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Fermented Oatmeal Soup from Poland - Recipe?

18 Jan 2009 #31
Me too. It is in Polish and I can't get it to translate over to English. Looks like a whole tableful of wonderful Christmas Eve dishes that are probably in Polish.

Help anyone? Maybe someone can write to the author of the website to help us out.
Piorun - | 658
19 Jan 2009 #32
Indeed the English button is not working. So here’s the translation.


1 tablespoon of Kwas chlebowy, (Kvass, or Bread Drink in English, you will be able to find it in the ethnic section, most likely as Kvass in Russian foods section)

4 tablespoons of wheat flour
½ kg (1.1 pounds) of oatmeal
3 cloves of garlic (you can add more if you like it)
2 bay leaves
1 l (4.2 cups) of water
Salt and pepper

To make the Starter:
Mix together 1 tablespoon of Kvass with 2 tablespoons of wheat flour in 4 cups of lukewarm water. Slowly add oatmeal while stirring and 2 more tablespoons of wheat flour.When it's all mixed together thoroughly, cover with cheese cloth and set aside for two days. After two days have passed add some cold water, stir and strain it through fine sieve.

Boil some water with bay leaves and minced garlic. When the water have come to a boiling point lower the heat and slowly add starter constantly stirring and cook it for a while over a low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with boiled potatoes, wild mushrooms however you like it.
OP Rakky 9 | 217
25 Jan 2009 #33
Thanks, Piorun,
I have a few questions on this:

Kvass, or Bread Drink in English

What is this? Is it the equivalent of yeast?

After two days have passed add some cold water, stir and strain it through fine sieve.

When you strain it, do you save the water you've strained? Do you save the solids? Is this the "starter" you later refer to?

I seem to recall my father's description of this soup containing potatoes - does anyone have anything to say about that?
Thanks again!
Piorun - | 658
25 Jan 2009 #34
When you strain it, do you save the water you've strained? Do you save the solids? Is this the "starter" you later refer to?

You save the liquid portion and yes it’s called a starter. Just remember when adding it to boiling water make sure you are constantly stirring it and adding it slowly otherwise you will end up with lumps instead of nice consistency.

Is it the equivalent of yeast?

No it’s not. Apart from its use as a beverage, kwas is often used as a base or additive for soups and stews in East European cuisine especially in Russian and Ukrainian dishes. Although non-alcoholic It contains anywhere from 0.7% - 2.2% of alcohol. This drink is very popular in the Eastern Europe, in countries like Russia, Ukrainian, Belarus, Lithuania. Also available in eastern part of Poland. Go to any local ethnic deli like Russian, Ukrainian and ask for: Russian, Belarusian, Serbian and Ukrainian: “квас” (kvas) in Polish it’s “kwas chlebowy” (lit. "bread leaven"), “kwas” on its own means acid. In Lithuanian “gira” and Estonian “kali”. I’m sure they will be more than happy to assist you and recommend the product. Lithuanian and Ukrainian brands are good but I’m sure the other ones are just as good.

Here’s a little tip on what to look for.

Kwas chlebowy is made by the natural fermentation of bread made from whole grain bread like wheat, rye and flavored with fruit, berries, raisins. Homemade “kwas chlebowy” most often uses dark or rye bread, dried and baked into croutons or fried with an addition of sugar, fruit and with yeast culture. Unlike mass-produced varieties, the home made one has no preservatives and spoils within relatively short period of time usually up to a week or so. Commercial one the cheap brands are made just like any other soft drink product, using sugar, carbonated water, malt extract, and flavoring. Better brands are those made by beer rather than soft drink manufacturers, usually they use a variation of the traditional process to brew their products. For cooking purpose look for a product made by beer manufacturer with as little flavoring ingredients added in as possible. Kwas chlebowy is high in vitamin B content and commonly served unfiltered, with the yeast still in it.

If you’re really hard pressed and there’s nothing available where you live you can make your own here’s a basic recipe for you.

