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Russian Kvas Recipe

Kvas is THE traditional Russian/ Ukrainian drink. Some compare this to a non-alcoholic beer. Its bubbly like a soda, but not as sweet.

We served homemade Russian Kvas at Vadim’s 30th Birthday party. By the way, the party was perfect. Nice size crowd (20-something people).  Good food, fun conversations and lots of laughs.

Thanks to all who joined us to celebrate. Vadim is 30 years young!! Kvas is THE traditional Russian/ Ukrainian drink. Some compare this to a non-alcoholic beer. Its bubbly like a soda, but not as sweet.

My dad tried this after working in the sun for a couple of hours and his only response was “Sila!!” (strength) – it’s very satisfying and thirst quenching. 

Ingredients for Russian Kvas:

5 Liters or 5.28 Quarts, or 21 cups Warm Water
10 Tbsp Kvas Concentrate (See Picture – found in Russian/European stores)
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
10 raisins
1/2 loaf of Rye Bread, cut into 1″ squares and toasted

How to Make Russian Kvas:

1. Pour Warm Water into an extra large bowl or bucket.
2. Add Kvas concentrate and Sugar, stir until dissolved.
3. Add yeast and stir until it dissolves.
4. Add Raisins
5. Add Chopped toasted bread

6. Cover with a breathable cotton cloth. Secure cloth with a rubber band or string.

7. Let Kvas sit in a warm place (about 85 °F) to ferment for 18-20 hours.

8. After 18-20 hours, remove raisins and bread from Kvas.

9. Strain  kvas through multiple layers of a cheese cloth and pour into juice bottles that can be sealed tightly.


10. Fill juice bottles 3/4 full to allow room to expand. While Kvas is still warm, you want to put the lids on loosely. Once it cools in the refrigerator, tighten the lid.

Notes:

Most of the store bough kvas, that I tried, did not taste that great. Boise has 2 Russian/European  Stores where you can find the Kvas Concentrate. I go to the one on Fairview, called Irina’s. It’s across from Idaho Athletic Club near Locust Grove. There’s also one next to China Grand Buffet on Fairview, near Five-Mile. Most Russian stores also sell a great Rye bread; just ask them what kind you need for kvas. Supposedly the Rye Bread is found at Winco too, I will have to look into that.

Russian Kvas Recipe

5 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $5
Servings: 20 cups

Ingredients

  • 5 Liters or 5.28 Quarts or 21 cups Warm Water
  • 10 Tbsp Kvas Concentrate
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 10 raisins
  • 1/2 loaf of Rye Bread cut into 1" squares and toasted

Instructions

  1. Pour Warm Water into an extra large bowl or bucket.
  2. Add 10 Tbsp of Kvas concentrate and 1 3/4 cups of Sugar, stir until dissolved.
  3. Add 1/2 Tbsp of dry yeast and stir until it dissolves.
  4. Add 10 + Raisins
  5. Add Chopped toasted bread
  6. Cover with a breathable cotton cloth. Secure cloth with a rubber band or string.
  7. Let Kvas sit in a warm place (about 85 °F) to ferment for 18-20 hours.
  8. After 18-20 hours, remove raisins and bread from Kvas.
  9. Strain kvas through multiple layers of a cheese cloth and pour into juice bottles that can be sealed tightly.
  10. Fill juice bottles 3/4 full to allow room to expand. While Kvas is still warm, you want to put the lids on loosely. Once it cools in the refrigerator, tighten the lid.

Recipe Notes

Most of the store bough kvas, that I tried, did not taste that great. Boise has 2 Russian/European Stores where you can find the Kvas Concentrate. I go to the one on Fairview, called Irina's. It's across from Idaho Athletic Club near Locust Grove. There's also one next to China Grand Buffet on Fairview, near Five-Mile. Most Russian stores also sell a great Rye bread; just ask them what kind you need for kvas. Supposedly the Rye Bread is found at Winco too, I will have to look into that.

 

natashaskitchen

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 recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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  • Len Carter
    October 21, 2018

    Natasha, My Darling spouse is a serious dieter. As a result bread is usually off the menu but this looks really interesting if it doesn’t carry the carbs from the bread to the Kvas.
    Could you let me know the nutritional values.
    I noticed in your family phot that non of you has a diet consideration.
    Thanks… Len Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 21, 2018

      Hi Len! Hi, We are slowly working through all of our recipes to add nutrition info but it is a time consuming process as they have to be added one at a time. Thank you for being patient! 🙂 Reply

  • Helel ben Shahaar
    November 24, 2017

    Is it possible to make this without Kvas concentrate? There isn’t really any to buy anywhere near where I live. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 24, 2017

      Hi Helel, I do not use a kvas concentrate in any of my recipes but just bread, yeast and molasses. I hope that helps! Make sure to check out our bread kvass and apple kvass recipes as well 🙂 Reply

