The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

traveling with starter

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meplus3's picture
meplus3

traveling with starter

I just started baking bread with sourdough, I'm still learning, but it seems to be going well (so far!)

My family is taking a vacation next month to Sun Valley Idaho. my husband wanted to know if I'd be bringing starter with me to bake with. I know I can take a few tablespoons of starter and grow from there when we arrive, but will it be worth it? I've never baked bread at that altitude before (we live at sea level) should I just use yeast?

 thanks!

proth5's picture
proth5

I bake at successfully at a mile high with sourdough.  Others on these pages bake at higher altitudes.

But as a very frequent flyer, I must remind you if you are flying and if your starter is at 100% hydration - our friends at the TSA will consider it a danger.  You must not only take less than 3 oz of it, but it must be in a container that is obviously no larger  than 3 oz and tucked in your 1 quart zip top bag - or your starter will be confiscated at airport security.

Even if you have a firm starter, you may wish to abide by these rules.  If you can smear it - the TSA agent may determine it is a "gel" and it will be gone. You have no ability to dispute the decision.

I've just seen so many precious and innocent things confiscated that I feel duty bound to spread the word.

You might consider drying your starter and reviving it once you get there.

I would never check my starter.

If you are driving (or you already knew this) - never mind...

But other than that - have a great trip and let us know about the high altitude baking!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

after reviving it and strengthening for a few days.  Last evening, I took my thick almost ripe starter, added water till it was thin pancake batter consistancy and poured out onto two baking sheets lined with baking parchment using a pastry brush. 

This morning, looking partially dried and flaky on the edges, it smells ripe.  It won't take long, I figure tomorrow I can break it all up, blenderize it into a powder and zip lock it.  I want to take this with me on the plane.  I put mine into the middle of my checked baggage next to chocolate and wrapped in foamy insulating plastic wrap.  I can tell if the chocolate melts, how warm the suitcase got.  So far, nothing has ever gotten too warm.

When I want to use it, just hydrate, add honey, and feed a few times, building up to what I need.  I will also take a little of it's favorite food until I can get ahold of some.  

Mini O

ejm's picture
ejm

When I flew to the west coast last summer, I put my starter in baggage because I was worried about it being confiscated. I double bagged the container. The starter was fine. (It had multiplied dramatically en route though...)

And yes, it was worth the effort! I made some terrific bread AND handed some of the starter off to my sister-in-law, who continued to make great bread with it after we flew home.

If you'd like, read more about it here: travelling with wild yeast.

-Elizabeth 

meplus3's picture
meplus3

thanks for the ideas. my plan was to put a few Tablespoons in a baby food jar and carry it on the plane with me (in a baggie in my quart size bag, blah, blah, blah) and if they take it, fine. nothing really lost.

my real concern for flying this time will be the bottles of formula I need for my twins, and all the CRAP I need to carry with me for 3 kids. I'll need more luck there, then with the sourdough, probably.

 

thanks!

-Amy

proth5's picture
proth5

Our friends at the TSA have some helpful tips for traveling with children here

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/index.shtm

One thing I did not know (because I travel solo) is that you can ask for private screening if you are traveling with more than one child.  Although this might take more time, it might beat juggling babies and bags and etc etc while trying to take off your shoes and put every little thing in the right bin.  One never knows how this might work from airport to airport and may involve hand wanding, but believe it or not the TSA suggests it and they do know what is going on.

Getting through airport security quickly (so I can bake bread) is my life...

Have a good trip and happy baking!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

refresh it with lots of flour and forget the water, just rub it between your hands with the flour to make crumbs and pack into a zip lock and press all the air out.  Then there is no expanding starter. (Jars can burst from expanding air and fare better if vacuum packed.)  Add water when you get to your destination.   

Mini O