Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Home-made mint kvasImage via Wikipedia
Kvas (квас) is an ancient and beloved beverage from Slavic Europe. While it is basically a low-alcohol beer, it is enjoyed as a soft drink, even by small children. Factory-made versions have been available for some time and many are quite good. But homemade will always be best. 
  • whole wheat sourdough bread, cubed -- 1 pound
  • Water -- 3 quarts
  • a red apple
  • Raisins -- 2 tablespoons


  1. Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the bread. Cover with a clean towel and let rest in a dark, cool place for 8 to 10 hours.
  2. Pour the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve or strainer, gently pressing one the bread to get the liquid out. Don't press too hard, or your kvas will turn cloudy.
  3. Pour into a 1-gallon pitcher or container. Add the raisins and pieces of apple and cover tightly with plastic wrap and a rubber band. Set in a dark, cool place for 4 or 5 days , it should bubble a bit.
  4. Carefully pour off the clear liquid into a clean container or individual bottles. Chill well before serving.


  • Add 2 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves with the raisins
  • Some recipes substitute berry juice for 2 to 3 cups of the water, giving it a refreshing, fruity flavor.
  • Kvas is often served unfiltered, with the yeast sediment. This gives it a richer flavor and boosts its vitamin content.
  • The final fermentation can also take place in stoppered bottles if you like. In step five, pour the strained liquid into individual beer bottles. Add one or two raisins to each bottle and rest for 4 or 5 days. Move to a refrigerator and store chilled until consumed. CAUTION: the bottles have an alarming habit of popping open from pressure during the fermentation. So it's best if you know what you're doing.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cool(ed) pickles

Since the 4 years I live in Thailand, I have made a lot of fermented cabbage (sauerkraut), but recently my pickle teacher (Bill Hetting from told me that my room temperature (30 degrees Celsius-86 degrees Fahrenheit) is too warm to pickle and it could create some less beneficial bacteries, and indeed after a while my sauerkraut gets a bit too dark and the taste is not that "sauer" anymore.
So I decided to cool my pickles during the first 4 days of fermentation to less than 25 degrees Celsius-77 degrees Fahrenheit, so I bought myself a big waste bin, filled it partially with water and ice and put my pickle pot in it, so it was cooled "bain Mare" style. After the initial 4 days I put it in the fridge, where I can keep it for at least 8 months.The pickles "bain Marie" style  gave me a much better result, thanks Bill.