To make your own home made Kwas Chlebowy

25 dag of whole grain bread (preferably dark variety)
2.5 L of water
20 dag of sugar
1 dag of yeast (the one used in wine and beer making process not the one for baking so be careful here) Cooper's Ale Yeast is fine.

Raisins, lemon peels (optional if you are making drink version for extra flavor)

Crumble the bread, dry it in the oven till it's slightly toasted and dry. When the bread is dried out lay it at the bottom of a pot and pour boiling water over it, place it aside for 24h. After 24 hours has passed strain it through a fine sieve (keeping the liquid portion) add sugar, and yeast that had been dissolved in small amount of warm water, blend it thoroughly and set it aside in a worm environment. When reaction takes place carefully remove the froth. When the reaction finally subsides remove the remnants of the froth and it’s ready for bottling. For cooking purpose use it as it is with the setlement on the bottom of the container.

If you decide to bottle some you can reuse the bottles from Grolsch for this purpose, (the ones with the cork attached to them not the bottle cap type). If you’re making it to be consumed as a drink place the lemon peel and couple of raisins in the bottle to give it extra flavor, before pouring in the liquid. Close the bottles tightly and keep it in a warm environment for one more day. Then store it in a dark cool place for later consumption. If properly bottled and stored in a suitable environment it will keep for approximately 4 weeks, if not the bottles can explode. If you decide to experiment with making your own kwas keep it away from other food products that could be contaminated with glass just in case the accidents happen. Anything that’s stored longer than 5 days should be checked if it’s not spoiled before consumption. If you decide to drink it, watch out it’s an acquired taste but according to some folks it’s good for stomach ailments and used as a home medicine for this purpose.

Recent scientific studies have proven that people who regularly consume kwas chlebowy are 3 time less likely to catch a flu. It’s very beneficial for proper digestion and speeds up the metabolism. It contains enzymes which regulate the bacterial flora in human digestive system.

OP Rakky 9 | 217
25 Jan 2009 #35
Wow - this is interesting.

You save the liquid portion and yes it’s called a starter.

What happens to the oatmeal, and whatever else is left in the sieve?

25 dag

Sorry to be so dense, but I'm American - what can I say? What's a "dag?' What might that translate to in our outdated system here?

Piorun - | 658
26 Jan 2009 #36
What happens to the oatmeal, and whatever else is left in the sieve?

Throw it out you already got the goodies out into the liquid.

What's a "dag?' What might that translate to in our outdated system here?

25 dag of whole grain bread
Dag – decagram, 25 decagram = 250 grams = 0.551 lb or 8.81 oz
2.5 l of water
l - liter, 2.5l = 0.659 Gallons = 2.639 Quarts = 10.556 Cups
20 dag of sugar
20 dag = 200 grams = 0.440 lb or 7.05 oz
1 dag of yeast
1 dag = 10 grams = 0.022 lb or 0.35 oz
20 Dec 2009 #37
This is definitely a Christmas eve dish, as up until Alzheimer's has afflicted my grandmother, we had it every year. Her recipe is much simpler, but slightly confusing as she wrote it for herself!!

1 small container old fashion oatmeal
1 small fresh yeast
2 quarts of luke warm water

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of luke warm water. Mix oats with 2 quarts of water add yeast. Put in small bowl and place in warm place until it smells sour (2-3 days). Strain mixture, cook in double boiler until thick. Add more water if necessary. Add salt, white pepper and caraway seed if you like the flavor.

We are making the recipe now, but did not have luck with the yeast we used!!

