Zurek (sour rye soup) is a soup that here in Poland is associated with the autumn and winter time (at least for us here at CRAVEmonkey). It is a substantive, heavy and sour soup. We hope, however, that this description did not scare you away if you have not tried it yet – because it is a wonderful dish.

Yes, a dish! It is one of the few soups that can fill a hungry wanderer (this is the most-bought soup in mountain hostels). But we are starting the subject from the wrong angle. This post is not about a żurek, or rather not directly… Because before we begin to prepare this soup we must have sourdough.

However before we go straight into the recipe for sourdough for sour rye soup(zurek), have you ever wondered what is the difference between white borscht and zurek? Is this just the same dish under a different name, or two completely different soups? How to distinguish between white borscht and zurek? We will answer these questions soon, but in order to delve into this topic, we must start with the sourdough…

Sourdough for sour rye soup (zurek) by CRAVEmonkey
Sourdough for sour rye soup (zurek) by CRAVEmonkey


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.


It is not difficult to create sourdough, but it is not as easy as it might seem. The sourdough should be sour but not too sour. This acidity balance is the most difficult to achieve. But once you reach perfection, you will never buy sourdough in the shop. Because there is nothing better than homemade sourdough!

Below you will find a recipe for classic sourdough on rye soup (from rye flour). So let’s go to work!

Ingredients for sourdough for sour rye soup:

  • 1 glass of wholemeal rye flour (type 2000)
  • 3 glasses of lukewarm boiled water (700ml)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 5 grains of black pepper
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 3 seeds of allspice
  • bread crust from 1 slice of wholemeal bread


  1. To prepare sourdough, pour the flour into a tall glass or glassware dish, pour half of the lukewarm water over it, mix.
  2. Add the rest of the water, garlic, bay leaf, allspice, pepper and bread crust, mix again.
  3. Put in a warm place for 3 days, remember to mix the contents of the dish every day.

Send to us photos of your creation and tag us on social media @cravemonkeypl (TwitterInstagramFacebook).