The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Starter backup

drdudidu's picture

Starter backup

I have to take my starter abroad and wonder what would be the best way - taking it from the fridge for a journey of more than 20 hours, or preparing a dry backup which is easier to carry - but I wondered if you loose anything when you are drying your starter - after all some of the microorganisms for sure die in such way - isn't it?


I'mTheMami's picture

Is, are you flying? That would restrict how you can carry the starter, as most (all?) airlines have restrictions on carry on liquids. 


Am watching this, as I will soon carry a couple starters across an international border. I am just going the dried route to avoid problems. 

dabrownman's picture

through in your luggage. No problems if you firm it up first and tape the lid on.  Starters actually like traveling as much as we do and I think they perform better after landing as a thank you :-) 

drdudidu's picture

I can have them in the checked baggage. The question is - what is better - a "fresh" starter that is out of the fridge for 20 or so hours, or dried one. Does dried starter loose anything at the drying process?

I'mTheMami's picture

Apparently your traveling luck is better than mine. I wont bother counting the number of times my luggage has been misplaced for weeks at a time ;) never pack anything I cant easily replace, and starters fall under that "not easily replaced" category for me . 


Surely you wont have any hangups with luggage! 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

use the site search for traveling starters

placebo's picture

I doubt having the starter out for twenty hours is going to have much effect. It's like skipping a feeding.

I'd try multiple approaches just to play it safe, but putting some fresh starter in your checked baggage is the easiest. And it won't need reviving once you get to your destination, just a regular feeding.

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

I had a computer instructor that said " backup, backup, backup"  sounded like a chicken clucking.  I think the same with starters.  Do a dry before you go.  I dried then put in the freezer.  Don't know how long your going for but a trusted family or friend with good instructions could care for a set while your gone.  Take some in your packed luggage.  With all that something should survive.

proth5's picture

If you have a couple-three days before you need to use the starter, I would highly recommend drying it (and keeping the dried stuff in your carry on).  I have done this succesfully more than once. (For long hauls - say a 20 hour transit time...)

I have also transported starter on shorter flghts by putting a small amount of liquid starter in a small jar (like a baby food jar) wrapping it securely and putting it in my "one quart zip top bag" in my carry on.  The TSA may question you about what it is - but they will have to let you take it through (ask for a supervisor.) This has worked for me for 8-10 hours of transit time.  The starter is pretty hungry when it arrives and I usually pack a container for it and enough flour to feed it a couple times (just in case) - this starter is ready to go right away. Since my starter does not live in the fridge - I just take it when it is peaked  - or whenever I need to catch a plane.

Some have tried the "Make it very dry and take in the carry on route" - this can have you chatting with your friendly TSA officer and they do have the discretion to make you discard it if they feel it is a gel or a paste.

I have an aversion to checked baggage in general - but conditions are not exactly friendly in the cargo hold - I echo the sentiments on "backup."

Have fun!

drdudidu's picture

A dry option, and the Austrian version by mini oven

I am moving for good, so can't leave any starter behind, besides samples for any friend who wants.

thanks everybody!