The Nesting Dolls or Matrioshkas
Beliefs and Superstitions in Russia

Russian Kvass Saved Many People

Русский квас много народу спас” (Russian kvass saved many people) is one of the many expressions to express the feelings Russians have about their national drink.

Квас (kvass), “yeast” or “leaven” in Old East Slavic, это очень древний и традиционный безалкогольный напиток (is a very ancient and traditional non-alcoholic drink) made out of black or regular rye bread. It was first mentioned in летописи (the Old Russian Chronicles) in the year 989, when relating how киевский князь Владимир обратил своих подданных в христианство (Prince Vladimir the Great, celebrating the Christianization of Kievan Russ) offered kvass to all the assembly.

A drink for everybody and for all occasions

With less than 1.2% of alcohol, it is classified as non-alcoholic by Russian standards. Kvass can be домашнего приготовления (home-made), as it is very simple and quick to prepare. But you can also find some заводского изготовления (factory-made) versions which are quite good. Kvass is often flavoured with dry fruits or herbs.

In the past century, people couldn’t live without kvass. They would drink it all day long, before and after meal, during work and to relax after work. Квас был напитком каждого дня (kvass was an everyday drink).

Kvass is enjoyed by children and adults alike, especially in summer time, as it is a very refreshing drink. It is easy to recognise kvass vendors in the streets with their beautiful yellow stations. You can find them not only in Russia, but in all countries of the former USSR, in Easter and Central Europe.

Kvass is used as the main ingredient for a cold soup with chopped vegetables and meat, called окрошка (okroshka), which is just wonderful in summer.

Thank you very much to Elena Vasilievna Bulanova for giving us her own secret recipe for preparing kvass.


  • Вскипятить 5 литров воды
  • насыпать пол килограмма ржаных сухарей
  • добавить 150 грамм сахара и отставить, чтобы остыло до комнатной температуры
  • В это время смешать пакетик дрожжей (20 грамм) с одной столовой ложкой муки, одной столовой ложкой сахара и 3 столовыми ложками воды
  • Когда эта масса увеличится, добавить ее в воду с сухарями и оставить в теплом месте бродить на 3 дня
  • Через 3 дня снять всплывший наверх хлеб
  • через марлю процедить полученный квас
  • осадок не выбрасывать – это следующая закваска (заготовка для следующей порции кваса)
  • Полученный квас разлить по банкам
  • добавить на 1 литр кваса 5 штук изюма, 3 столовые ложки сахара и поставить в холодное место на 2 дня

Приятного аппетита!


  • Boil 5 litres of water
  • Pour inside 500 grams of dry rye bread
  • Add 150 grams of sugar and set aside to cool down at room temperature
  • During this time, mix the sachet of yeast (20 grams) with one tablespoon of flour, one tablespoon of sugar and 3 tablespoons of water
  • When the mixture has double in volume, add it into the mixture of water and bread and leave it in a warm place to ferment for 3 days
  • After 3 days, remove the bread from the surface
  • Filter the resulting brew through a cloth
  • Don’t throw away the sediment, it is the leaven (that you will use to start your next kvass)
  • Pour the kvass you obtain into jars
  • Add 5 raisins and 3 tablespoons of sugar for each litre of kvass and store in a cool place for 2 days

Enjoy your meal!