Just like many traditional drinks, commercial, high production versions are out there... unfortunately, when some former Soviet countries gained their freedom, Coca-cola and Pepsi entered the markets and made their own faux-kvass. But, traditional kvass (or "gira"- with a hard "g"- in Lithuania) is still a popular drink in Eastern Europe and is making a comeback in many countries.
For more information on kvass, I recommend this website, written by a native Lithuanian :)
Here is my version of this bubbly, rich traditional drink:
1, 1 lb loaf dark/black rye bread (any loaf will do, but they traditionally used sourdough)
about one gallon filtered, non-chlorinated water
1/2 c organic sugar
4 T raw honey
1 T sourdough starter
mint sprigs, lemon slices, berries, or apples (optional- to taste)
1 raisin per bottle
|I used black forest rye bread. Dry it out until it is very crispy.|
- Slice bread into 1/2" slices (traditional kvass is made from stale bread) and dry out in the oven. I put my slices in a 350F oven for about 30 minutes, until the bread breaks like a cracker.
- When the bread is finished, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat.
- Break up the bread with your hand and drop the pieces into the hot water. Let it steep, covered, for at least 4 hours to overnight (I let mine sit for 9 hours).
- When done steeping, strain off the rye water into a fermenting crock or large glass container. Discard the soggy bread (squeeze bread gently in a cheesecloth to get as much of the liquid as possible).
- To your rye water, add the sweeteners, fruit (if used) and sourdough starter (it does not have to be rye). Stir until combined and leave in a warm place, covered with cloth, for about 12 hours.
- Check for bubbles after 12 hours and scoop off any foam that rises. Wait another 12-24 hours before bottling. (if more foam rises, just scoop off before bottling)
- You can add a raisin per bottle to help check the carbonation before drinking. Place bottles in cold storage for 3 days to one month.
|Break the bread before adding it to very hot water.|
|Strain the soggy bread in cheese cloth after at least 4 hours.|
|The sourdough starter is beginning to consume the sugars!|
Enjoy your traditional kvass!
|Although the kvass seems a bit cloudy, the yeast will eventually drop out. I made 5-16oz bottles from one loaf of bread!|