Table of contents:
- History of kvass
- About the benefits of kvass
- Kvass in Kievan Rus
- Kvass in the Russian Empire
- The magic of kvass
- We prepare kvass ourselves
- Kvass recipes
- Russian kvass
- Northern kvass
- Russian old kvass
- Berry kvass
- Fruit kvass
Video: Useful properties of kvass, which were famous even among the Eastern Slavs
2023 Author: Seth Attwood | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 22:42
Summer. Heat. Queue for kvass. You finally buy a glass of kvass. You drink it and think, “What a refreshing drink! I still need to buy a glass … No, just a bottle … Kvass is excellently able to quench your thirst. It tastes good. The main thing is that it is very useful. This drink contains a large amount of vitamins, improves digestion. In general, there is only one benefit from kvass.
Kvass is used not only as a drink. It is necessary when preparing such cold dishes as okroshka, beetroot, and even some national dishes. You can buy kvass rusk, bread, or cook it yourself at home. With mint, horseradish or honey. Our site will tell you how to do it.
You will not only become a connoisseur of this drink, learn how to prepare it, but also learn how to use kvass for medicinal purposes. The site contains a lot of useful and interesting information about kvass: its history, various types, related drinks, dishes prepared on the basis of or using kvass.
So read and drink kvass to your health!
History of kvass
The word "kvass" itself is certainly of Russian origin and means "sour drink". However, for the sake of objectivity, we note that even 8 thousand years ago, something similar to kvass - a drink made from barley grains, something in between modern kvass and beer - could be cooked by the ancient Egyptians.
Ancient Babylon also knew fruit kvask, but it didn’t take root in Mesopotamia - didn’t like it, perhaps, to some regular conquerors: whether Assyrians, Medes, Persians, Macedonians - go and figure it out.
Such famous historical figures as Herodotus, Pliny the Elder and Hippocrates, who became famous in antiquity, left a description of drinks that are very close to kvass. Moreover, Hippocrates pointed out their healing properties.
And yet we affirm that kvass is a primordially Russian drink. Unlike beer, which was brewed everywhere and always, right down to the Appalachians. The right to this is given to us by the fact that it has not received such a wide distribution among any other people. “After water,” Kanshin wrote in the “Nutrition Encyclopedia”, “in Russia the most common drink is kvass … We even think that they drink it more than water …”
So there was not, and the Eastern Slavs do not have a more popular drink than kvass. In addition, this is not just a drink, but also food - in the years of famine, kvass, like bread, saved themselves from exhaustion, especially during numerous Orthodox fasts. And the medicine. History is proof of this.
About the benefits of kvass
Centuries of experience have shown that kvass helps maintain health and increases efficiency. When performing heavy work - mowing, plowing, preparing firewood - the Russian peasant took with him not milk or fruit drinks as a drink, but kvass, believing that it relieves fatigue and restores strength. This property of kvass was confirmed by scientists.
Kvass, made from rye and barley malt, has not only high taste, but invigorates and normalizes metabolic processes in the body. In terms of its effect on the body, it is similar to kefir, yogurt, koumiss and acidophilus. Kvass, like any product of lactic acid fermentation, regulates the activity of the gastrointestinal tract, raises the tone of the body, improves metabolism and has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system.
Along with sauerkraut, kvass for many centuries, as noted by the Russian scientist Kanshin, served "the only way to save the people from scurvy during a long winter, when he does not see any greenery."The fact is that in the old days real Russian kvass was prepared with malt, that is, with sprouted grain. And sprouted grain is characterized by a high content of vitamins, especially of group B.
Folk proverbs speak about the value of kvass:
"Kvass, like bread, never gets boring."
"Russian kvass saved a lot of people."
"And thin kvass is better than good water."
"Cabbage soup with meat, but no - so bread with kvass."
“If there’s bread and kvass, so will it be with us”.
Kvass in Kievan Rus
The first written mention of kvass dates back to the time of the introduction of Christianity in Russia. In the "Tale of Bygone Years" it is said that in 986, in commemoration of the victory over the Pechegeny and in connection with the opening of the Church of St. Transfigurations in Kiev, Prince Vladimir ordered “honey in bees (barrels), and in others to carry kvass around the city,” that is, to distribute food and drinks to the people - honey and bread kvass.
But historians believe that the Eastern Slavs knew how to prepare a drink from cereals long before these times. Since ancient times, kvass in Russia has been considered a miraculous drink for all diseases. It was cooked in poor peasant huts, in prosperous bourgeois, merchant and lordly farms, in monasteries, soldiers' barracks and hospitals. Even then it was known that kvass quenches thirst well, restores strength and efficiency, keeps vigor, and has a beneficial effect on digestion processes.
