MOSCOW, Dec 23 ― Bread is sure to find a place on the festive menu, whether it's rye bread for oysters or sourdough for smoked salmon, toasted or fresh and soft. But it is also one of the most wasted products. One way to repurpose leftover bread is with a homemade recipe that's poised to become a trendy drink. Ever heard of kvass?
By 2030, this market is expected to grow by 10.2 per cent and generate some US$6.23 billion (RM26.6 billion), according to a US report published earlier this fall by the consulting firm Allied Market Research. But what exactly is kvass? Russia's national drink ― which is also consumed in Central and Eastern European countries such as Ukraine and Belarus ― fits neatly with the current trend for fermented concoctions, like kombucha and kefir. While the former is based on tea and the latter on milk or fruit juice, kvass might be more surprising as it's made from bread ― rye bread, more precisely. Once quenching the thirst of Tolstoy or Pushkin, the drink has the look of a golden pale ale, with a slightly foamy head. It is refreshing but, unlike beer, it does not contain hops. Here, it is the yeast contained in the bread that activates the fermentation process. And its presence is praised by dieticians who recognize the concoction as a great probiotic, since kvass contains “good” bacteria that help replenish the intestinal flora. Thanks to the fermentation process, the drink also takes on a slightly effervescent character.
Hitting the big time
Besides the fermentation aspect, kvass is tipped to be a trendy drink for another reason: its low alcohol content. The beverage only comes in at between 0.7 per cent and 2.2 per cent. It's easy to see why the Allied Market Research report is betting on this product as a coming trend over the next few years. The drink's growing popularity among Millennials, combined with the influence of social networks, are further reasons why kvass looks like a product shaping up for future success. Today, it is mostly found in grocery stores specializing in Russian food. Stores you won't necessarily find on every street corner...
Make your own kvass
Fortunately, curious foodies will easily find the recipe online. Because making your own kvass really isn't that complicated. If you've bought too much rye bread, don't throw out the leftovers. First, you need to dry the bread in a preheated oven at 180°. The next step is to drop the bread in boiling filtered water. Add sugar, honey and fresh baker's yeast, then leave to rest for at least 24 hours. And if you started making sourdough during lockdown, all the better! Take a piece to replace the fresh yeast in your mixture. Finish the preparation by straining it and storing it in the refrigerator for up to four days. Other types of bread can also be used, such as wholemeal.
Note that people who are gluten intolerant can look for versions of kvass made with fruit or beets. ― ETX Studio