Swedes seem to love homemade sourdough loaves almost as much as they love their five annual weeks of vacation. However, sourdough starter—a gloppy, fermented mixture of flour and water—requires constant TLC. You need to give it daily “feedings” of fresh flour and water so the starter’s yeast-like bacteria can thrive. The more the starter ages, the tastier your bread gets. If you don’t feed the starter, it stops growing.
This kind of dough-votion seems at odds with a vacation-heavy lifestyle. But thanks to Stockholm bakery RC Chocolat, the two don’t need to be mutually exclusive. According to NPR, RC Chocolat offers sourdough starter “baby-sitting” services for vacationing bakers. That way, they can return from a restful trip and be greeted by a bubbling and oven-ready container of goo.
The bakery has a location at the Stockholm Arlanda Airport. There, travelers can drop off their starter, jet away to a far-flung locale, and come home to pick up a carefully maintained vat of yeasty goodness. RC Chocolat charges customers $3 a day—a small price for a foodie to pay for peace of mind.
"Swedes love to travel and they love to bake with sourdough," Charlotta Söör, the owner of RC Chocolat, told Vice. "But the thing with a sourdough is that you can’t leave it alone if you decide to travel. Without anyone taking care of it, it will die. It needs to be fed and taken care of on a regular basis. So we’re the perfect solution if you want to keep your sourdough alive and travel at the same time!"
Söör has been running her dough-sitting service for three years now, although she’s quick to point out that other Stockholm bakeries, like the Urban Deli, have also operated so-called sourdough hotels. (Urban Deli reportedly stopped running their yeasty hostel after several years because there wasn't enough demand for the service.) We can only wonder whether the trend will, uh, rise in America as artisanal bread baking continues to gain popularity.