PS- when this dish was eaten on Christmas eve (in our Ukrainian-Russian Orthodox house) it was used as the base of the meal. First the soup was poured in the dish and then all the other non-dairy, non-meat items were placed in it. These items were served family style and guests chose from pierogi (potato or sauerkraut (or cabbage) and mushroom), sauteed mushrooms, peas, bulbulkie (spelling is probably wrong, but it was a buttered finger shaped noodle), butter beans, and potatoes. Side dish's included prunes with oranges and a Russian Christmas Bread. The bread was served first with the oldest male handing the portion- then salt and a clove of garlic was wrapped in the bread and eaten for good luck.
OP Rakky 9 | 217
20 Dec 2009 #38
our Ukrainian-Russian Orthodox house

Are you sure you're Ukrainian? Is it possible that you are descended from Carpatho-Rusyns who identify themselves as "Ukrainian" because it's simpler than explaining what Rusyns are? I thought I was Ukrainian until I discovered the truth 6 years ago.

Thanks for the recipe and the sharing of your memories around this soup. Sorry about your baba.
29 Dec 2009 #39
I just happened to see all the posts on this soup. Our family is Polish and I have been eating our Christmas Eve Mushroom Soup for 50 years. Very simply, we break up a loaf of rye bread with caraway seeds, sprinkle about a cup or two of oatmeal (not instant), a tablespoon or two of salt in a non-reactive bowl, cover with water. Lay a piece of cheesecloth, or a dish towel over. Once water is absorbed, add a bit more to keep moist. Every few days, scrape off any bits of mold, and stir. Once the fermenting is done (about 10 days?) strain everything through a cheesecloth. We get good dried, Polish mushrooms and soak, soak, soak and rinse, rinse, rinse (lots of sand). Always keep the liquid and add to the soup. Once mushrooms are thoroughly cleaned, add as well. Then season to taste with salt, pepper, and ALWAYS served over diced, boiled potatoes.
OP Rakky 9 | 217
30 Dec 2009 #40
Every few days, scrape off any bits of mold

That's just so great... I love these recipes. Thanks for contributing to this thread. Szczeslyoho nowoho roku!
cemeterywoman - | 1
8 Jan 2010 #41

I am senor citizen, 2nd generation Russian, not Polish. was doing a search for Keselitza and ended up here. My mother used to make this, but we thought of it as a cereal not a soup. It is delicious!! I am copying this from my moher's hand written recipe card....she died at almost 90 in 199almost 90.


2C old fashioned oatmeal
3 heaping T flour
1 pkgdry yeast
4C lukewarm water (whatever temp the yeast specifies)
4 slices rye bread

Put all ingredients together and let stand overnight in bowl withclean dishtowel over it. Next day put through a strainer or Foley mill. Add 2C warm wter and boil VERY slowly over low heat 15 minutes, stirring continuously. It sticks very easily. add 1 t salt and 1 clove crushed garlic. Remove from hea. Add 3 bays leaves. Reheat when ready to serve.

My notes make sure the bowl you use is ceramic or glass, NOT metal. I usually leave out the salt but then I am a low salt freak. And I love garlic so sometimes I add extra, justifying this since garlic cloves vary so widely in size.

Please let me know how this turns out and if you and your father like it. Also feelfree to write if you have any questions.

Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
8 Jan 2010 #42
KISIELICA AND KISIA£KA are eastern versions of ŻUR
1 Mar 2010 #43
It's called flummery or 'kaerakile' or 'kaerakiisla', and I'm making some right now. Don't let the naysayers get you down. I found a wonderful step by step recipe for you at this girl's blog. The link is entitled "The Story of a Fermented Oat Flummery."

Here is the link:
You can also find the traditional recipe if you google, "Llymru" because it is also a traditional Welsh dish.

Best to you!
krysia 23 | 3,058
1 Mar 2010 #44
The person who posted this almost 2 years ago died from eating moldy, fermented oatmeal soup.
Good luck to you.
5 Apr 2010 #45
Fermented Oatmeal Soup is called Borscht. My grandmother was Polish and we had it all the time when I was a child. Fortunately for me, I have her recipe and make it on Holidays.

You take equal amounts of water and Oatmeal (Quaker Old Fashion) and put it in a bean pot. Put the heal of rye bread (stale) on top. Cover with cheese cloth. Let it stand for

about 3 days. You'll notice the bread is starting to get mold on it. Remove the bread when it does. Add a little water if it gets a little dry. Let it stand for about 5 days.

