do not tighten it as fermenting results in a lot of gas. It is a naturally carbonated beverage!
- Leave the jugs in a warm spot. I put them in a box outside my apartment, it is 75F inside and must be 80F outside. Avoid direct sunlight, as it will kill the yeast.
I will continue to experiment with this beverage, adding a straw and a glass of water would allow you to reduce the oxygen content and increase the alcohol content. Having 6 gallons of beer for under 10$? Sign me up!
This drink tastes quite different from all store-bought sodas. I'm tired of sodas, and this is a nice "uncola" move!
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