Bread Kvas is uber popular in Russia and Ukraine. You might compare it to a sweet, non-alcoholic beer. Enjoy it cold on a hot summer day.

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You’re gonna appreciate this; a simple, authentic bread kvas that doesn’t need a concentrate! My hubby’s cousin, Angelina, shared this recipe with us. We’ve made it with rye bread and with black bread and both were so refreshing! New favorite for sure – thanks Angelina!

This kvass lasts up to a week in the fridge (probably longer, but it might start tasting kinda strong). You’ll notice it loses sweetness daily as it stands. I think it’s best after a full day in the fridge.

Bread Kvas is uber popular in Russia and Ukraine. You might compare it to a sweet, non-alcoholic beer. From my research, kvass only has up to 1% alcohol content (still probably not recommended for pregos). The longer it sits in the fridge, the more slightly “alcoholic” it gets, but it’s still considered non-alcoholic.

So if you drink it in the first day or 2, there is probably no alcohol in there yet. From what my readers have said, it’s best to store kvas in plastic soda bottles since they are designed to hold pressurized drinks. I like to release the pressure from my bottles 1-2 times a day because an over-inflated bottle just makes me nervous.

Ingredients for Bread Kvas:

2.5 gallons or 10 qt of water
1 lb or 9 slices of classic black, dark or rye bread
1 handful of raisins
1.8 lb (4 cups) of sugar
1.5 Tbsp of active dry yeast
3 large plastic soda bottles

Ingredients on the table for Angelina\'s easy bread kvas

How to Make Russian Bread Kvas: (best if prepared in the evening)

DAY 1:

1. Fill giant stock pot with 2.5 gallons of water (or divide it into two large pots) and bring to a boil.

2. While waiting, toast the bread slices twice on the darkest toaster setting. Yes. Seriously. Darker bread makes darker kvass. Toast bread either outside or in your garage or your house will get smokey. We learned the hard way :). It should look like the photo below.

A bag of classic black bread in a cutting board
Eight slices of burned toast

3. When water starts to boil, remove the pot from heat. Add a handful of raisins and toasted bread to the pot, cover with the lid and let it stay overnight or at least 8 hours.

A large pot with water and burned toast in it

DAY 2:

4. Carefully remove toasted bread and discard it.

5. In a medium bowl, mix together 4 cups of sugar and 1.5 Tbsp of yeast, add them to kvas mixture and stir.

6. Cover with plastic wrap or lid and leave the mixture on the counter for another 6 hours, stirring every couple hours.

A large pot of bread kvas

7. Discard floating raisins by scooping them up with a large spoon. Using strainer or cheese cloth, pour kvass into bottles, loosely cover with lid and refrigerate overnight. The following day once the bottles are completely chilled, you can tighten the lid.

A spoon with raisins

A plastic bottle, a cloth strainer and funnel

Three plastic bottles of bread kvas

P.S. According to my readers, it’s best to store kvas in plastic soda bottles since they are designed to hold pressurized drinks.

DAY 3: enjoy
DAY 4: enjoy
DAY 5: …..did it really last that long?

How do you make your kvass?

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Easy Bread Kvas Recipe

4.80 from 99 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Prep Time: 14 hours
Total Time: 14 hours

Ingredients 

Servings: 20 -24
  • 2.5 gallons or 10 qt of water
  • 1 lb or 9 slices of classic black, dark or rye bread
  • 1 handful of raisins
  • 1.8 lb 4 cups of sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons of active dry yeast
  • 3 large plastic soda bottles

Instructions

DAY 1: (best if prepared in the evening)

  • Fill giant stock pot with 2.5 gallons of water (or divide it into two large pots) and bring to a boil.
  • While waiting, toast the bread slices twice on the darkest toaster setting. Darker bread makes darker kvass. Toast bread either outside or in your garage or your house will get smokey.
  • When water starts to boil, remove the pot from heat. Add a handful of raisins and toasted bread to the pot, cover with the lid and let it stay overnight or at least 8 hours.

