How to Cook Żurek (Fermented Flour Soup).

Fermented Flour Soup There is no universal Żurek recipe. Each region has its own and still each family can make it in a different way.  Also, some people have a special recipe just for Easter.

My mother shocked OBH by serving him water with flour, a big piece of kielbasa (Polish sausage) and a few cubes of fried onion. He still hasn’t fully recovered from the shock and likes to talk about it from time to time. Well, he grew up on the full feature version of Żurek.

The recipe below gives you this “full feature” soup and, I think, it’s the best. However, you can easily make it vegetarian or paleo just by skipping certain ingredients.

To make Żurek you need:

0-5 to 1 litre of fermented rye flour; see how to get it

a piece of kiełbasa or/and pork belly (preferably smoked)

1 big onion

2 carrots

1 parsley root (if you have exotics like that in your garden or go to a Polish shop, otherwise substitute with a parsnip)

a small piece of celeriac

1 leek

3 medium potatoes

3-4 cloves of garlic

100-150 ml of pouring cream

When it comes to spices, marjoram is rather important. If you intend to skip this ingredient, you better skip making Żurek altogether.

In Poland, we add pimento and a bay leaf when cooking any kind of soup, but I am not sure if I would recognise by the taste that someone forgot to add it, so can risk saying that it is not necessary.

I’ve got some questions from people who are asking me what pimento is, so to make it a bit clearer; it looks like that pimiento and costs less than one Euro in a Polish shop.

The traditional way of making Żurek requires cooking kiełbasa/pork belly in water for at least 20-30 minutes and then adding the rest of ingredients.

Fermented Flour SoupI make it differently. I put all chopped vegetables except the onion into 2 litres of water (and pimento and bay leaf if you have them) and cook slowly. In the meantime, I fry chopped kiełbasa/pork belly and onion in a pan and add them to the water with veg when they are nice and crispy.

Fermented Flour SoupWhen the vegetables are soft, I take my jar/bottle with fermented flour, stir it well and pour into the soup. It must be done very, very slowly and accompanied by intensive stirring as flour tends to lump in the hot water. If you get lumps, don’t panic; they will dissolve when cooking (if not, just fish them out).

The flour needs to be cooked for at least 10 minutes. At this stage add salt, black pepper, a small fist of marjoram and crushed garlic. I’m not able to quantify how much salt should be added, but definitely more than for any other soup. Try adding a teaspoon for a start and taste.

To finish up, add cream and cook for a few more minutes.

Use lemon juice to balance the taste. It should be rather sour.

I love Żurek served with a hard-boiled egg.



6 thoughts on “How to Cook Żurek (Fermented Flour Soup).”

  1. Hi I bought a bottle 500 ml of frubex barszcz, “biaty” . My Mother use to make sour borsch when I was younger. She would use Quaker oatmeal and put it in a clay pot with a piece of rye bread. But the one that I want to make is the same but I wanted to use the mushrooms that I had bought from the Polish Deli could you give me some guidance on how to make it and how much water to add. Thanks Tommy Kabala


    1. Hi Tommy, thanks for the comment! I would use a 500 ml bottle to make around 2-2.5 liters of barszcz, but I like it quite sour. So, if you don’t, just add more water. I am curious what kind of mushrooms you have bought. If they are real Polish dried wild mushrooms, you are really lucky. They make delicious barszcz. Just rinse them on a sieve, soaked them in the small amount of cold water overnight and in the morning carefully transfer them to a bigger pot along with the water you soaked them in. I said carefylly, because chances are there will be some sand on the bottom of the small pot. So, when you have them in a bigger pot, add more water and cook untill they get soft. Fish them out and sautee with onion on oil. Now, very important: use the water you cooked the mashrooms in as a base for the soup. Follow the recipe for Żurek from my post (well, or any other easter european blog ).Of course, add mushrooms and onion to it. This is delicious! Enjoy!


  2. Thank you for this recipe! I just made it and it is very delicious. I lived in Poland briefly back in 2003 and I was a little afraid of the żurek because I did not know what it was made of! But now I keep a sourdough starter and how nice to have another way to cook with it. I also coincidentally had a parsley plant in the garden that was not doing so well, so I dug it up and used the root in the soup; very nice.


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