Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink)

December 3rd, 2011 in Beverage Recipes, Non-alcoholic by
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Total cooking time: 2days 12h  
Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink)

Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink)

Kvass (kvas, quass) is probably a bit of unusual drink to this part of the globe.

Indeed, if you read ingredients list: dried rye bread, water, sugar and yeast – it probably will not strike you as something delicious. However this is one of soft drinks which is, according to Wikipedia, popular in Eastern Europe countries, especially Russia, since ancient times.

It is not hard to prepare kvass at home: you just need 2 big cooking pots, a funnel, cheese cloth, rye bread (which can be a bit of challenge to find) and about 3 days. Any type of rye bread will work.

I recently discovered good borodinsky bread in nearby european store, we liked it a lot and now buying pretty often. I dice the bread leftovers and heels and dry them for 10-15 mins in oven; that way I always have dried rye bread for the next patch of kvass ready to go when I need it (and I also don’t need to throw bread out).

Prepared kvass can be stored bottled in fridge; serve it as soft drink or use to prepare okroshka soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 3/4 – 1 cup of dried rye bread, crumbled
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 pack of dry yeast (about 2 teaspoons)
  • Couple of raisins to taste

How to prepare, step-by-step:

  1. Prepare ingredients: any kind of rye bread will work good for this recipe, just dice and dry it out while storing before use:
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 1

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 1

  2. Crumble dried rye bread in blender (or manually, if you don’t have one):
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 2

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 2

  3. Pour about a cup of rye bread crumbs into big cooking pot, if you don’t like kvass to be bitter reduce amount to 3/4 of cup; increasing amount of bread crumbs will make color darker as well:
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 3

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 3

  4. In another big cooking pot bring to boil 1 gallon of water (I usually measure amount of water with bottle(s) I am going to store kvass in, that way I am always sure bottles and content volumes match):
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 4

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 4

  5. Pour boiling water to the cooking pot with bread crumbs and set pot aside at room temperature for about 2-2.5 hours, stir from time to time:
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 5

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 5

  6. After 2 hours, when bread and water mixture isn’t that hot anymore, mix dry yeast with about 3 tablespoons of warm water:
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 6

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 6

  7. Stir all sugar in to the bread and water mix:
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 7

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 7

  8. Add yeast:
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 8

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 8

  9. And mix:
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 9

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 9

  10. Cover with clean cloth and leave in warm place for 10-12 hours:
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 10

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 10

  11. After fermentation for about 12 hours kvass mix will look like this:
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 11

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 11

  12. Strain kvass from bread crumbs into clean big cooking pot, use several layers of cheese cloth and colander:
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 12

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 12

  13. You will get something like this:
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 13

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 13

  14. Now pour kvass into bottle(s) using funnel (plastic bottles are the best choice here because they can handle increasing of pressure during kvass carbonation):
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 14

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 14

  15. Leave about 1/8 of the bottle empty:
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 15

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 15

  16. Add few dried raisins and screw the lid down tight:
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 16

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 16

  17. Leave closed up bottle(s) with kvass at room temperature for 2-3 hours, then put to fridge for 2 days, after that kvass is ready: carefully pour it to glasses (don’t mix sediment and remove raisins) and enjoy:
    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 17

    Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink) Recipe: Step 17

Enjoy!

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19 Responses to “Kvass (Russian Fermented Rye Bread Drink)”

  1. [...] russian cold soup. It is perfect meal for hot summer weather as it is prepared on the base of kvass – russian bread drink – and it is light and very refreshing. Finding good fresh kvass for okroshka can be challenging [...]

  2. Alex says:

    This recipe is fantastic. It worked perfectly. I’d never tried kvass before, but I’m making another batch already. Thanks!

  3. Kjell Andreassen says:

    can u use rye flour instead of bread..?

  4. Mahi says:

    wowww so amazing!!! Me and my hubby are currently in one former USSR country. Sometimes we went for Ukrainian restaurant and my husband really love this drink(he even bring home often) which really seems one beverage back home. Can’t wait to try it and hope it will work for me to surprise him. Thank you so much Julia and thank you for every recipes as well.

  5. donna says:

    Does the bread need to be made out of 100% rye flour? I know lots of rye bread have a mix with wheat flour along with the rye..

  6. Veronica says:

    Hi,

    I am writing in with regards to: Kvass (Rye bread fremented drink).
    May I know 1 gallon is US or UK standard?

    Best regards,
    Veronica

  7. Fred Harrison says:

    This recipe turned out very nice, but I am going to fiddle with it some to see what can be done i had no problem with bottling it in recycled 15 oz. tea bottles (Taoz) with screw on caps, filling them 80% full at 12 oz.

    • The glass ones? Did you have any problems with pressure build up?

      • Fred Harrison says:

        I bottle a lot of homemade root beer and spruce beer in glass. Like kvass, they can explode a bottle, but I have never had that happen yet. Leave the bottles out in an area where the temperature stays below 75 degrees F until they are ready to refrigerate. Open a bottle occasionally to determine when optimal carbonization has been obtained, then refrigerate. If a geyser erupts upon opening, you are waiting way too long.

        In the refrigerator, the yeast slows down or goes dormant, but is not dead. It still may be working at a much reduced speed. So plan not to hold your kvass more than three weeks. If you are drinking it regularly, as you should, you will have an idea each time you open a bottle how far along your carbonization has come.

  8. Fred Harrison says:

    This quick and easy brew turned out very nice, but I am going to fiddle with it some to see what can be done with various grains and breads, and the addition of hops and other bittering agents. Also, I will try cutting down on the amount of sugar used to make it, and substitute various other kinds of yeast-friendly sugars.

    I have a dislike for using plastic containers, which leach unhealthy chemicals into foods and beverages, and so used recycled 15 oz. tea bottles (Taoz), filling them 80% full at 12 oz. These bottles have 3/8″ wider openings than beer bottles and their screw on caps seal tight over several uses. They are also easier to fill and clean.

    Thanks for the work you did to put this page together and for including the photos for each step in the process.

  9. Fred Harrison says:

    TWEAKING THE RECIPE

    On the second batch I made these changes;

    1. A 50/50 mix of commercial rye and sprouted wheat breads were used. The rye bread had wheat in it.
    2. Bread crumbs were not crumbed, but left cubed
    3. Only 3/4 cup of sugar was used
    4. A packet of activated dry baker’s yeast was simply sprinkled on top of the wort and not stirred in
    5. A crock was used instead of a stainless steel pot
    6. Filled bottles were left out half a day before refrigerating

    The result was a lemony sour beverage more in keeping with what I believe is the true Russian kvass taste, both delicious and refreshing. The yeast went to work quicker and consumed much more of the sugar. Carbonization in the bottle was just as good as with the original recipe.

  10. Phil says:

    Does the kvass have to be stored in plastic bottles? or can mason jars be used with tight seals? As long as the pressure build up isn’t too much, should they be fine, or is there too much danger of an exploding glass jar?

    • If you don’t store it too long I think you can use glass bottles. Also if pressure is released from time to time it shouldn’t be too much of the danger I believe. But I never tried.

  11. […] If you can’t find kvass in your country, you can make it yourself. For okroshka it is a bit worse but better than no kvass at all. The recipe of how to make kvass at home you can see here. […]

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