DAY 2:

  • Carefully remove toasted bread and discard it.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together 4 cups of sugar and 1.5 Tbsp of yeast, add them to kvas mixture and stir.
  • Cover with plastic wrap or lid and leave the mixture on the counter for another 6 hours, stirring every couple hours.
  • Discard floating raisins by scooping them up with a large spoon. Using strainer or cheese cloth, pour kvass into bottles, loosely cover with lid and refrigerate overnight. The following day once the bottles are completely chilled, you can tighten the lid.

DAY 3: enjoy

    Notes

    P.S. According to my readers, it's best to store kvas in plastic soda bottles since they are designed to hold pressurized drinks.
    Course: Beverage
    Cuisine: Russian, Ukrainian
    Keyword: Easy Bread Kvas, Russian kvass
    Skill Level: Easy
    Cost to Make: $

    Natasha Kravchuk

    Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

    Read more posts by Natasha

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    Recipe Rating




    Comments

    • Lynne Thornburg
      May 19, 2024

      How would I alter this recipe to make the kind of kvass I need to make Botvinya?

      Reply

      • Natasha
        May 19, 2024

        Hi Lynne, I’m not familiar with Botvinya.

        Reply

        • Lynne Thornburg
          May 23, 2024

          Thank you. It’s one of the Russian soups that uses it. The broth continues to consist a cold broth and kvass.

          Reply

    • Kevin
      September 5, 2023

      Will the drink still be carbonated if the drinks are chilled in the refrigerator without the lid tightly closed? I’m guessing this is necessary so the CO2 can escape?

      Reply

      • NatashasKitchen.com
        September 5, 2023

        Hi Kevin! You’ll want to store it with the lid tight (after it’s cooled overnight). I like to release the pressure from my bottles 1-2 times a day.

        Reply

    • Mike
      June 30, 2023

      Great, easy to follow recipe. I made mine gluten free with BFree Brown seeded loaf, a teaspoon of ground caraway seeds, and two teaspoons of instant coffee. Thanks!

      Reply

      • NatashasKitchen.com
        June 30, 2023

        That’s great, Mike! Thank you for sharing.

        Reply

    • Gillian
      January 25, 2023

      Greetings Natasha, this is an excellent recipe I have made it 3 times and each time it came out perfect!

      Cheers to the good life!

      Reply

      • NatashasKitchen.com
        January 25, 2023

        I’m so glad to hear that, Gillian! Thanks so much for the review.

        Reply

    • Hailey K.
      October 26, 2022

      I’ve used this recipe 3 times every time its to refresh my memory because after the second time its almost second nature. This is my 3rd time doing it but this time I’m using raspberries to add a slight fruity flavour to it this time.

      Reply

      • NatashasKitchen.com
        October 26, 2022

        Thank you for the review, Hailey! I’m so glad you love this recipe.

        Reply

    • Doğukan
      September 9, 2022

      Hi Natasha! I tried this recipe and it’s my first time tasting kvass! Loved the flavor but I wonder is it supposed to still be bubbly when drinking? Mine tasted good but it didn’t have this beer-like acidic feeling. So I couldn’t know if it should’ve been like that. I hope you answer my question. Thanks for the recipe anyway!

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        September 12, 2022

        Hi Dogukan, traditionally, kvas is only slightly carbonated, but yes, as you can see in the recipe photos, the kvas will have some bubbles.

        Reply

    • Amy
      April 4, 2022

      So I can’t leave a full review yet, but I’ve been looking for an easy kvas recipe for a bit now – and have just started a half batch of this with some homemade rye sourdough. No raisins in my house, inexplicably, but I found some dried prunes and apples… so that’s the route I am taking. Excitedly looking forward to the results!! Thanks for all your delightful recipes!

      Reply

      • Natasha's Kitchen
        April 4, 2022

        You’re welcome, I hope it becomes your new favorite. Please update us on how it goes!

        Reply

    • James Mears
      November 15, 2021

      Woah woah woah. Be careful what kind of bottle you use. If you store alcohol in some types of plastic it can make you sick. It may even be deadly!!!!

      Reply

      • JC
        January 23, 2022

        Food grade plastics, especially those designed for liquids (PET and HDPE) are fine with low percentage alcohols. That’s why you can even buy plastic bottles for homebrew.

