Bread has always been considered as the wealth of the Rus. The role of bread was so great that in the years of bad harvest starvation began in spite of the sufficiency of meat food. Russian forests and rivers were notable for abundance of wild animals, birds and fishes.
Principal cereal crops in Russia were wheat, rye, barley, millet and oats.
Sour bread from leaven dough was particularly loved by Russians. They used beer or kvas base, yeast or a part of old dough as leaven.It was very long and complicated to make bread, so it was baked only once or twice a week.
It looked approximately like this:
In the evening, before sunset a woman, usually the most experienced one, began to prepare “Kvashnya” (dough-trough). There was a special large wooden pan with the same name “Kvashnya” for it. It was always used, and washed very seldom. They put leaven in, add in warm water and a piece of old dough. Having stirred with a big wooden spoon, they added warm water and well sifted flour, then the dough was stirred until it looked like thick sour cream and then left in a warm place for a night, covered with a clean towell. In the morning of the next day, they began kneading the dough, it was a hard and labour-intensive work. The dough was kneaded until it came off freely from the sides of the pan. Then they left it in a warm place for another couple of hours, later they were kneading it once again and made round smooth loaves. The breads were left to “rise” and only after that they were put into the well and evenly heated oven. To determine if the bread is well baked, you must take it in the left hand and knock from below. It must sound like a tambourine.
The woman who could bake breads best of all was very proud of it and was considered the most wonderful housewife.
Bread is extremely valuable foodstuff. Scientists affirm, that bread contains more than 200 useful for a man substances among which are 5-8% protein and 40-50% carbohydrate. So the people who eat bread cover all organism needs in energy.Bread is rich in rough fibre that contain vitamins and mineral substances. The larger grind is, the more health-giving substances bread has.
Outward appearance also plays a vital part. Bread must look attractive, “pleasant to eye” and its aromatic bouquet has more than 200 different smells. Sometimes they add coriander, caraway-seeds, vanilla and other things to diversify the taste and the smell of bread. But at any case the real smell of bread is much better.