If you want a warming soup with a distinctive taste, cook traditional sour rye soup with natural sourdough. This is a nutritious soup ideal for those cold days.

Żurek or white borscht

Soups are dishes that can be easily changed by adding only one ingredient to them. Due to the fact that in different regions of Poland you can meet the same soup in very different varieties, it is difficult to clearly define a specific composition and recipe. In spite of this, in the majority, we do not have problems with distinguishing soups from each other. However, żurek and white borscht are different. These soups are very similar to each other, and the fact that they can appear in different configurations only makes it difficult to distinguish them.

Literature does not clearly define the differences between these two soups, which often leads to some disputes. Most of the opinions passed down from generation to generation, however, suggest a difference that can be the basis for distinguishing these two dishes. It’s about sourdough on which the soup is made. According to the majority of opinions and recipes, sour rye soup is made with rye sourdough, while white borscht is made with wheat sourdough. This has a significant impact on the later flavour of the soup, which is manifested by the more seasoned and stronger taste of the zurek and the more delicate taste of white borscht.

Żurek or żur (Sour rye soup)

Now let us look at żurek and żur. It turns out that these names are not synonyms. Żur is a thick, heavy soup. Żurek tastes almost identical, but it is as if it is lighter, more watery. Some people add boiled potatoes to the soup (like we do here). They are not added to the żurek. If anything, it serves on a separate plate. It is usually served with bread or bread rolls or even in the bread itself (then it serves as well as a plate).

Below we present you a quick recipe for this filling soup. Enjoy!

Sour rye soup (żur)
Sour rye soup (żur)

Ingredients for sour rye soup:

  • sourdough for sour rye soup (500ml)
  • 400g of potatoes
  • 200g sausage (preferably white)
  • 200g of bacon
  • onion
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • a handful of marjoram
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • boiled water (enough to cover the potatoes and optionally some for diluting the soup)


  1. Cut the bacon into cubes and in the large pot fry it (don’t use any oil the fat from bacon should be enough to fry it).
  2. In the meantime peel the potatoes and cut into cubes. Put them in the large pot with the bacon and fry it for about a minute.
  3. Then pour the water so that it only covers the potatoes and cook until tender.
  4. At this time, cut the onion and sausage into small cubes and fry in a pan with butter (the onion should glisten and the sausage should nicely fry). This should take you 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add sourdough to soft potatoes, add sausage and onion, pour a generous amount of marjoram and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  6. Time to try the soup. If it is too sour, dilute with boiling water. Season with salt and pepper.

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