Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
While packing to visit family for Christmas, Dufous T. Firefly decided to make his specialty bread for them. To do this, he need to bring freshly milled wheat flour and a small amount of his sourdough starter.
Dufous milled just over a kilogram of wheat berries into a ziplock bag, rolled the air out, and sealed it tightly. He took his sourdough starter from the refrigerator and used it to make two fresh starters. One he put into a clean mason jar and returned to the refrigerator, the other he put into a plastic jar with a screw top that he had bought filled with frozen pesto. The plastic wouldn’t break in the luggage, and the screw top would be strong enough to handle the pressure changes in the airplane. He put both the flour and the starter into a very large ziplock bag, rolled and sealed that one, and put it into his luggage.
His foamy sourdough starter had an interesting, earthy color, because it was created and maintained with freshly milled rye flour. This photo shows the starter with honey drizzled into it, the start of a recipe of dinner rolls.
Dufous’ trip was a long one, including a 6 hour drive to a big city, an overnight stay in a motel, and then two plane flights. Unfortunately, the first flight was delayed, so he missed the connection, requiring another night in a hotel and the last leg the next morning. When he finally arrived, he unpacked his bag and discovered the sourdough had leaked out of the jar. Fortunately, the flour was protected in its own bag, and the starter did not escape the larger ziplock.
That evening, he set about making the bread dough. He washed off the jar of sourdough, and tried to open it, but the lid would not turn. He remembered that he had screwed that lid down tight so that it wouldn’t leak, so he gave the lid a full grip and turned.
Dufous then remembered many things at once. The plastic jar was smaller than the normal jar, but he had put in the same amount of freshly fed starter that he normally made. Fresh starter expands, up to 2-3 times its original size. The longer the starter rests, the more it expands. The recommended time is 12 hours. His starter had rested for three days.
Explosive decompression is a scary thing, but at least sourdough starter is not toxic, and some warm water gets it out of a sweater. Reading glasses, dish drainers, and the sides of refrigerators are easily washed. And Dufous is quite tall, so he doesn’t need a ladder to wash the ceiling.
Dufous hopes these loaves will match the quality of his previous efforts.