The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Shipping Sourdough Starter

JPenton's picture

Shipping Sourdough Starter

I would like to ship my sourdough starter to my father, I live in NY and he is in Alabama. We both got the same starter for Christmas from King Arthur flour and his did take like mine did. I now have two starter "working" with the intentions of giving him one. 

Does anybody have advice or tips on what to do or go about this? 

Do I need to bulk up the starter before shipping or make it sturdier somehow?

Please advice. 


Doc.Dough's picture

JP - I have had the best luck with just adding flour to a mature starter until it won't take any more (maybe  a ratio of 1:0:5).

Then roll it out into a sheet about 1/8" thick, wrap it well in plastic then in an outer sleeve of parchment (folded and taped shut), and mail it in an envelope.

When he gets it, have him add enough water to make a paste and let it rest at room temperature until it does its thing.

If it is gooey when he gets it (long time in the mail, hot in transit, combination) it will still work and it may take less time to activate.

If you want to send it in the little plastic jar that KA mails in, just mix up a stiff ball and send it by Priority mail in a small box. He should get it in 3 days and it will be ready to be feed on opening.

If shipping was going to take more than a week or if the temperature was going to be high (summer), I would add some salt to slow down the fermentation, but for domestic destinations this time of year you shouldn't need that.

Ford's picture

Send dried starter. Spread your starter in a thin layer on to a sheet of parchment paper, and let it dry at room temperature. (It takes about two days.) Crumble the dried flakes. Send a tablespoon to your father in a zippered bag. Put the rest in another zippered bag and save as an emergency starter.

To revive the starter, add a tablespoon of water to the tablespoon of starter and about a tablespoon of all purpose flour. Stir and allow to ferment for a day, then refresh as you normally do.

Ford's picture

I did both when I was going to be out of town for a few weeks last year. Drying a freshly matured 100% hydration culture into parchment, it bounced back essentially instantly when rehydrated and fed.  A stiff version took several days to grow out, suggesting some sub-pop(s) in it hadn't survived the ~3w of neglect (in fridge). 


marjoriew's picture

proper consistancy of a pancake batter.....thick? thinner?