Kvass (Fermented Beverage)

Whole-Spelt Sourdough Bread

Whole-Spelt Sourdough Bread

by Cat, Aug 2007 (photo & bread, right, by Cat)

See also: 1. Beet Kvass; 2. Rejuvelac; 3. Cabbage Juice Tonic

The national beverage of Russia is traditionally made from fermented cereal grains (as wheat, barley, oats, millet, etc. sourdough bread) and sweetened with fruit; this recipe uses stale bread, raisins and apple.  Similar to kombucha, it provides several organic acids essential for proper liver function, including glucuronic acid. It should have a slight fizz, and may have a small amount of alcohol (less than 1%).

Lacto-fermented beverages have been made since Biblical times.  They are fermented by lactic-acid forming bacteria, such as the probiotics present in our own gut, and in cultured dairy products like buttermilk, yogurt and kefir, or present on most foods. Most lacto-fermented beverages have a very low alcohol content, as the fermentation focuses on the formation of lactic acid as opposed to alcohol. 

Kvass Recipe

I’ve not yet made this myself, but I have tasted kvass made by others. I prefer Beet Kvass or rejuvalac, which are related beverages.

This recipe is from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, PhD. However, I’ve adapted it to use liquid from another lacto-fermentation product (or ½ tsp culture starter mixed with a few Tbsp water), rather than whey.

Makes 2 quarts (about).

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 4-5 slices whole grain sourdough bread
  • 2 quarts filtered water
  • 2 tsp Unrefined Sea Salt
  • Optional: 1/4 cup liquid from another lacto-fermentation product (or ½ tsp culture starter mixed with a few Tbsp water)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 apples
  • large bowl and cloth cover
  • half-gallon wide mouth canning jar with lid
  • strainer


  1. Place bread in warm oven until dried out; transfer to bowl.  Bring water to boil and pour over bread.
  2. Let cool to room temperature (below 80° F), then add salt and whey.  Cover with a cloth and let rest at room temperature for 2-3 days.
  3. Peel, quarter and core the apples.
  4. Remove bread.  Strain liquid into jar.  Add raisins and apples.  Cover tightly and store in refrigerator or cold storage for about 1 month before drinking.  It is ready when the fruit floats, a sign that sufficient lactic acid has been produced.

About Cat

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