If you’ve hung out in the world of cultured foods for very long you have probably heard of beet kvass. It is a popular tonic listed in the book Nourishing Traditions.
It is made simply with beets, water, salt, and an optional starter culture of whey. It is slightly sour, earthy, and not exactly something you drink because you can’t get enough of the taste.
But there is another type of kvass, a bread-based kvass, that also hails from Russia. If you scour the internet for recipes you can find about a hundred with some combination of bread, yeast, water, and optional fruits and sugars.
I knew that kvass had to have been born out of necessity, though. And because of that I wondered if the yeast, something that wasn’t available for much of history, was a new addition. Turns out it was, and you can make it perfectly well without it.