Sending out 100 year old sourdough starter

When, in my most recent PPH column on no knead sourdough bread, I offered to send a bit of my 100 year old sourdough starter to anyone who wanted it, I had no idea the response would be so great!  Usually when I offer to send something to readers I get four or five requests.  This time?  Try over 130!

And then the trick of how to get that much starter going quickly was the least of the worries.  How to package it, mail it and get it all done without spending days on it?  The post office had enough priority mail boxes to send out 39 packages the first week.  We cleaned them right out.  And thankfully, the boxes that we ordered online arrived yesterday and now we can mail out the rest.  So far, packaging 1 cup of starter in a 2 cup plastic container with a lid, putting that into a ziplock and nesting it in newspaper sounds as if its working.  I haven’t heard from anyone that they received a Jaba the Hut mess in their mailbox.

The sourdough has been quite accommodating and has grown by leaps since the requests began coming in and it’s actually looking happier and healthier with all of this activity.  Of course, I’ve had to make some bread, pancakes and waffles with it, I just couldn’t resist.

If you asked for some sourdough, don’t fret, its coming!

UPDATED 6/15/10
Due to the overwhelming response of requests for this starter we can no longer offer it.  Thank you for your understanding.

© 2009 Anne Mahle


  • Alison
    March 31, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! I’m new to Maine and am SO thrilled by your generous gift. The maple oat sourdough bread tasted delish (despite my loutish attempts at getting it to raise).

  • Annie
    March 31, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    You are so welcome. I wonder though about getting your dough to rise. Do you have a chilly kitchen? Are you maybe working the wet dough more than a little? If I can help, lets work on getting your bread perfect.

  • Ray Rollins
    October 23, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I have had a sourdough starter about ten years ago while I was in the Marines, and somehow managed to keep it for several years until I had to rotate to a new duty station. I used yeast from the grocery store to get it going and allways thought how cool it would be to get a real one going.
    I retired a couple years ago and now want a real starter to try for myself.
    “Imagine a Marine in the kitchen baking”; funny but it relaxes me and amazes me on how this simple process makes a great bunch of flavors.
    Great website Annie….keep it up.

  • Bruce
    September 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    is there any way I could get some of your starter.

  • Evelyn
    March 18, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Hi I would like to buy some to. Is it still available?

  • laamato
    April 5, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I would like to buy some as well. Am I missing a link, or is it no longer available? =(

    Thank you,

  • J&E Riggin
    April 6, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for your interest and I’m glad you stumbled upon us. We’d be happy to send along some starter to you. When we package it we include one cup of starter and a sheet that has directions on how to feed it along with a few recipes. The cost is $15 which includes the shipping (inside of the US. Shipping outside the US is available please email for shipping cost).

    To receive the starter please mail a check to 136 Holmes St. Rockland, ME 04841 Attn: Elizabeth-SDS or you can call with a Visa, MasterCard or Discover and your mailing address. If you mail a check please be sure to include the address you’d like the starter shipped to.

    Thank you again.

  • Hope Pratt
    May 16, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    I will be on your June 8, 2012 voyage. Would it be possible PLEASE to bring home to Machias Maine, some of your starter! I used starter for many years but we have been eating less bread. I have some of the old started in our freezer. I works, after several refreshings. I would love to use yours now, and have an active ongoing starter! See how it works for you.

    I am very excited to be on your ship and will see you in a little more than 3 weeks!!

    Hope Pratt

  • Annie Mahle
    May 17, 2012 at 6:00 am

    Hi Hope,
    We are looking forward to seeing you when you sail! Of course you can take some sourdough home with you! Just remind me when you are onboard and I’ll give it a good feeding before we send some off to it’s new home.

  • Miroslav Cap
    June 23, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I would like to know it you had successfully mailed any sourdough into Ontario, Canada, if it crosses the border without any problems.
    Thank you

    • Annie Mahle
      February 22, 2013 at 7:36 am

      I’ve not mailed to Canada so am not sure about the regs there. As for packaging, I fill a plastic container 1/3 of the way up, secure the lid firmly, rubber band the lid to the tub, and then place the whole thing in a ziplock. I don’t usually feed it right before packaging it because the bacterial activity of the yeast eating the flour is what creates pressure. The lid still might stay on, but then again, it might not. You can definitely send what you would discard as long as it’s healthy.

      Hope that helps everyone!

  • Candyce Rogers
    September 2, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    I would love to order a sour dough starter from you, if possible. I have no problem with the $15.00 fee. I used to make sourdough pancakes with my grandmother, and would love to make them with my grandchildren. I don’t think they have ever had them and I really feel this experience should be part of growing up.

    • J&E Riggin
      September 3, 2012 at 9:45 am

      Hello Candyce,

      We’d be happy to send you some starter. I am sending you an email with the details.

  • Hope Pratt
    September 3, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Wow, please count me in too, when you send out your fantastic 100 yr old sourdough starter! Having had a week’s worth of your so very delicious sourdough bread, I very much look forward to playing with it. I have made sourdough stuff for 40 years, but at the moment my starter is in the freezer, sadly, due some challenges I have had. Am anxious use yours. It has some great history behind it, and the feeling for me, that I have some of you, Annie, with me. You and fantastic memories of my week with you on your knitting cruise this June!


  • razer1054
    February 20, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Could you please provide more detail about your mailing and instructions to the recipient. I have some starter I’d like to mail but do i mail fed or discard starter?


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