How to cook borsch in a loaf of Borodinsky bread (RECIPE)

This Russian soup dish is so delicious that you’ll literally eat your bowl.

This Russian soup dish is so delicious that you’ll literally eat your bowl.

Yulia Mulino
You’ll get a delightful and delicious surprise when you combine one of the most popular Slavic soups with the popular rye bread known as “Borodinsky”.

If we go deep into culinary traditions and look for the roots of combining soup and a loaf of bread in Russia, we are more likely to find mentions of potluck with bread. Soups and bread were always present on the Russian table. The question is: What did it actually look like? More often than not, it was a large communal bowl of hot soup. Bread was either served separately or crumbled into the soup. This made the meal more filling and was convenient for all members of the family, both elders and children. 

Nowadays, bread is served in the form of sliced assortment, croutons, or as a container for the soup itself. Many Russian restaurants use this technique of styling the dish in order to make it more appealing. The combination of borsch and a loaf of Borodinsky rye bread is now a classic. They are perfect in terms of the combination of flavors and color. The slightly spicy rye loaf with coriander and anise seeds enhances the borsch, making it more flavorful. 

You can also use store-bought bread if you want to replicate this at home. In my experience, the loaf should not be too fresh; this condition is not difficult to find when you live outside of Russia. In my case, living in the Netherlands, I found a loaf of Borodinsky bread with a long shelf-life in a local Russian shop. It was perfect: dense and compact, suitable for an individual serving.

An important prerequisite when you want to serve borsch in a loaf of bread is to bake the base in the oven before serving. I left the walls a little over one centimeter thick so they’d be able to hold the liquid longer. Before pouring the borsch into the bread loaf, I rubbed it with a clove of garlic. By the way, the slices that remain from the core can be toasted in the oven and served as croutons with another dish. Finally, one last point, this borsch must be eaten quickly! But I'm sure it won't be a problem.

To make this soup, I’d like to share our family recipe for borsch with meat broth. Today, I decided to add smoked pork ribs to the beef to make for a richer taste.

Ingredients for a 3-liter pot:

  • Beef shank - 350 g
  • Pork ribs (smoked) - 350-400 g
  • Beetroot (large) - 1 pc
  • Cabbage - 150 g
  • Potatoes (large) - 2 pcs.
  • Carrot - 1 pc
  • Celery root - 50 g
  • Parsnip root - 50 g
  • Green peppers - 1 pc
  • Tomato paste - 2 tablespoons
  • Sugar - 1 tablespoon
  • Onion - 1 pc
  • Garlic - 3 cloves
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Black pepper
  • Laurel leaf
  • Coriander seeds
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Parsley
  • Rye bread (Borodinsky) - 350 g (one loaf)


1. Put the beef in cold water and let simmer for 2.5 hours. Once boiling, gently skim off the foam from the stock.

2. Chop the onion finely, grate the carrots, celery and parsnips and fry in oil until soft, stirring occasionally.

3. Place the carrot mixture in a bowl. This will come in handy at the end.

4. Grate the beetroot and stew in the same pan as the carrots, adding the tomato paste, lemon juice and sugar. The lemon juice is added not only for flavor, but also to keep the color of the beetroot richer.

5. After 2.5 hours of simmering the broth, the meat should be softer. At this point, add the pork ribs, salt to taste, pepper, coriander and bay leaf. Let the broth simmer for another hour.

6. After an hour, remove the meat from the stock. Add the finely shredded cabbage and potatoes.

7. At this point you can prepare the bread. Cut off the top, and carefully remove the middle, leaving a 1-cm edge. Place the bread in the oven and bake it at 130 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes.

8. About 10 minutes after adding the cabbage, put the carrots and beetroot mixtures into the soup pot.

9. Slice the peppers into julienne strips and add to the soup.

10. When potatoes are ready, adjust the soup with salt, squeeze 2 cloves of garlic in it, close the lid and leave the soup to infuse for about 30 minutes.

11. Rub the base of the bread with the garlic. 

12. Pour the soup into the bread and put the meat on top. One loaf is one portion. Serve borsch at once with the fatty sour cream, fresh parsley and lard sandwiches. Enjoy!

READ MORE: How to cook legendary Borodinsky bread at home 

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