Kvass in the Russian Empire
Love for kvass did not know the class boundaries in Russia. Both the poor and the privileged classes drank it with equal pleasure, and the latter often even preferred kvass to overseas wines. I. S. Turgenev put it this way in the story "Two Friends": "He (Krupitsyn) loved kvass, in his own words, like his own father, and he could not stand French wines, especially red ones, and called them sour."
The excellent taste of kvass amazed foreigners visiting Russia. So, the famous traveler and adventurer Casanova wrote the following about kvass: “They (the Russians) have a delicious drink, the name of which I have forgotten. But it is far superior to the Constantinople sherbet. The servants, in spite of all their numbers, are by no means allowed to drink water, but this light, pleasant-tasting and nutritious drink, which is also very cheap, since it is given a large barrel for one ruble."
Kvass was widely used in tsarist Russia as a means of therapeutic and dietary nutrition. Even then, doctors knew well that it has a good effect on digestion, increases the tone of the body. Kvass was included in the compulsory ration of soldiers in the army, in the navy, even in prisons for prisoners.
As a result, the fermentor profession was very widespread in Russia. Usually these masters specialized in the production of certain kvass. Accordingly, they were called "barley kvass" (making kvass from barley groats), "apple", "pear", etc. And then different kvass were made: sweet, mint, raisin, white okroshechny, white sugar, caraway, Petrovsky, boyar, soldier - more than 150 items in total. The famous Moscow kvass-cabbage soup was generally sealed in champagne bottles. Even gentlemen hussars did not disdain the next morning after their adventures to improve their health with a bottle or two of "Moscow cabbage soup". And in the last quarter of the 19th century, Muscovites especially respected kvass from boiled pears.
Each kvassnik sold its kvass only in the area allotted to it. Violation of this rule threatened many troubles. It was most strictly observed in St. Petersburg, where about 2 million bottles of bottle kvass were sold per day. Many kvass traders could be found in Moscow in the summer in Okhotny Ryad.
Fermentation required a lot of skill and experience, as well as the necessary equipment. For making kvass, for example, a special tub with a double bottom was used. According to modern concepts, the production of kvass in those days was waste-free. The thick remaining after the sold kvass was used to ferment the next portion. When the thickets became unsuitable for kvass, they were used as a fairly effective means for cleaning copper items, in particular dishes.
For a long time, "good" bread kvass competed quite successfully with alcoholic beverages, and especially with beer. However, in the second half of the 19th century, with the development of capitalism in Russia, the art of brewing began to be lost. The Russian Society for the Preservation of Public Health even took the preparation of an ancient drink under its auspices. At hospitals and infirmaries, special productions of "hospital kvass" were organized, which was an obligatory dietary product for convalescents. And the great lover and popularizer of kvass, the great Russian chemist DI Mendeleev, in 1892 called for the revival of the folk experience of making kvass: "… Russian kvass with its acidity and its healthy, hearty taste is needed now, when the art of homemade kvass preparation began to disappear."
At the end of the 19th century, in educated circles, kvass began to be considered a reactionary drink and even partly symbolizing the leaden abominations of Russian life. The "educated classes" found a substitute for kvass: the men chilled themselves with beer or fruit drinks, the young ladies mostly feasted on lemonade. It was at that time that Dostoevsky introduced the words "lemongrass" and "oranges" into circulation, meaning "to show extreme delicacy of feelings." (The word "ferment" in the meaning of "get drunk" appeared a little later.)
Did you know that the expression "a mixture of French with Nizhny Novgorod" is directly related to kvass, and not at all to French and Russian. And this mixture (French champagne with Russian kvass) was invented by Russian hussars.
The magic of kvass
On the one hand, kvass was the drink of every day in pre-revolutionary Russia. Kvass was drunk during work, before and after work. On the other hand, various beliefs and omens have always been associated with kvass in Russia. Kvass figured in many folk rituals and even magic rituals. Which suggests that there has always been a special attitude towards kvass in Russia.
Kvass was prepared on memorial holidays, for a wedding, the birth of a child. In Polesie on Radunitsa, kvass as part of other foods was carried to the graves of loved ones. In the Smolensk region, on the fortieth day after death, they brewed kvass or mash and prepared for the “release” of the soul to the “other world”.
In the Russians, on the eve of the wedding, in the ritual of washing the bride in the bath, the girls poured kvass with hops on the stove, the rest of which they then drank. After the wedding, the groom's parents greeted the young with bread and kvass (salt appeared in the ceremony much later).
The Slavs associated kvass with the magic of fertility. In the Smolensk province on the first day of the wedding, even before the wedding, the bride and groom first poured kvass from one bucket placed in the middle of the room into another. Then the friend, holding the young by the hands, circled them three times around the buckets of kvass and put them at the table.