It will start to smell pretty ripe. After the five days is up strain through either cheese cloth
or strainer. This is your base for your soup. Next cook a kielbasa. Save the water. Take the kielbasa water and bring it to a boil. Start adding your base and keep stirring. It will thicken. Add more water if it's too thick. The kielbasa water gives it flavor. Thats all there is to it. It's a simple recipe. Pour into a bowl and add some hard boiled eggs, pieces of rye bread and chunks of Kielbasa. You can also add mushrooms and beets. It's a hardy meal and sticks with you. Enjoy!

You should try it. Did you know that when you eat oatmeal it ferments inside you anyway.
The fermentation process is a natural process. Your not eating mold. You boil it before you eat it anyway.
jonni 16 | 2,485
5 Apr 2010 #46
Fermented Oatmeal Soup is called Borscht

Barszcz. It's usually a beetroot soup, but there is a white barszcz (and a rarer green one).The recipe you gave (a good one) is for Żurek.
9 Apr 2010 #47
Hi ... I just finished eating the last of it for lunch!

I'm Polish, naturally, and it's our traditional after Lent/Easter meal.
Borscht. We always had it after church.

You have to allow at least one week before you want it,
depending on your climate. If in a humid climate, it could turn
moldy, so check daily.

I put about 2 cups of regular (not instant) oatmeal, with
water to cover, in a sort of crockery/china type bowl.

Cover with a towel and let set in a corner of the kitchen

I check it every couple of days to see if it needs a bit
more water. It usually takes about 7 days to ferment.
My Mom used to put a piece of rye bread on top .. as the
yeast helps the process.

When ready, spray a pot with Pam, etc. and add about 2-3
cups of water to the pot. Put the pot on medium low heat.

Next, take some of the mushy mixture and glop about a cup's
full into a medium sized strainer with a handle.

Take a wooden spoon and start grinding and straining the
fermented oats into the pot. You'll see the whitish thicker
mixture dropping from the strainer into the pot of water.

As you push it through, pour some water into the mixture in
the strainer to continue getting all the essence possible out.

As your oatmeal gets used and dried out and expended, plop that
mixture into a plastic bag or old newspaper to toss away when you're
all finished, and pour in another batch of the oatmeal and continue
massaging it into the strainer.. getting the essence into the pot.

Once you've got all the strained oatmeal in the pot you want, KEEP
STIRRING THE POT, preferably with a wooden spoon.

You'll see it thickening more and more, and will add more water
so that your final result is a smoothe substance, like thickened
cream or a creamy soup.

Use just as much of the fermented oatmeal to make what you
want to consume at that meal, as you can refrigerate the
rest for another meal.

It should have a tinge of fermented sourness, but if the fermenting
process hasn't done enough, just add teaspoon or so of white vinegar
to taste, depending on how big a pot you've made.

On the side, I have my bowl filled with

cooked kielbasa slices
a couple of cut up hard boiled eggs
cut up cooked ham
and either bits of fried salt pork
or you can cheat like I do with the real bacon
bits from the store.

The feast is complete when you pour the hot borscht over the bowl
of goodies described above, and add a healthy dollop of beet
horseradish and stir in.

Your initial starter of a couple of cups of oatmeal will make A LOT
of borscht, with the additional water you will have to add.

It's definitely an acquired taste; but for me ...YUMM! That's when it
all comes together and you get the point. You wouldn't want to consume
the creamy mixture alone.

The leftover fermented oatmeal keeps in the fridge in a container
for quite awhile, which is why I was able to enjoy this last treat for
Easter today.

Hope this helps.
Iamlemko - | 2
27 Jul 2010 #48
Hi Rakky,
I am £emko myself (my fathers family was born in the region around Krynica South Poland before they were deported to Legnica in 1947) and I just came back from Ruthenia (we visited the £emko Watra in Zdynia) and ate the original £emko-Kyselica (thats the right spelling).

