I attempted to make a sourdough rye bread, but it went somewhat wrong, didn’t rise enough, and I now have a brick that I could maim somebody with. While I’m disappointed that it’s pretty inedible, I can still turn it into something that it pleasant to drink, a Russian drink called kvas.
Kvas is a very slightly (just a touch) alcoholic drink that is widely available in Russia, and particulalry pleanat in hot weather. It is a bit of an acquired tatste, but I happen to enjoy it, particularly when it’s fresh from the wagon in the market or outside the metro. You can by it in bottles, but it tends to have extra sugar added to it as a preservative which makes it too sweet.
450 g rye bread (a small loaf or half a large one)
300g molasses, treacle, golden syrup, honey or a combination of them.
4.5 litres water
yeast (or rye sourdough starter)
2 raisins per bottle
Dry the bread, either by chopping it into little pieces and air drying or in a low oven (130C). Boil the water and pour over the dry bread. When cooled to body temperature, strain into a bucket and add the molasses/treacle/honey, then yeast or starter at below 24C. Leave for 12 hours, then strain into bottles, adding two raisins to each (this provides some sugar to prime the kvas and give it some fizz). I once had medovy kvas, or honey kvas, which could be made with the substitution of honey for molasses or treacle, either in whole, but probably better in part.
Elena Molokhovets, author of the tome once given to all Russian women when the got married, says that it will be ready to drink in 2 more days. I’d advise keeping an eye on it, as it’s likely that a great deal of pressure will build up. You could probably leave it in the bucket a touch longer or transfer it to a demijohn and close with an airlock, before bottling later. If fermented out this will be about 2%, but you could drink it earlier.
Found in Andrew Whitley’s Bread Matters. Addition of honey to make Medovy Kvas taken from a bottle of the stuff that I bought in Suzdal at the pickle festival a few years back (they also make truly excellent mead in a variety of strengths and flavours, which is more like a beer than the western honey wine).