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Kvas Memories

from Rosalie Eichman


As a small child I can remember my folks having a big crock in the pantry where it was cool and on hot days I can remember mom taking the cloth off and pushing aside the white foamy stuff and dipping us a cupful. It was cool and refreshing and had sort of a beery taste and was sort of an amber color. We called is Kvas or Kvast. I never knew what they used to ferment it or how it was made. As we got older they discontinued making it and made root beer.

Hereís a recipe for Kvas from Ruth Nuss of Lincoln, Nebraska, originally published in the cookbook Kuche Kochen available from AHSGR. Ruth notes: It isnít vodka, but not a bad drink. Sweet and effervescent.



Kvas or Kvast - Russian Non-Alcoholic Drink  from Ruth Nuss

  • 1 loaf dry dark rye bread - about 24 slices
  • 1 Ĺ gallons boiling water (6 qts)
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 2 pkgs yeast (dry or paste)
  • ľ cup golden raisins
  • 1 large crock - 3 gallons or larger or an enamel canner
  • 1 thin tear towel or sack or piece of muslin
  • String

Put the bread in the tea towel (hobo bundle) tying with striing, secureIy. Put bundle at bottom of crock. Poor boiling water over bundle of bread. Cover. Let set several hours until water is lukewarm. Pull bundle out of water and let drip in clean pan. Pour drained water into crock. Add sugar to the water. Be certain no bread is in the water. Be sure water is lukewarm, now add yeast. Dispose of wet soggy bread. Stir. Cover. Put in warm place and out of draft. Let set 10 to 12 hours which is overnight.

There will be a slight yeast settlement. Pour clear liquid into a jug. Add raisins. Set yeast liquid aside. Cork the bottle or put a lid on the jar. Not a tight lid for the liquid could blow the cork.

Refrigerate the 1 gallon and the yeast settlement. The clear Kvas will be ready to drink in 5 days. Strain in manís handkerchief before serving.

Yield: About 1 gallon