It started out just like any other day, the sun was out, Hamish was bubbling away happily waiting for his next feed and I was on my way to the supermarket to shop for aforementioned feed. “Of course I can make a starter” I thought “its easy” I gleefully told Mr LG with, I am ashamed to say, a fair amount of smugness. So with a quick goodbye to Mr LG and some words of encouragement to Hamish I was out the door.
Then all of a sudden it happened, disaster stuck… “la catastrophe”…somehow that sounded more dramatic in French or maybe that was just in my head…anyway…..
So there I was in the healthfood section looking for rye flour for Hamish and believe it or not there was no rye to be found. Copious amounts of quinoa flour, spelt, buckwheat and other types of healthy nutritious flour, but no rye. I checked again in case I missed it, but alas there was no rye flour to be found. After checking with staff it appears they no longer sell rye flour as it didn’t sell. Didn’t sell??? I brought it every week how can you say it didn’t sell, but apparently I was the only one and the fact that I purchased one or two packets a week wasn’t enough for them to keep it on their shelves…so much for customer service. Ok no need to panic the health food store will have it, right? ….. wrong, no rye flour.
I rushed home, fobbed Hamish off with a few platitudes about how dinner would be worth the wait and set about phoning the nearest health food stores. I even persuaded Mr LG to forage in the surrounding suburbs for rye, but you guessed, it there was no rye to be found. Queue dramatic music and a not so silent scream AHHHHHHHHHH!
So what to do now? This is my first foray into sourdough starters so it would be safe to say I have a lot to learn. I checked my books and the internet for tips and all I could come up with was to put Hamish in the fridge to retard the yeast which if I could get a reliable local source of rye flour probably would be the best option or try (and this one was risky) to add another type of flour. From all accounts you can change flour types in your sourdough starter, but the starter has to be strong enough to make the change. I went with option two as it is not the first time I have had problems sourcing rye flour where I live, the question was – would I regret this decision?
I carefully fed Hamish his new food, lovely organic white flour. I gave him encouragement and when things started looking like they would take a turn for the worse I begged him to toughen up and try harder, but alas poor Hamish was no more and nothing I did or said could revive him.
Strangely in that short period of time I invested a lot into Hamish and I had grown quite attached to him – considering he is only a bread starter I did start questioning my mental state at this point. Anyhow, to cut a longer story short Hamish was buried in the compost heap where hopefully he will end up nourishing my herb and vegetable plants…assuming I don’t manage to kill those as well. In his place we have a brand new starter who has been aptly named Hamish the 2nd.
Hamish the 2nd is doing well, but is still in the early stages of growth, I have learnt a few things about starters along the way and I have my fingers crossed that this time we will have a successful outcome resulting in some lovely sour dough loaves, but you never now how things will turn out and the other valuable lesson I learnt was to never count my chickens before they hatch… hmmmm I wonder how I would do with chickens….ok maybe not 🙂