Can I Take Sourdough Starter On A Plane?

Can I Take Sourdough Starter On A Plane?
Published on
10 November 2022
Gareth Busby
Gareth Busby

If you’re planning to travel and don’t want to put your favourite hobby on hold, you can bring your starter with you!! But how easy is it to take it on a plane, what are the rules and what’s the best way to take it? All explained is this bread-related masterpiece, so let’s get to it!

Can you take sourdough starter on a plane as hand luggage?

Taking your starter as part of your hand luggage can be tricky, but is definitely possible! The Transportation Security Administration states that gels or liquid packages must be in a clear bag, no larger than 3.4oz (you can see the article on the TSA website).

If flying from the UK and EU, liquids and gels taken as hand luggage must fit in a 100ml container, and all of your liquids must fit in a 1 litre, 20 x 20 cm bag (excluding medicines and baby food).

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Can I take sourdough starter on a plane as hold luggage?

There are no restrictions on taking liquids or gels in hold (checked) luggage in the US, UK or EU. It’s the best way to carry your sourdough starter on a plane. You also might want to carry your favourite flour in your hold luggage to feed your starter when you reach your destination!

Is taking live starter on a plane worth it?

Bringing your sourdough starter with you on your travels is most definitely going to damage it in some way. Depending on the length of your flight and how long it takes you to get through the airport, your starter can spend a long time unfed. And whilst higher altitude means your starter will become more active, if left in the luggage compartment at 30,000ft, cool temperatures will slow organic activity. They’ll probably cancel each other out, so I can’t give a predicted result of what will happen to your starter.

Starters are extremely versatile though, so once you’ve reached your destination, just feed it a few times and it’ll be back to normal in a handful of days.

How to avoid a mess when taking your starter with you on a plane

One thing that might happen, especially taking your starter as hand luggage is it might grow too much and explode! Feed your starter before you leave, double bag it, and keep it as cool as you can to slow down fermentation activity.

Alternatively, you can dehydrate a starter into shards for transport and add water on your arrival. Drying is the method best suited to long-haul flights and takes away the stress of having to feed it as soon as you arrive. To dry a starter you can spread some on a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave it to dry for a couple of days, covering with a towel when it’s dry enough to touch.

Drying a starter
A dried starter

Another way to dry your starter is to use a dehydrator to do the work for you. Once you’re ready to activate it, just add water and flour!

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