The Miracle of Sourdough!
I just got back from a fabulous weekend in Asheville, NC attending the annual Bread Festival. This year’s topic was A Celebration of Natural Leavening.
What is natural leavening? Basically it’s the making of sourdough bread by using the microbes and yeasts in the ambient air. Just another form of fermentation. I am constantly amazed at what our ancestors were able to figure out without the benefit of modern science. And today, modern science is learning exactly WHY our ancestors could produce healthy food from, what looks to be, nothing.
One of the workshops I attended included a
tasting of bread kvass. I have traditionally shared beet kvass in my drinks workshops, but have long been intrigued by bread kvass though I had never tasted it. The recipe we
sampled was rather sweet and quite refreshing. I imagine it was developed as a way to use excess bread – before the invention of the freezer. I will try out a few recipes myself to share in future workshops, but in the meantime, below is the recipe shared with us at the festival. Natasha’s Kitchen recommends using plastic bottles for storage. I must admit upon seeing the head form as the bottle was opened at the workshop, it’s probably a good idea! It reminded me of some water kefir that bubbled over. One of the reasons I don't use flip-top bottles. Those little microbes create lots of pressure!
2.5 gallons or 10 qt of water 1 lb or 9 slices of classic black dark or rye bread 1 handful of raisins 1.8 lb 4 cups of sugar 1.5 tablespoons of active dry yeast 3 large plastic soda bottles
DAY 1: (best if prepared in the evening)
Fill giant stock pot with 2.5 gallons of water (or divide it into two large pots) and bring to a boil.While waiting, toast the bread slices twice on the darkest toaster setting. Darker bread makes darker kvass. Toast bread either outside or in your garage or your house will get smokey.When water starts to boil, remove the pot from heat. Add a handful of raisins and toasted bread to the pot, cover with the lid and let it stay overnight or at least 8 hours.
Carefully remove toasted bread and discard it.In a medium bowl, mix together 4 cups of sugar and 1.5 Tbsp of yeast, add them to kvas mixture and stir.Cover with plastic wrap or lid and leave the mixture on the counter for another 6 hours, stirring every couple hours.Discard floating raisins by scooping them up with a large spoon. Using strainer or cheese cloth, pour kvass into bottles, loosely cover with lid and refrigerate overnight. The following day once the bottles are completely chilled, you can tighten the lid.
DAY 3: enjoy