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A glass of cold kvass – pure refreshment on hot summer days. The Russian bread drink tastes sweet and sour, incredibly delicious and is carbonated. It’s a thirst quencher that you just can’t get enough of. Here I’ll show you how to make kvas at home. For the recipe you need only a few ingredients. A detailed kvass recipe with exact amounts and step-by-step instructions can be found below.
What is kvass?
Kvass is a popular Russian drink made by fermenting rye bread and yeast. It is also common in other Slavic countries. During the Soviet era, the bread drink was sold in yellow tankers on the streets in the summer. In Germany, kvass can be bought in plastic bottles in Russian stores. The drink is used not only for drinking, but also for making Russian summer soups.
Delicious and healthy refreshment in summer
Especially in summer, kvas is an ideal drink that quenches thirst and refreshes. Homemade kvass, which smells aromatically of bread, tastes best. In addition, the Russian bread drink is considered to be beneficial to health. It contains vitamins, is said to be good for digestion, metabolism and the cardiovascular system, has an antibacterial effect and provides energy.
What bread do I use for kvas?
Bread is the main ingredient in kvass. To make the Russian drink really tasty, you should buy very good quality dark rye bread. Or you can bake rye bread at home. It is also important that the bread is dry. It should be like rusk. For that you have to roast it in the oven for 20-30 minutes. The darker you toast the bread, the darker your kvas will be. But make sure that the bread does not burn, otherwise the drink will taste bitter. Making kvass at home is also an ideal way to use old rye bread that you may have at home and were going to throw away. Toast it briefly in the oven to release its aroma, and then start making kvass.
The best kvass from Borodino bread
In Russia, the drink is often made from Borodino bread, which is mostly rye. You can buy the bread in some Russian stores. Usually it is sprinkled with coriander on the top. In this case, you should cut the top layer very thinly on the bread, as the coriander flavor in kvass is rather inappropriate. I had made kvas once from the rye bread from a bakery, once from the rye bread from an organic supermarket and once from the Borodino bread. In fact, the best kvass is made from the Russian Borodino bread. It comes to fermentation faster, has a more pronounced color, is very aromatic and tastes the best. On the pictures you can see at least the external difference: the kvas from the Borodino bread has a dark brown color, while the drink from the plain rye bread is much lighter. So if you plan to make kvass at home and have a chance to stop by the Russian store, you should definitely buy the Borodino bread there.
How much sugar goes into the bread drink?
Besides yeast and bread, sugar also contributes to the fermentation of the Russian drink. So the amount of sugar in kvass should not be too small. The minimum amount of sugar with which I made kvas was 80 g of sugar to 3 l of water. It worked quite well with that. The bread drink tasted barely sweet, but tart. It was perfect for the summer soup okroschka. For those who prefer less sweet drinks, it is the ideal amount of sugar for kvass. In addition, I had also made the bread drink with a larger amount of sugar, namely 130 g to 3 l of water. Thus, it tasted sweet and sour and was very tasty as a thirst quencher in between. For okroshka, however, the kvas with this larger amount of sugar is too sweet and less suitable.
Kvass is perfect for okroshka
Although there are now many different recipes with dairy products, including kefir or natural yogurt, for the Russian summer soup okroshka, the classic cold soup used to be made with kvass. So you can drink your homemade bread drink not only straight, but also make okroshka with it. The Russian drink is best for this, if it does not taste too sweet. How to make the soup with kvas, kefir or natural yogurt, I explain in the article Okroshka – vegetarian recipe for popular Russian cold soup.
Serve and store the bread drink
Kvass tastes best cold. Store it tightly closed in glass bottles in the refrigerator. The longer the bread drink sits in the refrigerator, the more carbonated it becomes. This makes it taste like a delicious lemonade with a unique bread flavor. After making it, you should refrigerate it for at least 24 hours before drinking it.
This kvas is
- sweet and sour,
- very tasty,
- ideal thirst quencher on hot summer days,
- perfect for okroshka,
- easy and quick to make at home from a few ingredients,
- a popular drink from the Russian cuisine.
