The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to transport starter?

sheep1's picture

How to transport starter?

I have a starter that I've been keeping for about 2 years now.  We are moving and will be traveling for an entire month before getting to our new place, living in hotels along the way.    What is the best way to transport my starter culture?  We will be alternating between the car, hotel rooms and possibly relative's homes.  The moving company will store our furniture for a month, but not my culture :)  Still don't know if they will take my wheat berries sealed in glass jars- if not, they will be going with us in the car!

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

For a trip of that length, with unknown conditions (temperature, etc.), probably best to dry some. Spread a thin layer on parchment and let it dry, then crumble it and put it in a clean jar with a tight lid.

If you were sure of being able to keep it cool (even refrigerated) you might be able to knead a bunch of flour into it (make it very stiff), form it into a ball and put it in a jar covered in more flour. Not sure if this would work or not but it might be worth a try (along with the back-up dried version).

sheep1's picture

Thanks Lazy Loafer.  I think I will try both.  I will have intermittent access to a refrigerator, but of unknown temps (sometimes the hotel mini fridges are too warm or too cold!).  At the moment I only have whole wheat flour, hope that works okay. 

I remembered reading something about drying the starter a couple years ago but couldn't figure out on what- paper towel?  etc.  Parchment paper makes the best sense!  Will be interesting to see what happens to the starter going from San Francisco to San Diego...

clazar123's picture

I have dried it and revived it with no problem. I also take my starter on vacation with me. I buy flour and bottled water and keep it on the counter all week. As long as it has enough food and good water, it doesn't care where it lives. A small jar is easy to maintain.

But it requires attention and you may have your mind elsewhere. Just feed it 3 or 4 ties so it is very robust and smear a very thin layer on  a large piece of parchment. Dry it out at room temp,crumble and put it into a jar or ziplock. Just add water to revive.

Just think of the interesting environments where sourdough has been used! Tough stuff.

Justanoldguy's picture

You might also consider a small, light cooler, or an insulated lunch bag. On the road you should be able to easily replenish the ice at mini-mart drink fountains for the cost of a small drink by filling the cup with ice and forgoing the drink. Dump the ice in a baggie; seal it up and plop it in the cooler with the starter's container. Then pop it in the fridge at relative's homes or any hotel room fridge.