On my list of foods to make is gluten-free kvass. As kvass is a Russian drink made from fermented bread, making it gluten-free will require some experimenting— trying different types of gluten-free bread, beginning a fermentation process, explaining to my flatmate what those jars all over the kitchen counter are. (Looking up the fermenting process for kvass reminded me of my friends who have made kombucha, another fermented drink.)
In “Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking,” a cookbook and memoir, kvass is described as “a folkloric beverage from fermented black bread that’s these days mostly just mass-produced fizz.” If you look at the Wikipedia page for kvass, there’s a couple of variations, including non-alcoholic versions.
Sadly, none of my searches pulled back anything gluten-free. Well… that’s not entirely true. I did find recipes for beet kvass. However, I wasn’t sure how kvass went from a fermented bread-drink to a beet drink. I do love beets, and beets are pretty common in Russian and Eastern European cuisine.(Think borscht.)
So when I stumbled on some locally-made kvass at the Whole Foods in Bloomfield Hills, I had to try it. It’s made by Ann Arbor-based company The Brinery, which makes other fermented foods such as pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi. (Their company story sounds pretty cool— local farmers turned producers.)
Also, I thought the name— heart beet— very cute. And the color is lovely, a dark, rich burgundy. The taste is very striking: a touch sweet, showing off the rich beet flavor, then gets quite tangy and pucker-y. While driving up north, my mom and I polished off the bottle. In addition, kvass has the usual health benefits associated with fermented beverages.)
While I found the beet kvass tart and intriguing, it only made me more determined to try brewing my own gluten-free version, made with bread.
Has anyone else tried fermenting something— such as kombucha?