The exact quantities and step-by-step instructions on how to make the Russian bread drink kvas at home can be found below in the box recipe.
For the kvass recipe you need only five ingredients. These are
- rye bread,
- boiling water,
- and raisins.
The preparation is quite fast. Only for the fermentation you should plan enough time.
How to make kvass: this is how it works
- Cut rye bread into cubes and roast in the oven at 180 °C for about 20 – 30 minutes. Then pour boiling water over the bread and let it cool down to lukewarm.
- Strain the bread water, dissolve yeast and sugar in it, add raisins and let it ferment for about 12 hours.
- Transfer the bread drink into glass bottles, seal and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Your homemade kvass is ready!
How to make kvas: with these tips and tricks you will succeed
- Use very good quality rye bread for kvass. The best kvas is made from Russian Borodino bread.
- When toasting the bread in the oven, make sure that it does not burn. Otherwise your kvass will taste bitter in the end.
- How long the bread should be toasted in the oven depends on how moist the bread was.
- You can change the amount of sugar for the bread drink a bit according to your taste, but you should not reduce it too much, because the sugar plays a role in the fermentation besides yeast and bread.
- Instead of fresh yeast you can use dry yeast. For the recipe below you need 3 g of it.
- It is important that the bread water is lukewarm when you add yeast, so that they can develop their effect well. The bread water must not be hot and also not cold.
- To get the water-bread mixture to ferment, it should be warm enough in the room. If it is about 24 °C in the room where the mass is resting, it needs about 8 – 12 hours for fermentation. The colder it is in the room, the more time the mass needs to ferment.
- Do not fill glass bottles to the brim with the kvass, but leave about 5 cm of space to the brim. This way, the gases that form during the fermentation of the drink have room to release.
- The longer you keep the bread drink in the refrigerator, the more it will carbonate.
- Instead of a cheesecloth you can use a towel.
Video for the kvass recipe
By the way, on my Youtube channel you can find a short video for kvass. There you can see exactly how to make it at home. If you don’t want to miss any more videos from me, feel free to subscribe to my channel.
Did you make the Russian bread drink according to this recipe? I’m looking forward to your results, your star rating and your comment below about how you liked the drink.
Kvass with yeast / Russian bread drink
- sealable glass bottles
- 300 g rye bread (preferably Russian Borodino bread)
- 3 l boiling water
- 80 - 130 g sugar
- 40 g raisins
- 8 g fresh yeast
- Cut rye bread into small cubes, spread them on a baking sheet and toast them in a preheated oven at 180 °C for about 20 - 30 minutes.
- Now put the bread in a large glass bowl or a large screw-top jar, pour boiling water over it, cover it with a towel and let it cool down to lukewarm at room temperature. This will take about 5 - 8 hours.
- Fold a cheesecloth about four times, line a strainer with it, and hang the strainer over a large glass bowl. Strain the lukewarm water-bread mixture, squeeze the bread residue in the cheesecloth a little and discard it.
- Add fresh yeast and sugar to the bread water and stir until the sugar and yeast dissolve.
- Add raisins, cover the bowl with the bread water with a towel and let it ferment in a warm place for about 12 hours. (Note the tips and tricks for this at the top of the post).
- Then transfer the bread drink into glass bottles (leaving about 5 cm of space to the rim in each bottle) and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
- Use rye bread of very good quality. The best kvass is made from the Russian Borodino bread.
- When toasting the bread in the oven, make sure that it does not burn. Otherwise the kvass will taste bitter in the end.
- Dry yeast can be used instead of fresh yeast. For the recipe you need 3 g of it.
- It is important that the bread water is lukewarm when you add yeast, so that they can develop their effect well.
- To get the water-bread mixture to ferment, it should be warm enough in the room. If it is about 24 °C in the room where the mass is resting, it needs about 8 - 12 hours for fermentation. The colder it is in the room, the more time the mass needs to ferment.
- Note the detailed tips and tricks for making kvass at home at the top of the post.