There’s a Hotel for Your Sourdough Starter… in Sweden


Concerned about how your sourdough starter will fare when you’re on vacation? Drop it off at the sourdough starter hotel.

Sweden is known for baking culture. If you’re not baking your own bread, then you know a good bakery to get it from. The bread is usually dense – none of that fluffy, baguette stuff – and hearty. The stuff good quality, no-nonsense Scandinavian meals are made of.

So maybe it’s no surprise that in Stockholm, there’s a place to store your sourdough starter when you go on vacation. Yes, for a mere 200 Swedish kronor (about $30) a week the Urban Deli bakery on Södermalm will take your sourdough starter and give it all the love it needs while you’re off galavanting on vacation.

Åsa Johansson at Urban Deli told The Local about how the idea started as a nursery for sourdoughs. “Then we took it further and came up with the hotel idea. It was just for fun really, we didn’t think it was going to get this big,” she said.

As owners of sourdough starter know, having one requires some maintenance. To keep it active it needs regular additions of flour and water, and while a dried one can be brought back to life, the thought of letting a living sourdough starter die out is unthinkable to some. Plus, your travels may have you dreaming of baking, and this way, you get get a new crusty loaf started the second you return home.

The amazing thing about sourdough starters is that if you take good care of them, they can last a lifetime. And then some. In fact, the Urban Deli has a sourdough starter collection that it runs in collaboration with Josefin Vargö, a student at the University College of Arts and Crafts and Design, who came up with the idea for her masters project. A “living archive” so to say. They have one that comes from America and dates back 130 years.

According to the Living Archive website, “Anyone with a sourdough starter can take part and join the network. It investigates how to use existing platforms of knowledge to create new social relationships. The project is under constant development as new forms of information and contacts are established.”

Sounds like it’s time to pack our bags and take our sourdough starters to Sweden. Or if a plane ticket is too much, just send in your sourdough starter by post:

Josefin Vargö
Brännkyrkagatan 13b
118 20 Stockholm

Bon voyage little sourdough starter.

Related on EcoSalon

20 Common Fermented Foods

Your Health Depends on Beneficial Bacteria

You Can Ferment That: Foodie Underground

Image: Bev Sykes

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.