The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Importing Sourdough Starter?

WMichaud81's picture

Importing Sourdough Starter?

Hey All,

I've been lurking around here for quite some time and it's an awesome site.  Thanks for all the incredible info.

I have an interesting question:

I live in Japan and have managed to cultivate a sourdough culture in the heart of a city.  I am moving back to the States in about 2 months and would love to keep my Japanese sourdough, for the novelty more than anything else.

Now my question:  Am I going to have trouble bringing my sourdough starter on the plane?  I would probably just store it in my suitcase.  I think to make sure it's strong and ready for the trip, I would refresh the starter before leaving and check on it upon arriving and see if it needs another refreshing.

What do you all think?  Thanks again and happy baking!!

Edit:  Also, would I get any trouble from customs on an imported product?  Or is it one of those "best not to mention it" things?


gmagmabaking2's picture

I would paint it onto parchment paper.... dry it out and then fold it up and wrap it tight and put it in a ziplock bag... and then rehydrate it when I get moved.


plevee's picture

For moving from the West Coast of America to the UK I put 1/2 cup of just fed starter in a lightly greased plastic bag, squeezed out the air and tied the bag at the top so it would have plenty of room to expand. I put this into a 2nd plastic bag, just in case and put the whole thing in my checked in luggage. It was ready to use on arrival. I didn't declare it!  Patsy

RobynNZ's picture

And here's Paul's follow-up post, outlining how he got on when he got home:

Mexrick's picture

The best way to preserve a sourdough starter is to take about 1/2 - 3/4 C. of freshly renewed starter and spread it on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Turn the light on in your oven and put the baking sheet inside with the door closed. Let it sit overnight or longer until completely dry.  Crumble the dry starter and, if desired, grind it in a clean spice grinder or roll it with a rolling pin. Store the starter in a zip-lock bag for up to 3-5 years in a freezer or take it with you (in the bag) on the airplane. I do this with all my starters just in case one "dies" accidentally.


WMichaud81's picture

Fantastic info!

Thanks everyone!