  • Kel
    November 4, 2017

    Will this produce alcohol as it ferments? Is it similar to Kombucha? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 4, 2017

      Hi Kel, it’s not quite like kombucha, but it will probably start producing very small amounts of alcohol the longer it stands similar to the levels in kombucha. Reply

  • Hunter
    April 13, 2016

    Your blog is so interesting! I love the recipes. Do you speak Russian or Ukrainian too? My grandmother was Ukrainian but unfortunately we lost the language in my family. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 13, 2016

      Thank you and I’m so glad you find it interesting :). I speak Russian and Ukrainian but not super amazingly ;). It’s definitely much easier for me in English since I’ve been in the US since I was 4. I hope you discover recipes here that remind you of your Grandmother.  Reply

  • September 22, 2014

    Great recipe – thank you! I’ve suggested my readers to follow your blog and try all your amazing recipes: http://stylesprinter.com/top-5-nostalgic-russian-dishes/#more-1462
    Lots of love,
    – Katya B. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 22, 2014

      Thank you so much for sharing it on your site. Great site by the way! 🙂 Reply

  • tony
    October 24, 2013

    I tried the recipe this weekend. I added two slices of ginger root and used a beer yeast. It turned out great. Thanks for posting this wonderful drink. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 24, 2013

      You are welcome Tony, great job on improvising :). Reply

  • Kafi
    March 23, 2012

    Thanks for the kvas recipe, this is really impressible. Can you suggest any substitution of kvas concentrate? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 23, 2012

      Have you tried this recipe that I have posted for bread kvas which does not require a concentrate? Reply

  • Marek
    January 16, 2012

    I am thinking about starting a new batch of bread kvass today. I have a question, though: what do people do with the bread once it is removed from the kvass mixture? Do you just throw it away? It seems like a waste to me. I would appreciate any thoughts. Thanks. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 16, 2012

      There really isn’t any use for it that I know of. Reply

      • Olga
        May 16, 2017

        If you have chicken or pigs I heard they love it… Reply

  • Tori
    December 18, 2011

    Just wanted to thank you for having this up here- I bought a bottle of concentrate from the Russian market (in Boise, no less), and I can’t read the instructions 🙂 You’re my hero! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 18, 2011

      Nice. That’s awesome! I hope you enjoy it. Reply

  • Stan
    November 20, 2011

    Hi Natasha,

    Thank you for posting the recipe. Do you think it would come out similar if I kept it at 70 degrees (room temp) but for a longer time period?
    Also, do you have any idea if the Kvas Concentrate is kosher?

    Thank you very much,
    Stan Reply

    • Natasha
      November 20, 2011

      I have no idea about whether or not it is kosher. Our house is kept at 70 degrees so I set the bowl on the floor right next to one of the heating vents 🙂 Reply

      • Stan
        November 21, 2011

        Thanks.
        One more thing – can a cheese cloth be used for breathable cotton cloth in step 6? I’m just not sure what constitutes a breathable cotton cloth (I usually stay away from the kitchen). Reply

  • Adam
    June 18, 2011

    Now I am thinking back to the kvas I drank at Sergei Passat outside of Moscow. Genuine kvas made by the monks and sold straight of a large yellow tank. Ochen’ vkusno! I have never seen kvas concentrate but I think the key is to toast the rye bread so it is nice and dark. Will try brewing a batch this weekend. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 14, 2013

      Darker the toast, kvas will be darker as well :). Reply

  • Sharon
    May 20, 2011

    Hi Natasha! First off, I absolutely love your blog site! I’ve book marked a lot of your recipes that I’m going to try in the near future. I found your site from looking up kvas recipes a few months ago, and I looked up a LOT (both in Russian and in English). I tried a few kvas recipes, but none of them really worked out. So finally I remembered your website had a different recipe because you use kvas concentrate so I headed over to the Russian store last week and purchased it. I wanted to ask you why you don’t use dried bread (because every other recipe I’ve seen said to). But it looks like you’ve just updated it a couple days ago! What a coincidence because I just finished making the bread yesterday :). What I’ve been doing for drying out the bread is (maybe for readers?): cut in pieces, lay them out on a pan over night (can skip this if no time), and the next day place them in the oven at 200F for an hour to dry them out and lightly toast them (you don’t want to toast dark or you’ll have that slightly burnt taste–point is to just remove all moisture). From what I’ve gathered researching the recipe through the internet, I believe the raisins are put into the bottle AFTER straining, so the yeast have just a little more sugar to munch on for that extra fizziness. So I wanted to ask you if there is another reason you put the raisins in with the bread (flavor? fermenting contribution?). Do you also have any tips on getting an 85F warm place? It’s 60F outside right now, so I’m thinking about turning the oven on and off to warm throughout the 20hrs, but it seems a little tedious, maybe you have some tips? I also wanted to tell you that I’ve tried the apple kvas recipe on your site with boiled apples for the juice and it turned out just amazing! So I’m very excited to try this kvas recipe tonight! Thank you for all of your time into these wonderful posts, God Bless! Reply

    • Natasha
      May 20, 2011

      Hi Sharon- first off – thank you! I asked my husband about the raisins and he said it was to improve flavor. Next time we will put raisins in afterward too and see if it makes a difference. I’d try a smaller room like the laundry room sitting right next to a heating vent. U can try the oven but don’t let it get past 90 degrees Reply

      • Olga Paulescu
        July 7, 2011

        Natasha, I read on a site long ago that the raisins are to be able to tell when the kvas is truly done. I guess you put a few raisins in the liquid at the beginning and when they float it means the kvas is done. Something I read on a site.