Bread kvass also had the same value as a talisman. In Russia, they believed that a fire caused by lightning could be extinguished only with milk or kvass, but by no means with water. And so that the fire of such a fire did not spread further, a hoop from a kvass gang was thrown into the flame.
As a magic and healing remedy, kvass with salt or kvass grounds left after the preparation of the drink was used. In difficult childbirth, the woman in labor was given a drink of leavened milk or malt. The calving cow was also given kvass grounds, barley or barley malt, so that the afterbirth would go away sooner.
In Belarus, a little kvass was poured into the mouth of a newborn before the first bath so that he would not be afraid of a cold. By the application of salted kvass grounds, they treated the disease of the fingers, which is popularly called the "nail-eater".
In Ukraine, salt moistened with thick kvass and burned in an oven on hot coals on Maundy Thursday was considered especially effective against diseases caused by the evil eye.
In Siberia, so that there was more cream in the milk, the milk pot was washed with sour Kvass and salt and put in the oven.
There are also known bans on the preparation of kvass. In the Kupyansk district of the Kharkov province, they believed that after Easter, mermaids emerge from the water and, having appeared in houses, bathe in bread kvass, if it is brewed on Thursday. In the Oboyansk district of the same province of tsarist Russia, kvass was not made on Monday, so that the devil would not ransom his children in it. In kvass, milk and other drinks, according to the beliefs of Ukrainians, devils bathe, who can no longer bathe in the water consecrated by the savior …
We prepare kvass ourselves
Making good bread kvass at home is not easy. The main difficulty is, perhaps, the lack of malt on the market. And those who want to try real Russian kvass (which is not at all similar to the one sold in the store) will have to prepare the malt on their own (see Kvass malt).
But you can do without malt and make kvass on bread crumbs.
Here's the simplest recipe:
Take a standard eight liter bucket, a loaf of black (better rye) bread, yeast (60 grams fresh or four teaspoons dry) and half a glass of sugar. You can, of course, use a three-liter glass jar instead of a bucket (accordingly reducing the proportions). But in this case, the kvass will turn out to be much less.
The bread should be stale, or at least stale. Cut it and fry the pieces over high heat in the oven. The bread should be roasted, roasted well, but under no circumstances should it burn out.
Then some good non-tap water is poured into the bucket ("Aqua Minerale" is quite suitable), only non-carbonated, heated, but not boiled. We put all of the above in a bucket - fried crackers, yeast and sugar. We mix everything. We cover it all with a lid. Leave it warm for two days. What happens is already kvass. Then it should be filtered through cheesecloth and poured into bottles, which are stored in the refrigerator. Everything.
Home production of kvass is economically profitable, both from the point of view of the family budget (dried bread is used), and from the point of view of the state economy. It is calculated that if every family of four people throws out 100 grams of bread every day, then this will amount to over 36 kilograms per year. For the whole country, such losses will require an additional construction of 100 elevators with a capacity of 20 thousand tons of grain each; build 57 mills; to build 130 bakery factories with a capacity of 50 tons per day. Such is the arithmetic.
Old (with mint and raisins), Russian (with rye and crushed barley malt), northern (with rye flour, Icelandic moss and blackcurrant leaves); Ukrainian (from dry crushed rye malt, white bread crumbs, strawberries, cinnamon and mint); daily, white, red, cherry, cranberry, currant, apple, pear, honey, lingonberry, viburnum - it is simply impossible to list all the names of kvass !!!
In addition, in Russian villages and cities, each hostess also had her own, family or, more correctly, a personalized recipe for kvass. They were called that way: "malanyin kvass", "daryin kvass", etc.
Why don't you continue this folk tradition and come up with your own recipe for kvass? Why not? But first, we advise you to study, so to speak, the experience of your ancestors. Get acquainted with the basic recipes for making kvass.
To do this, let's move on from theory to practice, in other words, to a description of some of the most popular bread kvass at different times.
1 kg of crushed rye malt, 300 g of crushed barley malt, 600 g of rye flour, 130 g of rye rusks, 80 g of stale rye bread, 1 kg of molasses, 30 g of mint.
Mix the lump-free dough from malt and flour with 3 liters of hot water and, covering the dishes with a clean cloth, let it brew for an hour (for saccharification).
Transfer the aged dough to a refractory dish (cast iron), cover with a lid and put in a hot oven (oven) for evaporation. Mix the evaporated dough thoroughly, scrape off the walls of the dishes and top up with boiling water.
After a day, put the dough into an infusion vat, pour 16 liters of hot water over it, add chopped crackers and bread. Mix the resulting mash well and leave for 6-10 hours for infusion and clarification. When the thick sediment settles and the wort begins to ferment, carefully drain it into a steamed and washed clean barrel.