        Reply

    • Ralph Z
      June 11, 2021

      NATASH!! I was just telling my 85-year-old mom that I was making kombucha and ginger beer. We are Mennonites, coming through Russia, and my mom informed me my grandma used to make this drink. She knew the name but didn’t know the spelling. Well, who knew one of my favourite and most trusted chefs would have the recipe on her site once we figure the spelling out. THANK YOU! I now have oxheart tomatoes from one grandma, yellow tomatoes from another and a drink from my mother’s childhood. Now if I could only get my grandpa’s recipe for a smoked farmer sausage, I would be in heaven.

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        June 11, 2021

        I’m so glad to hear that! I love that this recipe brought back memories!

        Reply

        • Ralph
          June 12, 2021

          And thanks for opening up new doors to new recipes and flavours Natasha. (I had to leave another comment to let you know I DO know how to spell your name. I was just a little excited that I found this recipe and forgot to spellcheck)!!

          Reply

          • Natashas Kitchen
            June 12, 2021

            Thank you, Ralph!

            Reply

    • Jez Slowe
      May 30, 2021

      If I make this and leave it to ferment for 3 days and then put in a fridge how much sugar is in the actual drink? I don’t really want to be drinking water and sugar and I don’t know how to test for the sugar.

      Reply

      • Natasha
        June 1, 2021

        Hi Jez, I don’t have a way to calculate how much sugar is left after the yeast has eaten up a fair amount of it. I do know that it is less and less sweet as it stands because the yeast continues to work on the sugar.

        Reply

      • Vladimir Menkov
        August 4, 2021

        I have not tried this recipe yet, but I followed a similar recipe printed on a jar of a concentrated wort (grain malt extract) sold in Russia for making kvass at home. It seems that the sugar content of the final product depends on the yeast to sugar ratio, and the amount of time you let it brew. With a bit more yeast, I ended up with a product that was slightly bitter, a bit like beer — quite different from store-bought bottled kvass, but still good in its own way. When following the prescribed ratio of the ingredients, the end product is only slightly sweet, which means that most of the sugar has been “eaten” by the yeast, partly simply “burned” (converted to CO2 and H20), partly converted into acetic acid (vinegar) and alcohol, which give the drink a bit of a sour and bitter flavor. So try it out, and taste the product… you can vary the ingredient ratio to bring it to the desired sweetness level.

        Reply

      • Thom Guzowski
        February 24, 2024

        Use a hydrometer to measure pre gravity and final gravity. It will reveal how much remainder sugar it has and how much alcohol is produced

        Reply

    • Cora
      April 15, 2021

      This looks amazing! I was planning on making it but maybe thirding the recipe, I have a tiny fridge and I’m only one person haha. Would you recommend simply taking the measurements down by 2/3, or is there a better way you would recommend for a single batch?

      Reply

      • Natasha
        April 15, 2021

        Hi Cora, you could scale down everything proportionally and make a smaller batch. That should work fine.

        Reply

      • Wes
        June 21, 2021

        I cut the recipe in half but altered some ratios to reach what I now make constantly. 5 quarts of water, 1 lb of bread, 1/4 cup craisins or dried cherries (raisins always gave it an offputting aroma), 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp yeast, and a slice of lemon zest. I put it into 2 half gallon mason jars with tight-fitting lids but burp them at least twice a day. It’s my favorite drink year round!

        Reply

    • Lena
      March 9, 2021

      Hey! This is a nice and easy recipe, much less complicated than the one I inherited from my babushka (she was using sourdough and birch sap and whatnot… she even suggested dandelion flowers!) I just feel like making a batch of kvas right now. 🙂

      Although personally, I’d say that your bread may be a bit *too* black in places (most notably, the third slice in the left row looks particularly cancer-inducing). Toasters tends to do that on high setting. What I do to avoid it is cut the slices into cubes and stick them in the oven at about 300-350F, aiming for evenly golden-brown color with no carbon spots. As a side benefit, cubes = more of toasted surface, and thus more tasty bready caramelized goodness to release into the liquid.

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        March 9, 2021

        Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

        Reply

    • john
      March 6, 2021

      why is there so much sugar called for in the recipe?
      I deviated from the recipe, and went for hard kvas. :).

      Reply

      • Natasha
        March 7, 2021

        Hi John, the yeast eats up most of the sugar, especially as it sits for a longer period of time so it can turn into a “hard kvass” if you let it sit longer.

        Reply

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