The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I would like to send a starter

kayemme's picture

I would like to send a starter

I have a starter I got that i have just coddled into perfection and want to send it to someone across the country. What is the best method for packing? should I freeze part of it? should I let it rest a few days first? What should I pack it in? 


AnnieT's picture

Kayemme, I sent some freshly fed starter to my son last year. I used a plastic applesauce jar and enclosed it in 2 ziploc bags in case of leakage. Then I packed it in a box - I told the clerk what it was and she wasn't a bit concerned. It arrived safely and he still uses it. Mine only had to travel from WA to midcoast CA - you might want to send yours by some fast method. Good luck, A.

kayemme's picture

you think i should feed it right before i send it, so it's still within a week's feeding? other things i mail is usually a 2-3 day deal, priority.

 also, should i send the full amount or just take a glob out of what i've got going? or should i freeze it and let it thaw on the way?  or should i dry it out? 

naschol's picture

I usually dry a little starter, wrap it in plastic wrap and mail it in an envelope. No worries...


I thin a little starter to almost watery. Cover a cookie sheet with plastic wrap and spread the thinned starter VERY thinly. Place in the oven to protect from dust or whatever and let dry throroughly - it usually just takes overnight. Take it out, crumble and place in a baggie or wrap in plastic wrap.


To reconstitute, place in a small bowl and add enough lukewarm water to dissolve. This will depend on how much dried starter you are using. I would use a tablespoon or two of water to about a tablespoon of starter flakes. When dissolved, add a tablespoon or two of flour and stir in. Let set until bubbly. Add double the amount of water and flour that you added before, etc.



dhedrick's picture

I've had really good luck simply overfeeding my starter so that it is much higher in flour content than I would normally store it at, putting it in a plastic container (or even double bagged zip-lok freezer bags) and send it out.  If it arrives with a week or so it will still be healthy becuase it was overfed, and can be diluted to normal consistency when it is re-fed.

Oldcampcook's picture

I ship all of my starters in the dried stage.  I put one tablespoon of starter in a baggie and then in an envelope.  I also tape the seams, just in case.

If I send more than one, I put them in a padded envelope and also seal the seams.  I have had plain white envelopes torn in the sorting machine.  One doesn't want an unknown white powder all over the post office.

I also label the envelope just below my return address ;SOURDOUGH BREAD STARTER.


chez-jude's picture

I just received the 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough in the mail (free). I had to laugh because I'm in Oregon and the starter is mailed from Maryland.

It's a 1/2 ounce of dry crumbs in a baggy. I got the instructions to reconstitute at their website:

Anyway, it looks like this is a really easy way to share a starter with friends.

mike721's picture

You can dry the starter and send it to them to reconstitute it. but it's easier if you just take a small amount of your starter, add some flour and knead it until you make a really firm dry dough, one that won't make a mess. Then make it into a small flat pancake, double plastic bag that, and stick it in an envelope. It will be too firm to rise much in shipping, and then when it arrives they can just disperse it into some water, then add a little flour and it will be right back the way it was in a few hours.

kayemme's picture

thank you all so much! i'll be "sharing the love" in the coming week!

 for the firm starter method, does it matter how warm or cold it is? like if i took it from the fridge and kneaded flour into it, that seems like it would be fine to do, but just want to double check it. I think this would be the easiest way for the people to whom i'm sending it to get it active right away. patience isn't much of a virtue in my circle. ;)

 i think all of these methods will work for different people, the ones i know and their experience levels. 


and i'm gonna get some of that oregon trail starter, yay!


mike721's picture

I'm glad I could help, and I agree, the firm starter method is quicker for them to restart on the other end, that's what I like about it.

Making the stiff starter right out of the fridge is just fine. The procedure can't be any easier,  flour the counter, put a blob of starter on the flour, add some more flour and knead it into a really stiff dough. Stick it into a plastic bag and mail it. All done and you can go back to baking some great bread!