The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Levain on a jet plane

LevaiNation's picture

Levain on a jet plane

Has anyone traveled with their starters? I'm flying (15 hours) to central america next week to visit my mother. Really want to bring her some levain magic and bake her some goods!

Any suggestions?



WoodenSpoon's picture

when I flew with mine I fed it a few days prior to the flight so it was good and healthy, but not producing gasses like crazy. then i double bagged it in those press and seal baggies, labeled it as sourdough starter and tossed it in with my clothes. I didn't have any problems.

DavidEF's picture

You might consider drying some of your starter, and carrying it that way. Make sure it is well fed and active, then spread it out on some wax paper or something to let it dry. It may take a day or so to completely dry out. Then, it will not be a problem on your flight at all. You can reconstitute it when you get there, and make an active starter out of it again with fresh flour and water. If you really like your starter, you would do well to have some dried anyway, in case something tragic were to ever occur, like someone bakes it all up and forgets to save some for next time. Dried starter can be good for years!

LevaiNation's picture

Hmmm.... I like this idea. I'll do some more research about this technique!


RobynNZ's picture

A couple of Paul's blog entries on dried starter would be worth reading:

This records his success after travel:

This one records problems he experienced on an earlier occasion, the comments are worth reading:

placebo's picture

I think packing starter in your checked luggage is the best way to go. Thicken it up and double-bag it to minimize the chances of it oozing all over your clothes. When you get to your destination, restore the hydration level and possibly give it a feeding, and you'll have your starter back.

With a dried starter, it can take several days to get it going again. The first time I traveled with starter, I dried some. It took about 4 days to get it going again, and I barely had time to bake a few loaves before I left. The next time, I just stuck a jar of it in my suitcase, and it worked out much better.

fotomat1's picture

try to carry on in a container larger than 3oz in a quart size bag...pack it in a checked bag.

dabrownman's picture

to say 60% hydration about 2 tablespoons worth, put it in a tiny Tupperware and wraping it in plastic wrap so it won't leak and toss it into the checked bag,  Don't try to carry it through as it will likely just create a hassle with the TSA.  If you are checking two bags the do it twice.

isand66's picture

I can see the headlines now...."Man arrested at airport for trying to carry unknown substance on airplane....substance later found to be DA's famous multi-grain levain with toadies!"  :)