Russian Rye Bread Fermented Beverage – Hlebniy Kvass

Kvass is Russian national beverage, we drink it chilled as is or add to stew and soups (cold, like okroshka or botvinya, or hot, like soup with wild mushrooms). This is easy and most common way to make kvass – with rye bread and yeast, after all, bread kvass is fermented liquid from soaking bread.  Starter can be used again and again and each time the kvass will be better.


To make starter:

4 cups boiled water
2-3 slices of dark rye bread, cubed
1/4 tsp. dried yeast or peas-size fresh yeast
1 tbsp. sugar or more

To make kvass:

*starter without most liquids
4-5 cups of boiled water
2-3 slices of dark rye bread, cubed
1-2 tbsp. sugar (more sugar for drinkable kvass, less – for base for soup)
2-3 raisins (any color)


For a more pronounced flavor and color, brown bread in the preheated (350F) oven about 10 minutes, but do not burn it.

Put bread cubes in the saucepan, pour the boiling water, cover, and let stay about half hour – water should be warm, but not hot.

Put bread and water into 1/2 gallon jar (I used one from Ball), add yeast and sugar. Cover with piece of cheesecloth. Since the cover of such jar consists of two parts, I’m covering jar with a piece of cheesecloth and wind the rim.

Let starter ferment in warm place about 24 hour minimum (not in front on sun, dark place is better).

Use starter to make kvass: drain most of liquid (some drink it, but for me it has to strong yeast smell and taste) from starter, put it into same jar. Soak another browned bread into boiled water, let cool to warm, add into jar to starter (do not add hot liquid – you can kill cultures), add sugar, cover with cheesecloth and let stay into warm dark place about 24-48 hours.

When kvass starts to bubble and smells great, filter it through cheesecloth, pour out in bottle (I bought mine in Christmas Tree Shop), put 2-3 raisins (Raisins should be unwashed! This is important! There is bacteria in the unwashed raisins that help kvass become more fizzy) and cork it. Leave kvass for 2-3 days in fridge until it is ready (raisin will float). Drink it!

Use part of filtered starter to make more kvass or you just put starter into fridge for week maximum.

You can add only water into starter and has sour kvass for okroshka.

There is picture of second kvass with some bubbles.


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7 Responses to “Russian Rye Bread Fermented Beverage – Hlebniy Kvass”

  1. […] at Russian deli, but most of pre-made kvasses are too sweet for okroshka. The best option – handmade kvass from scratch, made with rye bread, water, sugar and yeast, then it will be quite […]

  2. […] *, ** It can be purchased in the Russian store or use homemade bread kvass. […]

  3. […] Yeah, tautology. Bread, made with Russian bread kvass. […]

  4. […] this beverage can be a little alcoholic, made with kvass starter. This is plain version without any spices, my first (and this one) […]

  5. […] cup oat (I used Quaker’s) 3 cups hot water 2 tbsp. starter from kvass or piece of rye bread (optional) Honey or sugar for […]

  6. […] Russian okroshka is made with kvass. Fermented milk base cold soups is most common in the Caucasian countries. Once someone used kefir […]

  7. […] This is a very old Russian recipe, easy cold appetizer/soup for hot days. Made with kvass or milk and whole wheat or rye bread (crust is the best) with some additions (herbs or vegetables). Food of poor people, now almost forgotten. My version is with cucumbers and herbs and homemade bread kvass. […]

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