Tuesday, 19 June 2018

How to make Estoniam sauna whisks (viht)

Estonian Saunas recently published an article of the steps involved to make sauna whisks. Just in time for Jaanipäev, now is the time to head to the forest and make your own! 

Birch is the most common tree to use for making whisks followed by oak and juniper.

Sauna whisks are called viht or vihad (plural) in Estonian.

The steps;

Step 1: Collect the branches after spring when the leaves are fresh, but also when they have grown long enough to reach their biological maturity.

Step 2: Carefully gather your forest materials. Avoid those that are toxic or too thorny.

Step 3: Tie the bundles. In order to get the right ‘candle flame’ shape, take branches of roughly the same size and focus on ensuring the tops are lined up, not the bottoms that will be trimmed later anyway. Where branches bend, point them into the centre of the whisk so that it forms a solid shape. At the bottom, make sure that you pull leafs away to keep a clear handle.

Step 4: Preserving the whisks. This can be done three ways - drying, freezing and salting.

Step 5: Beat it. Use the whisks! Fresh whisks are best. For your preserved whisks, the best technique to prepare them for use is to fill a sauna bucket with cold water and then submerge it for an hour. After that, take it into the sauna and submerge it into hot water. If you are sure of time though, submerging it one for 20 minutes in hot water is good enough.

To read the full Estonian Saunas article, please click here: Here’s how sauna whisks are made in the forests of Estonia