There are so many different types of alcohol that can easily be fermented at home. Sourdough kvass is the EASIEST homemade alcoholic beverage. It doesn’t require any special ingredients or equipment to create a sweet and sparkling drink.
What is sourdough kvass?
It is likely the original form of beer as it is very easy to brew at home and doesn’t require any special ingredients.
How to make bread kvass
All you need to do to make bread kvass is toast a loaf of bread, then soak it in water to extract the sugars.
Then strain the liquid and ferment it with sugar, yeast and flavours. It will foam up significantly. In the photo below I have used the traditional mint flavouring.
- 1 lbs of dark rye bread
- 3 Liters of water
- 1 cup of honey (or sugar)
- 1 tbsp sourdough starter or 1 tsp bread yeast (see notes)
- Flavours (see section below)
- Cut the bread into cubes and toast it in the oven to caramelize the sugars.
- Combine 3 liters of boiling water with the dried bread in a bowl and let it soak for at least 4 hours (up to 24 hours). The goal is to extract the sugars into the boiling water.
- Strain liquid into a fermentation container and add in your chosen flavour, honey and sourdough starter.
- Leave it in a warm location until it starts to foam (between 6-12 hours).
- Strain the kvass through a cheese cloth into bottles (see notes) and store in the fridge. The kvass will continue to ferment and will build up pressure, so use appropriate containers, and release the pressure every day until is stops building up carbonation.
- It will be ready to drink after 3 days in the fridge. However, it will continue to ferment for another 2-4 weeks until all the sugars have been consumed by the yeast. At that point it will no longer be sweet and it will have reached it's full alcohol content.
-To make this recipe you need to have a healthy sourdough starter and a loaf of sourdough bread.
-Using sourdough starter will only result in 0.5%-2% alcohol. If you use bread yeast it could ferment up to 8% alcohol
-Use plastic bottles or swing-top beer bottles for bottling. Both will be able to handle the build up of carbonation. However, you will still need to release the pressure daily. Using a proper bottle will just prevent any explosions in your fridge.
-If you plan on drinking your kvass within 2 weeks of making it, you probably don’t need to worry about sterilization. However, if you are keeping it any longer than that, I recommend sterilizing EVERYTHING and using airlocks for the initial ferment. It’s the best way to prevent your kvass from spoiling.
Sourdough Starter: I have made kvass with bread yeast and sourdough starter. When using sourdough starter, your kvass may have an unpleasant, yeasty smell during the initial stages of fermentation. I suspect that it is an artifact of using a free-range yeast and bacteria culture. However, this smell will improve after a week in the fridge.
Type of Bread: Though rye is the traditional bread for sourdough kvass, any kind of bread will work. Personally I like the caramelly flavour that comes from a nice loaf of dark rye. A loaf of white bread will result in a lighter beverage that is refreshing on a hot day.
Added Flavours: Mint is a traditional flavour. Use a few sprigs of mint for a batch. Adding a handful of raisin, berries or a few slices of apples is also nice. Lemon peel would be a good addition to a lighter loaf of bread. Try adding 1 tbsp of hops for a beer-like flavour!
Here is kvass made from my pain de campagne.