Polish sour rye soup starter – żurek

One of my favourite soups of all time – sour rye soup, żurek. Deliciously tangy from the fermented rye starter. Served with white sausage and hard boiled eggs, it is synonymous with the  Polish table at Easter. I can’t imagine our Easter brunch without it and neither can my family. As always, my Polish heritage and traditions intertwine with my husband’s English roots and create fusion of memories for our children where chocolate eggs sit alongside traditionally dyed eggs. This soup is not just for Easter though – it is equally good poured over mashed potatoes and garnished with lardons as part of easy weekday supper.

I can’t believe it’s April already, where did the last year go? We had so many changes in our lives in the past twelve months and still have few hurdles to get through. I’ve accepted a promotion on the job front and the challenges that brings, and subsequently left my friendships and all that I knew behind and relocated half way up the country. We moved twice in the space of four months and worked hard to create a new home for us all whilst maintaining some order in life, holding onto our responsibilities and trying to have some fun at the same time. It’s been hard going at times, emotionally challenging and heart wrenching being away from each other. But oh so exciting at the same time with new opportunities! With all those changes, my routine and mojo got lost in between boxes that needed ticking to make sure we are on schedule and those that still remain packed. My creativity though seems to have found a new outlet in the form of my Instagram account as I’ve adjusted to new life up here. And slowly and surely I feel like I’m coming back to my old self, to Ania’s kitchen. So what better way to start getting my mojo back and prepare for Easter celebrations than with this sour soup starter amongst other things. Here is the recipe.


  • 120 grams of rye flour
  • 100 grams of oats
  • four cloves of garlic, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 8 whole peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 900 ml boiled and cooled water

Start by preparing a large, clean glass jar. Mix the flour and oats and place in the jar. Pour over 300ml of water and mix it well to ensure there are no lumps. Once combined, add the remaining ingredients and top up with the remaining water. Mix it once more before covering the jar with few layers of clean muslin. The mixture now needs to be mixed once a day and kept somewhere at room temperature but dark for three days before it turns into an active starter.

Aftet three to four days, the starter is ready to be used straight away as the basis for żurek, Polish sour soup. It now needs to be kept in the fridge and can be stored for up to a month.

I look forward to sharing the recipe for żurek later this week once my starter is ready. For now though, have a lovely week ahead x