The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Air Travel (short flights) with SD starter and kefir grains

clazar123's picture

Air Travel (short flights) with SD starter and kefir grains

Being an avid kefir drinker and sourdough baker, I couldn't imagine going a week without when we went on a much needed vacation! So my husband thought I was crazy but I did manage to vacation with both!

I air-travelled in the US where we have security checks that involve limiting any one liquid amount you are carrying onto a plane to 3 fluid ounces and all the liquids must fit "comfortably" in a closed 1 quart ziploc/plastic bag.We only did carry-on luggage. That includes everything-shampoo,lotions,deoderant,meds,etc. No problem!


Easy! PMcCools method worked beautifully! I fed my starter the week before travel every day so it was in a really active state. Then see this:

I took about a tablespoon of starter and rubbed it into flour until it was totally dry and then put a few tablespoons of the dry starter into a ziploc. Not even a liquid so it went into my regular carryon luggage with my paperbacks and other toiletries. When I arrive, I mix it with water and flour and Voila-active starter!


This was a little more challenging. The kefir grain I brought with was about the size of a grape. It would have to go in my bag of liquids. I needed all the space in my liquids bag so I had to minimize the size of the container for kefir travel.I bought a small (1/2 ounce)empty, screw-top cosmetic container, put the kefir grain in it with some milk. These containers don't seal that well so I suggest you bag the container into another small plastic ziploc bag.Then I put the bagged cosmetic container into the 1 quart ziploc with my other liquids. If asked, it is a beauty treatment. (Well, it is!).This is only the temporary home for the little grain. I always bring an empty halfliter water bottle with me through the security checkpoint so I can fill it up once I am inside the secure area and have water on the flight.This time, I brought 2 bottles -the halfliter water bottle and a smaller one with a little wider mouth (so my "grape" would fit thru).Once through and in the secure area, I filled my water bottle as usual and then bought a cup of coffee at one of the food kiosks inside the secure area. There I put my kefir grain in the wider-mouthed bottle and filled it with a few ounces of milk from the coffee station and tucked it back in my bag for the flight.Kefir in motion! At my destination, I just treat it as usual and enjoyed kefir all week! Return trip was the same.

Of course, if you have the space,the kefir grain would survive quite nicely in a 3 ounce container of milk for a day or so. Just tuck it in the "liquids" bag and be done but the container must clearly appear to be under 3 ounces or it will be questioned. I try to avoid any questions by those folks.

Thanks to PMcCool for his great experiment on storing and traveling with sourdough starter! I've used it several times quite successfully!

macrobles's picture

Thanks a lot for these tips! I hope my kefir makes it through the 18 hours from Barcelona to Uruguay :)

clazar123's picture

This has become a standard way to travel over the last 4 years. I have never had a problem.

Happy travels!