Kvas recipe?
June 11, 2007 12:51 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know a good (but fairly simple) recipe for Kvas, the delicious Russian soft drink made from bread? I tried some the other day and I'm addicted. I'm drinking gallons of it.
posted by vizsla to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
There are a million recipes for a million wildly different varieties of kvass. What kind do you like? The variants run from clear and light to dark and heavy with all sorts of additives (usually fruit, but some people add really odd stuff, like sap or leaves) possible. People use different kinds of bread, and some people cook or fry the bread first. Most kvass has a little alcohol in it - some has more, but usually not so much as to be dangerous . . . unless you're drinking gallons of it! A lot of recipes on the web have pictures - I'd do a google search and try to narrow it down by "look" first. Or describe what 'your' kvass tastes like.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:05 AM on June 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: My kvas is very basic. It is a very light orange colour. I think it is made from rye. However I am open to anything. If it can be slightly alcoholic in content that would be interesting too. I want it to be quite simple to make.
posted by vizsla at 4:31 AM on June 11, 2007

See also this one.

Best kvas I ever had was from a kvas wagon in Lviv/Lvov. I don't know why exactly, but it had an extra-smooth caramel note in it that just perfectly matched the acid and the earthiness of it. If anyone knows how to make that happen, speak up!

If brewing fails you, many U.S. cities have an imported-foods store, and kvas is a likely find there. Monastyrsky is a pretty tasty brand that comes in two-liter bottles.

To straight drinking and okroshka soup, I'll add my own weird use for kvas: In a marinade for stir fry beef (with a smaller quantity of soy sauce, and a little fresh ginger). The earthy, beery flavor is a good match, and the acid helps make it tender. Fry up some zucchini batons and use more kvas and soy (with ginger, fresh garlic, and cornstarch) to make sauce. It was completely awesome. And it stayed very moist; I think the carbonation helped to work the marinade into the beef.
posted by eritain at 5:14 AM on June 11, 2007

Seriously, no snark or joke intended, but is this similar to a sort of Russian prune-o as the recipe suggests?
posted by Pollomacho at 5:29 AM on June 11, 2007

Kvas, much like salo, cannot be described. It can only be experienced. (salo is slabs of frozen suet seasoned with spices/garlic...)
posted by nasreddin at 5:38 AM on June 11, 2007

As dictated by genuine babushka (use at own risk, consider using a fermenter or other modern tech. While reading recipe, Mefites should provide their own thick Russian accent.)

1 loaf bread (rye/wholemeal)
1 bucket
Boiling water
Some hops (a good pinch)
5 gm brewer's yeast
1.5 kg sugar
1 tbs honey
Enough bottles (I think she used wine bottles.)
Raisins (10x number of bottles)

Slice and toast the bread, but don't burn it.
Chuck the toasted slices of bread into the bucket, along with the sugar and honey. Mostly fill it with boiling water, and cover the bucket with a towel. Chuck in the hops. Make a paste of the yeast, and once the bucket has cooled to blood temperature, throw it in.
Let it stand for five hours. Put ten raisins into each bottle, followed by the strained kvass. Put lids on the bottles, but make sure they aren't on too tight, or you'll have glass and kvass everywhere. (She used corks tied to the bottles with string.)
Wait a couple of days, then drink.
posted by zamboni at 7:09 AM on June 11, 2007 [2 favorites]

i rarely drink kvass, but have always enjoyed this nutty brown earth champagne.
pumpernickel makes for a richer, heartier brew.
raisins of course, but if you're going to do more than one batch, use small amounts of other fruits to get exactly the taste you want. try half a peach in there.
posted by bruce at 9:16 AM on June 11, 2007

LSD can be derived from ergotized rye (a sort of fermentation, if you will), and was discovered there, in fact, and I used to enjoy occasional broiler-pizzas made with big rounds of rye crackers, until I noticed that they were inevitably followed the next day by more or less intense flashback events-- sometimes very intense.

I have for long been interested in kvass, therefore, but more than a little afraid of it.
posted by jamjam at 10:22 AM on June 11, 2007 [2 favorites]

Here is a simple recipe for kvas in every way except time (preparation takes at least 5 days, though you don't have to be paying attention the whole time) but I imagine it will be very good. My wife just got a great cookbook called "Bread Matters" and I noticed the kvas recipe in it just a few days ago.

The (five) days before, prepare a rye production sourdough (recipe below).

450 grams rye bread
4 1/2 litres water
300 grams molasses
150 grams rye production sourdough
2 raisins per bottle

Cut the bread into small pieces and dry them out thoroughly, either in a warm place or in a low oven. Put them in a bucket of at least 5 litres capacity. Boil the water and pour in over the bread. Cover and leave until the temperature has dropped to about 35 degrees. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into another bucket. Press the crumbly sludge very gently to release the last of the liquid, but do not squeeze it hard or too much sediment will fall in. Add the molasses to the warm liquid and mix thoroughly. Then mix in the rye sourdough and leave it in a warm place for twelve hours. In the morning, strain and pour into sterilized bottles, adding the two raisins per bottle. Seal the bottles and leave them in a cool place.

If after two days, the bottles have not carbonated, give them a shake and move them to a warm place to carbonate. Drink chilled, or use as the liquid for making soup such as borshch.


In order to make rye production sourdough, you first have to make rye sourdough starter.
To make a rye sourdough starter, start by mixing together 25 grams of rye flour and 50 grams of warm water; keep these in a warm place. The next day, add another 25 grams of rye flour and 50 grams of warm water. Again on day three, and again on day four; same proportions. Leave the mixture for one more day; now you have your rye sourdough starter.

Now, take 50 grams of the starter. Add 150 grams rye flour and 300 grams water. Mix together to form a sloppy mixture and leave for 12-24 hours. Now you have your rye production sourdough.
posted by louigi at 1:36 PM on June 11, 2007

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