World’s first ‘sourdough hotel’ housed in Stockholm

Sheryl Nadler
Shine On
May 30, 2012

First they introduced the world to the Ice Hotel and now the Swedes have brought us yet another unique travel destination.

Yes, the recent European hunger for artisan bread — particularly sourdough — has paved the way for the world's first "sourdough hotel," housed in The Urban Deli in Stockholm, reports Swedish news site, The Local.

With summer holidays just around the corner, some of you might look for someone to water your plants, grab your mail and feed the cat while you're away. But what about your sourdough cultures, used for making homemade sourdough bread? Who will tend to them in your absence? Sourdough hotel clients will have peace of mind, knowing their tiny jars of bacterial culture will be fed and cared for by the deli's staff while they holiday.

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At 300 Swedish kronor a week, or approximately $43 CAD, it's thought to be the only one of its kind in the world. And it's catering to a trend that has become popular among the socially conscious and a lot of stay-at-home dads, says a story in the Guardian.

But according to Tracie Harris, 80, owner of Mom's Sourdough Bakery about an hour north of Whitehorse, sourdough baking is steeped in Canadian tradition.

"I'm a born and raised Yukoner from the Dawson Mining District," she says. "And when the gold rush started in 1896-1897, those people who came over the Chilkoot Pass carried their sourdough starters with them in a goat skin bag. In the wintertime they carried it inside their clothing so it wouldn't freeze. When they stopped, all they'd have to do is mix some flour and water to make a dough they could cook over a fire or in a frying pan."

They were nicknamed "Sourdoughs," she says. And her grandfather was one of them.

"My grandfather came up here carrying the sourdough starter on him and of course it's been in my family since," she continues. "In the commercial stores, they do sell sourdough bread, but it's not the traditional sourdough starter."

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She says her traditional sourdough starter, which has been kept for more than a hundred years, contains hops, but that anyone can make one with flour, water and some honey.

So what does she think of the pricey "sourdough hotel"?

"I think it's a great idea," she says. "If I'm going to be away for awhile, I usually pass mine down to the neighbour to look after it and she's free to use. "

To watch a video of sourdough cultures chilling in their hotel, check out this story on the Huffington Post.

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