        My question for you is: Do you know how to make kvas without the kvas concentrate? I live in Houston and it’s hard to find or even get to a Russian store to find something like that. Can I omit the concentrate and make the kvas without it? Or what can I use as a substitute?

        Thank you!!!

        God Bless,
        Olga Reply

  • Snezhana
    November 7, 2010

    Hi Natasha,

    Just came across your site today and I love all the Russian foods! And your recipes look very easy to follow, i cant wait to get a minute to try some more complex ones (we have three boys, the oldest in kindergarten so you can imagine what I mean.)

    I wanted to comment on the Kvas recipe; I have been making mine very differently and wanna know if you think there would be a big taste or quality difference? This one we make is just wonderful, but doesnt have that old Kvas “bready” taste. But it is very fast and easy without all the maintenance of taking anything out or straining.

    Into a HUGE glass jar (Like the biggest pickle jars in Russian stores) I pour:

    – About half a bottle of Apple Juice (Any kind, fresh or concentrate)
    – 4-8 heaping tablespoons of white sugar (9 is wayy sweet)
    – about half tablespoon dry yeast
    – about half tsp dark molasses or a tsp of instant coffee, only for the color
    – Fill to the top with filtered water

    Then I put on the lid which has a few poked holes in it and let it sit on my counter all day, and maybe a night too, so it is really fizzy, then refrigerate.

    It is very refreshing! Reply

    • Natasha
      November 7, 2010

      Hi Snezhana! Thank you so much for sharing. I will show this to my husband. I really want to try your version! I don’t know what the taste difference would be. Once I try it, I’ll let you know. Thanks again! Have you tried throwing in some raisins? – those are easy to fish out because they float to the top. Reply

  • loquacious7
    September 18, 2010

    Hi Natasha,

    I’m an American who has been living in St Petersburg Russia with his Russian wife since 2000.

    I found your link on Windows to Russia while checking on kvas recipes. I enjoy your blog and I’m sure I will be checking it time to time as I guess I am a foodie, as well as a blogger. You have a great selection of recipes.

    One of my good readers is a lady from Idaho who has just visited the Ukraine and Russia this summer. You can be sure I will recommend your blog to her!

    All good wishes

    Rob MacDonald Reply

    • Natasha
      September 18, 2010

      HI Rob, Thank you soo much for recommending my site. I’m soo glad you stopped by! Reply

  • Ilona
    August 16, 2010

    Natasha, where did you buy the cheese cloth?? i’ve never heard of it. Reply

    • Natasha
      August 16, 2010

      I bought it in Winco in the baking aisle next to where they sell kitchen tools. Its called “Bintik” or “Marlya” in Russian. I just googled it, looks like they have it at bed bath and beyond. You can probably find it at most grocery stores, just ask an employee if they have cheese cloth. I like using it because you can layer it and it catches the bread crumbs pretty well. You can rinse it and reuse it too. Reply

  • July 14, 2010

    This would be a fun project to do with Yuriy! He tried making kvas once with no recipe (and he likes to throw in whatever he can find in his kitchen when he cooks). He didn’t cover it and after sitting on his kitchen counter for a good while, it looked really scary so he dumped it. Reply

  • Natalia K
    July 12, 2010

    Thanks for the recipe. I’ve always wanted to try making kvas, but it’s been rare that I’ve tasted a really good, authentic one. I guess I’ll start with this one, and go from there! I agree with you–the blog is worthwhile to record your recipes and experiences even if you don’t have a single reader (which you obviously do)–it’s easy to have it printed into a book in the future. Reply

    • Natasha
      July 12, 2010

      Your welcome. I was just saying to Vadim how fun a book project would be. Maybe someday? Hope you like the Kvas Reply

  • Irina
    July 10, 2010

    Happy birthday to Vadim!

    I am definitely going to try his kvas recipe this summer. My grandfather used to make delicious kvas but, sadly, he never wrote down the recipe and I was too young to ask for it. Reply

    • Natasha
      July 10, 2010

      Thanks! Your comment reminds me of one of the reasons I put this blog together; so My family could have access to the recipes we all love. I never did get to try my grandparents cooking. Wish I had, but I’m sure my mom makes some of Grandmas recipes. I should ask her which were grandmas recipes. That would be very cool to know. Reply

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