The last time I made bread for Richard, I explained where the whole wheat flour was on top of the cabinet in the room where I keep it, and he dutifully brought me the right container with the whole wheat flour.
When it came time to make bread again earlier in the week, I asked him to get the whole wheat flour and just assumed he would remember where it was and bring me the right container.
Unfortunately, I keep the corn meal I use to make the concoction I feed the birds during the winter in an identical container on top of a different cabinet. Unfortunately, this is white cornmeal, which was on sale and is fine for the birds, and it is about the same color as the white whole wheat flour that I happen to be using at the moment. There is no obvious difference between the two.
Of course, he brought me the cornmeal instead of the whole wheat flour, but it didn’t register that I was adding to the yeast 2 cups of cornmeal to every 1 cup of white flour instead of 2 cups of whole wheat flour. I thought it didn’t feel quite right – sort of gritty -- when I was kneading it, but it wasn’t until it had risen once and I began shaping the dough into loaves that I realized what had happened.
I abandoned the loaves and patted it into the cast iron skillet and went ahead and put it in the oven to rise again, I asked him to get the other container.
I started over with the whole wheat flour. The regular bread went into the baguette pans and they both went in the oven to bake. In the meantime, Richard produced two labels so that the containers are now marked and this won’t happen again.
I figured the cornmeal “bread” would be similar to regular cornbread. It isn’t. It doesn’t taste like bread and it doesn’t taste like cornbread. Its not horrible, but it isn’t all that great.
The bread that I baked along with the cornmeal bread wasn’t exactly a rousing success either, because I left it in the oven just a little too long. It didn’t burn, exactly, but it is too brown. He has a recipe for garlic toast which is quite good and that is what he is using it for.
Sometimes mistakes in the kitchen turn out to be quite good, but this wasn’t one of them.