Local-Global Sourdough Swap

Samantha Point

I am currently living in Toronto, Canada.

In the past, I have dehydrated a Toronto-based sourdough starter (which I believe, when dehydrated in the right way can preserve the yeast), and sent them to friends around the globe in hopes of collecting versions of thier local yeasts as well (for which I received none).

I would love to take this idea and share it with the people in this forum. If people are interested in trading a dried version of thier own local yeast, I would be happy to mail some local Toronto sourdough yeast in exchange.

Perhaps somethign like this already exists. If so, I would love to know where I can go to get involved with it!




131 users have voted.


farinam's picture
farinam 2013 January 1

Hi Samantha,

I would be happy to send you some dried starter.  However, I sort of doubt the value of the exercise because I think the yeasts and bacteria are all essentially the same the world over and even if they are not, the 'local' ones would soon come to predominate.

If I am off the track, then undoubtedly the micro-biologists out there will soon put me straight.

If you want to proceed, send me a private message with your address and I will get some to you in due course.

Keep on bakin'


shasta's picture
shasta 2013 January 2

Hi Farinam & Samantha,

I'm not sure where I stand in the debate on how a starter would evolve over time in a different location. It sounds logical to me that once a starter has been relocated to a new area that it would soon evolve and be predominated by local yeasts. I have also read that studies have shown that starters get most of the yeast from the flour it is fed. So it could be argued that if you change the flour that you feed a starter that it will evolve to the yeast that predominate in the new flour.

However, there are many bakers out there that have several starters from different locations and swear that they each maintain their distinct characteristics.

The author at the link below does a comparison of 4 different starters that she keeps. She feeds them the same amount of food at the same time and they each react differently over a period of hours.


 I myself have my own starter that I started from scratch 2 years ago here in Shasta County, California. I also acquired some Carl Griffith's 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter about a year and a half ago. The two starters do act differently but I have to admit that I don’t keep the Carl's starter active all the time. I dry it out and restore it when I want to use it. The most I have had it active has been about two months. So was that long enough for it to evolve? I don't know. I have also recently acquired some starter form Graham at Companion Bakery in Tasmania, Australia. Although I have to admit that I feed it different flour than I do my own starter, it definitely reacts slower than my own starter. I get much longer proof times with it. In one of my correspondence with Graham about the starter, he indicated that it would evolve into a unique culture.

So maybe that is it. Maybe a transplanted starter will retain some of its original characteristics but also gain new ones based on location and flour that it is fed, making a unique culture. I plan on keeping my new Australian starter going along with my original starter indefinitely to try to see for myself.  I would be willing to send samples of my original starter to anyone that would like to try it. I can eve pass along a sample of my Carl’s 1847.

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