'I am having trouble getting my muffin dough to rise,' Andy announces as we set off for our morning constitutional around the lake in the park across the way.
'Is that a euphemism?' I chortle, because the word 'muffin' always sounds, to me, slightly lewd and worthy of an immature snigger.
'No,' says Andy, who, since he discovered baking, has been taking the whole process very seriously as only a scientist can. (Unlike moi who follows the 'chuck-it-in-and-see-what -happens method of culinary concoction.) It's all exact proportions and exact temperatures and weighing and tapping and shaping and walloping and not letting things over prove or flolloping will occur.
After a couple of weeks of sticking to basic white loaf making - very nice basic white loaf I might add - Andy has got back to baking proper this weekend. He has been 'off-bake' for a while because we have both put on weight, but then we both like cooking and baking and well, what can you do? Anyway, the call of the Bake Master overcame the humourless 'Slim Master' in a battle worthy of Admiral Beef of Wellington and Lord Cheese of Sandwich themselves, and Andy made a spelt and ale loaf yesterday, which was rather lovely. Today, he was grappling muffins. (Immature snort from your author.)
The thing with muffins, it seems, is that you have to plan ahead. You have to prepare the dough the night before the day you want them. It is a very sticky dough. Very pale, too. A bit like a consumptive Dickensian heroine. Seems to me like a lot of faff, but then muffin making is a scientific process for which I have not the patience, nor, given its paleness and floppidity, the sympathy.
And with it being very cold and Wintery at the moment (12 flakes of snow today) the muffins, whilst proving, remained resolutely flat. Round, but flat.
Andy glared at them, but even the heat from his eyeballs did nothing to raise their dander. Eventually, his rising patience exhausted, he put them in the oven, and they turned out very well. Very muffiny. (Titter!) I wondered if he was expecting something too spectacular on the rising front, especially after the spelt and ale bread made a show yesterday that would have put Quatermass to shame. But I could tell the Master Baker Muffin Man was unhappy with the result.
I suspect more Much Malarkey Muffin Mania may be in the offing.
And what did I do this weekend?
I knitted a frog.
No, I wouldn't ask either!