Jewish Corn Rye based kwasI bake my own rye bread so getting the main ingredient for kwas is not a problem but I realize that not everybody has bags of old dry rye bread hanging around the house. The fact is that kwas can probably be made from any old bread — come to think of it, I'll have to experiment with that. Anyway here is a very easy and refreshing recipe made with easily available at many supermarkets and almost any deli — Jewish corn rye.

This is a very light and refreshing kwas variation well suited for the summer heat. The hops, honey, candied ginger and limes combine into a not to sweat, lightly fizzy, pleasantly zingy, thirst quenching accompaniment to any meal. The light color and hint of ginger give it a slight Ginger Ale appeal and make it easier to get your friends to try it. I've found that in America "Would you like to try a drink made from fermented bread?" is a non starter.

The first thing you need is half a loaf of Jewish Corn Rye. You can get a version of this in most supermarkets but I got mine from the wonderful Katella Deli in Alamitos. Jewish corn rye should have caraway seeds in it so if the bread you get doesn't have then I suggest you add some to the recipe — it makes a difference.

rye-kwas-b17 rye-kwas-b01 rye-kwas-b02
This kwas is refreshing with a light summer lunch. The main ingredient is Jewish Corn Rye. Cut up or break up the bread into smallish pieces and place in a food grade, brewing bucket.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ pound (about half a loaf) of dry Jewish corn rye bread
  • 1 ¾ gallons of water
  • 1 packet of dry yeast (¼ oz, 7 g) — this time I used beer brewing yeast
  • ¼ pound (114 g) of light honey
  • 2 limes
  • ½ cup of candied ginger
  • 1 cup of fresh hop (you can get these from brewing supply store or online)
Boil about 1 ¾ gallons of water. rye-kwas-b04 A faster way of cooling the brew.
Boil about 1 ¾ gallons of water. Pour the boiling water over the bread. A faster way of cooling the brew.
Cool down the brew to between 80 and 90 degrees Dissolve the yeast in a cup of lukewarm water. rye-kwas-b09
Between 80° and 90° F (26° - 32° C) is the ideal temperature for brewing. While you are waiting for the bread and water to cooldissolve the yeast in a cup of lukewarm water. After 12 hour of fermentation the bread should be floating and a little bubbly.

The Process:

  1. Cut up or break up the bread into smallish pieces. I dried the fresh bread in the oven but I'm not sure how necessary that is.
  2. Place the bread in a food grade, brewing bucket.
  3. Boil about 1 ¾ gallons of water and pour the boiling water over the bread.
  4. Dissolve the yeast in a cup of lukewarm water.
  5. Wait for the water and bread to cool to between 80° and 90° F (26° - 32° C).
  6. Pour in the yeast, stir, cover and leave in a warm place to ferment for about 12 hours. For yeast to work temperature is key — 50° F (10° C) is too low, 150° F (65° C) is too high,  between 80° and 90° F (26° - 32° C) is ideal.
  7. Using a straining bag (you can get these at brewing supply stores) or a large strainer strain out the bread and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can.
  8. Now it's time to add our flavorings. Mix the honey thoroughly with some of the liquid to make sure it devolves completely and pour it into the fermentation bucket. Cut the limes in half, squeeze the juice out and put the skins into the liquid together with the hops and ginger.
  9. Mix and cover and leave in a warm place to ferment for about 12 hours. For yeast to work temperature is key — 50° F (10° C) is too low, 150° F (65° C) is too high,  between 80° and 90° F (26° - 32° C) is ideal.
  10. Strain out all the solid ingredients. The more thorough you are the clearer the final product will be.
  11. Put 1 raisin into each bottle and syphon the liquid into the bottles. You can also try a piece of candied ginger intend of the rain. This step provides the sugar for the fermentation needed to create the CO2 for carbonation. If there is too much sugar you will get explosive carbonation and a mess overtime you open a kwas. If you put in too little you will get a flat kwas.
  12. You should be able to get 5 to 6 liters of kwas from a batch.
  13. Seal the bottles and let stand in a warm place for at least 48 hours.
  14. The kwas will keep for at least a month but since it is still live in the bottle it will change with time reaching its peek at about 7 to 14 days.
Using a straining bag Now it's time to add our flavorings. All ready for the next 12 hours of fermentation.
Using a straining bag strain out the bread. Now it's time to add our flavorings. All ready for the next 12 hours of fermentation.
After 12 hours our kwas is all bubbly and ready to be bottled. My two bucket syphoning and bottling setup. A nice tall, cold mug of Corn Rye Kwas.
After 12 hours our kwas is all bubbly and ready to be bottled. My two bucket syphoning and bottling setup. Millet with peas and home made cheese, fried blood sausage and a nice tall, cold mug of Corn Rye Kwas.

This is a wonderful and refreshing drink that goes well with all kinds of food. For those of us who really don't like drinking plain old water this is a nice non-alcoholic replacement for beer or wine.

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