I still have family in South of Poland, where the £emkos lived until 1947. As I am also researching for years about my roots (I live in Germany now) I would love to contact true £emkos because of course there is still much to learn. My grand-aunt is still alive and knows a lot of original £emko recipes. So do not hesitate to contact me for more questions.

By the way: "Rusyn" is the name the Polish people and the Austrians gave us. We ourself call us £emko (pronounce: "Uemko")!!!!!!

23 Oct 2010 #49
My grandparents were Lemko-Ukrainians from Galicia; keseitsa was always served as the first course of Christmas Eve dinner. As far as I remember, it was not served at any other time; this may be due to the fact that it as a staple for the poor in the "old country." The recipe below is from "Favorite Recipes" a cookbook compiled by the Ladies Aid of the Three Saints Church in Ansonia, Connecticut.

1/2 box old-fashion Quaker Oats (or any oat of that sort)
1+1/2 cakes of yeast (or equivalent od dry yeast)
1 quart lukewarm water
2 Tbsp. flour
salt (to taste)
garlic (to taste - my family used a good deal, tasting and adding very thin slices as the soup cooked)
1 tsp. caraway seeds (optional) - my family did not add caraway

Place oats in a large bowl - Add flour - Crumble in yeast - Add water - Stir well - Cover and place in a warm spot to ferment for 24 hours - Add, gradually, 3 quarts lukewarm water to bowl - Stir well - Strain though sieve into a large pot - Discard oats - Cook slowly, stirring frequently - Add sliced garlic as soup cooks - If too thin, add flour - If too thick, add water- Soup is done when it coats a spoon - Serve with boiled potatoes.

This soup is not difficult to make but it can be ruined by cooking at too high a heat because it will burn. This is pure starch and will stick to the bottom and burn if not stirred frequently.
30 Nov 2010 #50
I've been looking for my Babcia's recipe for what she called barszcz but can't find it; should have paid more attention when she made it! I know she fermented oatmeal with a slice of rye bread for a few days, then strained it and cooked till thick, maybe stirring in some browned salt pork -- we ate it for Easter dinner with hard-cooked eggs and kielbasa sliced into it.
Ashleys mind 3 | 452
30 Nov 2010 #51
Wow! 2 pages dedicated to oatmeal soup. Quaint...
9 Jan 2011 #52
Has anyone had any experience of just leaving the oatmeal to ferment with the natural yeasts in the air? A longer prcess I guess, but this may work for those with bakers yeat intolerance!
22 Dec 2011 #53
Hi I don't know if I am too late to give you the recipe for the "keselitsa" I am makeing from my mother in law recipe for the first time this yr... I just started the first day of the process. This is how she told me to make it...

(Day one of 4)
1 Cake yeast (large)... I found this in the refrigerator section of the dairy case ... it is in a rapper like cream cheese only smaller
2 TB Flower

Cover with look warm water till it is thin-ish. Let stand over night... do not refrigerate.

(Day 2,3, and 4 of 4)

1 LB old fashion Oat meal

Add Oat meal and cover with more warm water to cover... let stand 3 days... mix once every day.

(Day 4)

Cook as directed on package .... all separate ... dried peas... lima beans... chopped up mushrooms and onions stir fried in butter. You will put all thee in separate bowls all this will be but on the table and every one can toss what they they want in their soup.

To finish "keselitsa"
Put the oat meal mixture in a sieve ....over a large pot... and pour luke warm water over the oats into the pot until water starts to look clear. The oats get tossed and the water that was poured over the oats will be your soup...

Now add salt to tast and 3 cloves garlic (crushed) Bring to boil over med to low heat and stir constantly for one hour ... do not let catch on bottom or sides. When it is about as thick as muchroon soup it is done.

Wish me luck... and I wish anyone that attempts to may it the best of luck as will...