Pour 15 liters of hot water into the rest of the thick. After 2-3 hours, drain the wort into a barrel, mix with the mint infusion and leave to ferment for a day. Then transfer the barrel to the glacier.
When fermentation becomes less intense, add molasses to the kvass (1 kg per 30 l of kvass), seal the barrel with a wooden sleeve.
After 3-4 days, kvass is ready for use.
Kvass is stored in a cold cellar (glacier) for several months, and its properties hardly deteriorate from this. Bottled kvass can be kept in the cellar or in the refrigerator.
31/5 kg plain rye flour, 16 kg Icelandic moss flour.
Knead rye flour and Icelandic moss flour with hot water into a tough dough from which to bake bread. Cool the bread, break it into pieces, which are folded into an infusion vat, pour 25 liters of boiling water and, covered with a clean cloth, stand for 4-6 days. The infused clarified kvass should be carefully drained into a clean dish, poured into bottles, corked and transferred to a glacier or refrigerator for storage. Store bottles in a recumbent position.
Not everyone, of course, can prepare Icelandic moss, although northerners living in the countryside can do it. In the absence of Icelandic moss flour, kvass can be made from rye bread. To do this, 5 kg of bread, 30 g of blackcurrant leaves and 600 g of granulated sugar must be diluted in 9 liters of boiling water, cover the mixture with a cloth and insist in a warm place for 3-4 hours. Carefully pour the cooled wort into a clean barrel, pour in the yeast starter and put in a cold place for 2-3 days.
After acidification, drain the kvass, boil for several minutes, periodically removing the foam, and filter hot through several layers of gauze.
Pour chilled kvass into bottles, cork them with corks with wire and put in a glacier or in a refrigerator.
After 7 days, the kvass is ready.
Yeast sourdough for it is prepared as follows: warm kvass wort or kvass is mixed with wheat flour to make a thin dough. A little dry baker's yeast, diluted in warm water, is put into the dough. After stirring the dough with yeast, allow it to come up, and then put it in the wort for fermentation.
Russian old kvass
For 4 liters of water - 1 cup rye flour, 7 cups wheat flour, 1 cup barley malt, 1 cup rye malt, 1 cm. spoon of liquid yeast, 1 handful of fresh mint.
Mix barley and rye malt, wheat and rye flour. Pour boiling water over so that the flour becomes wet, let stand for 1 hour, dilute with hot water, let cool. Stir in liquid yeast, fresh green mint and stand under a napkin until foam appears. Drain the settled liquid, add more mint, place in the refrigerator or on ice. After 3-4 days, the kvass is ready.
1 kg of cranberries, 4 l of water, 400 g of sugar, 25 g of yeast.
The cranberries are sorted out, washed and rubbed with a wooden pestle through a colander. The extracts are poured with water and boiled for 15-20 minutes, cooled and filtered, sugar is added and boiled again. Cranberry juice is mixed with syrup, yeast diluted in warm water is added, stirred and bottled. After 3 days, the kvass is ready.
Strawberry kvass with honey
For 500 g of berries, take 1.5 liters of water, 8 teaspoons of sugar, 2 g of citric acid, 2 tbsp. spoons of honey.
Ripe strawberries (strawberries) are placed in an enamel bowl, poured with water, heated to a boil, then removed from heat and kept for 10 minutes. After that, the broth is filtered and honey, sugar, citric acid are added, stirred, filtered again and poured into bottles made of durable glass. 3-5 raisins are put in each. Bottles are filled 7-10 cm below the cork (neck). Capped and placed in a cool place for 7-10 days.
At home, you can cook fruit-free kvass.
1 kg of Antonov's apples, half a glass of sugar, a glass of honey, 30 grams of yeast, a teaspoon of cinnamon, 4 liters of water.
Cut the apples into pieces, put them in a saucepan, cover with water so that it only covers the apples, and cook until the apples are quite soft. After removing the pan from the heat, pour boiling water into it and let the apples steep for two to three hours. Then strain, add sugar, honey, yeast, cinnamon and, cover tightly, leave in a warm place for two days. Then strain again, bottle and put out in the cold.
The zest from five lemons must be poured with ten bottles of boiling water. When the water has cooled, put in the yeast (twenty grams), add one and a half cups of sugar, strain and add the juice of five lemons. Pour into bottles, seal well and leave in a warm room until foam appears on the surface. Then take out into the cold.
Kvass from juices
Add 1 liter of any fruit juice and 1 kg of sugar to 10 liters of boiled hot water. When the water has cooled enough, pour the yeast into it on top. Then put the kvass in a warm place for fermentation. After the start of active fermentation, pour the kvass into bottles and seal tightly. After 2-3 days, the kvass will be ready for use.
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