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  • Polish Mama Cooks

Homemade Sour Rye Soup Starter

Discover the secret behind the best traditional Easter Polish Soup 'Żurek', in English called Sour Rye Soup. Perfect mix of fermentation, time and warmth.

Sour rye soup starter (in Polish called 'Zakwas') it's a mix of rye flour, water and spices. It is a base for a sour rye soup called ‘żur’ (diminutive: 'żurek') or in English simply Sour Rye Soup. Perfect for Easter but I also prepare it when it is cold outside or when the weather is dreadful.

Looks can be deceiving

Even if you think it looks like mood or dirt, remember it's not only appearance that matters. This soup starter is a promise of something great.

The recipe varies depending on a region and even sometimes on the person that prepares it, but the essentials stay the same. Served with eggs and bread (or even in a loaf of bread) it is traditionally served for Easter. The soup is filled with white and polish sausage, bacon, mushrooms and a lot of vegetable. Here I will be preparing 2 cups of Zakwas (500 ml) that will be sufficient for 8- 9 cups (2- 2,5l) of żurek.



Making 5 min

Waiting for it to get ready 5 days


  • 5 tbsp of Rye flour

  • 2 cups (500ml) of Water

  • 2 teeth of Garlic

  • Big jar

  • Clean Cloth

  • Rubber Band (I usually keep those from the asparagus)

  • Time - 5 days


You need time and patience

Wash and dry the jar.

Put the flour in the jar and add the water. Peel and crash with a side of you knife the garlic, add it to the mixture of water and flour. Mix it all. Cover the top of the jar with a cloth and grab it with the rubber band. That protect anything from getting into the jar.

Finally, put it in some safe and warm place, I keep it on top of my fridge. Take a peak inside of it everyday and give it a stir.

After 5 days use it to prepare żurek.

What can I do with the soup starter?

To see you where you journey will take you after 5 days of patience, see my recipe for żurek. SMACZNEGO!


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