Merry Christmas to all!
8 Dec 2013 #54
thanks for the recipe. had a general idea of how to make it. my mother added rye bread to the yeast/oat mixture during the fermenting process. going to try yours.
15 Nov 2014 #55
I've read all the recipes, and some of them are a little like the soup I was taught to make by my Polish mother-in-law. Her was her version she was taught by her Polish mother. And yes this is always served on Christmas Eve as the first thing to eat.

In gallon glass jug you place....
1 small box oatmeal ( not instant)

1small cake yeast

Cover with warm water.

Put cheese cloth over opening of jar and let stand for 5 days stirring well once a day.

When time is up, strain through cheese cloth squeezing out liquid into bowl . Throw out all oats.

Have a large pot of water cooking...( size you would cook potatoes in. ) bring to boil. Put fresh garlic in to your taste.

In another bowl put 1 pint of sour cream in it, and three eggs adding one egg at a time and thoroughly blending each egg.

Take your broth from the oats , and a little at a time add it to the boiling water. What I do is I take a couple ladles of the hot water and add it to the oat brought as to warm it up then add is back slowly to the boiling water.

Now take some of the white soup you have and ladel it into the sour cream mixture to warm it a little, then add the sour cream mixture little at a time to the oat soup.

I cook dried mushrooms in a pan until soft then add just the mushroom to the soup.

This is quite different then the other recipes, but I think she used the sour cream to sour the soup so not to use the bread.

When she served this soup, she always served it with Rye Bread, and we'd break the bread into the soup.
Her family was directly from Poland and this is their recipe. It is delicious , and I am not Polish.but I make it every year. Good luck making the soup and enjoy.
30 Dec 2014 #56
Wow, It is almost like you are a part of our family. This has been Christmas Eve dinner since I was very young. My grandparents are Russian and came from Austria-Hungary. Lots of Russian, Ukranian and Polish people in that area.
19 Feb 2015 #57
Response to User PGO - Yes your recipe is how my Baba made the soup. and yes it was only served on Christmas eve. Unfortunately as a small child (50 some odd years ago) when first introduced to the soup, my little nose thought it was rancid and not tastefully appealing. I have been looking for the recipe to show my son who has an interest in cooking some of the dishes my ancestors cooked. Thanks for the recipe. maybe my adult nose and taste buds might appreciate this dish now then before.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446
7 Mar 2015 #58
I often have żurek for breakfast the Old Polish way. First I fill 2 litre jars just under half full with plain rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking because those are chemically treated!), I add a couple slices of stale rye bread (containing at least 50% rye flour -- Dawny from Oskroba is good!), a sliced bud of garlic in each jar and top up with lukewarm pre-boiled water. Keep it near the radiator about 5 days until a pleasantly tart aroma is sensed, then strain it through a colander and it makes about 1 liter of żur. To make the soup I use 1 part żur and 1 part water, some kiełbasa 5-10 dkg for a litre of soup) and cook it 15-20 minutes after it boils covered on low. Season with salt, pepper and marjoram.Then serve it over hard-cooked eggs and diced twaróg (pot cheese). A dollop of sour cream may be added.
13 Feb 2018 #59
I ferment oatmeal using rolled oats (either old fashioned or thickcut), mixing with an equal amount of purified water, or a bit more is ok, and cover the container (glass) with a cloth. Stir it once per day. After two days you should smell a yeasty odor eminating from it. This can be used as a base for any soup I make, including the soup that is the topic of discussion in this thread. I don't use any yeast, nor rye bread, thus not limiting me to the availability of those ingredieints. A very simple process with the same results as the more complex methods that were proposed here. I take a portion of this ferment, while leaving about 1/4 of it behind to serve as a starter for the next batch, albeit a starter is not required other than to hasten the process.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,322
13 Feb 2018 #60
diced twaróg (pot cheese).

It's a pity Polly's not posting anymore here, I'd love to ask him about this because it sounds frankly disgusting.

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