Monday, March 03, 2014

The ‘Only Happens To Me’ Files, #2,721

I swear, sometimes I really do ask myself why I ever leave the house. It sometimes feels as though every time I go forth amongst my fellow man, if there is even one person who wakes up that day thinking, You know what? I’m feeling EXTREMELY random and am in the mood to SHARE this randomness with someone!, they will be brought into my path in order that I will be left staring after them muttering, …what the @^*&@ just happened THERE?! to myself.

Which is itself prone to making people stare at you.

Anyway, today was apparently clearly you are not knowledgeable about that sort of thing day. Which is to say that not once but twice, someone mistook me for a member of the common buying-plastic-wrapped-baked-goods sects.

I am starting to develop a complex about it. I may have to start dusting myself with flour before I leave the house, in order to make it obvious that I do, too, bake.


With ingredients. Such as flour, sugar, water, milk, eggs, yeast…

The first time, it was over muffins.

Yes. Muffins.

When I bake muffins to put in the freezer for breakfasts, I use mini pie pans – like these guys. They’re bigger than a typical made-in-a-muffin-pan muffin, but still smaller than the typical bakery muffin.

This frequently leads to the understandable assumption that I purchased the muffin somewhere “downstairs” – at the Starbucks or one of the neighborhood bakeries or something like that.

Which I would, if I weren’t a) cheap and b) picky.

So this morning I grabbed a muffin out of the freezer and took it with me for breakfast. As I was warming it up at work – at Too Early O’Clock – a lady I’ve never met (possibly because I’m only in the office maybe once a week, and almost never on Mondays but this week is special that way) came into the kitchen, looked at it in the microwave, and remarked that she didn’t know such-and-so place was open that early.

I rejoined that this had come from my freezer, not such-and-so place, ha ha ha.

She looked me in the eye and said, “No it didn’t, they sell those.”

So I looked her in the eye and said, “They may sell muffins, but they don’t sell these, because I made these.

This is where things get slightly surreal.

“No you didn’t. You probably can’t even say what’s in them.”

{reseats bifocals on nose} Challenge. Accepted.

“Flour, sugar, salt, butter, baking powder, plain yogurt, juice and zest of two lemons, half an average nutmeg, ground, and a sprinkling of raw sugar on top for the crunch.”

And she looked me in the eye again and said, “See, that just proves they came from such-n-so. That’s what it says on their label.”

And then she wandered away, while I stood there thinking up all kinds of snappy comebacks that really shouldn’t be said in an office environment.

But then I shrugged and chalked it up to being Before Coffee o’Clock logic at work and went on with my day.

Now, fast forward several hours. I’m waiting at the ladies room after a meeting because why is it that we ladies so frequently seem to be standing around waiting like this, and these two youngish gals are doing the, “I know, you know?” thing about this and that.

And then one of them started going on and on about you know, that thing, you know, somebody was talking about it earlier and it was that THING, you know, the one with the stuff and the other stuff?

And quite a bit of this later, she finally put together enough keywords for me to go, “Oh. She means a cream puff. Mmmm, cream puffs…

Shortly after which, they suddenly (and inexplicably) included me in the conversation by abruptly asking, “You know? Those things with the cream and the soft dough stuff and there’s chocolate on top of it or something? Not the round doughnut things, the other ones.”

I said, “Cream puffs.” Mmm. Cream puffs.

“Yeah! Cream puffs! Those things! They’re, like, in croissants or something…but not like a normal croissants, it’s, you know, different croissant dough or something, maybe they deep fry it…”

And I went like this: (o_O)

For a second, I toyed with the idea that maybe she really was talking about the ‘cronut’ thing. But, no, what she was describing was definitely a good old cream puff, not one of them fancy newfangled cronut doohickeys.

For evidence, I submit the following:


Cream puffs (with omg, recipe!)

(Hmm. Source blog appears to be in a state of hibernation at present. This is sad. People who post things like this which make me sit up and go, Ooo…toasted coconut cream puffs, you say?! This sounds like happiness in puffy toothsome choux crust and I must make it IMMEDIATELY-ish…need to continue posting things. Many, many things. I – nay, the WORLD – needs these things. NEEDS. THEM. I have spoken. Make it so. Hail Pharaoh.)

But, partly by way of making SURE I was right so that I could sleep well tonight, and partly because I can’t seem to resist spouting off valuable bits of worthless information sharing knowledge with people, I then explained the difference between croissant dough and choux pastry.

Also known as, the difference between a cronut and and a cream puff.

They looked at me as if I had just proposed that the space station had been built by the snake people from the planet Thsssslphfffbbt and that human kind were being replaced with doughnut-rejecting androids.

The first one said, “Noooooooo, I’m pretty sure it’s exactly the same dough. You must be thinking of something else, because, they’re like, exactly the same. I think maybe they just deep-fry the croissant dough or something.”

And the other one said, “Yeahhhhhh, plus I don’t think there’s any yeast in croissants and definitely not a lot of butter, because they’re really light and I’m sensitive to gluten so if they had yeast it would really bother me.”

And the first one went, “Ohmygahd, me too! I can only eat really light breads, you know? Like baguettes, they’re fine and stuff, but heavy ones, they kill me, because they have a lot more gluten…”

And I went like this.

Because what I wanted to point out was something along these lines:

  • Yeast != Gluten
  • “Light tasting” bread != “light gluten” bread
  • Shoot, depending on what kind of “heavy” bread we’re talking about, serving for serving the “heavy” bread may actually have less gluten than the “light” one
  • For example, let’s say I’m making one loaf of typical ‘light’ white sandwich bread, and one loaf of pumpernickel
    • French-style white bread will be all plain old bread flour, at about 14% gluten
    • Pumpernickel is a roughly 1:2:4 blend of oatmeal, rye and bread flour
      • Oatmeal typically has no gluten, except what it may have picked up by being shipped on containers that once held wheat, or being processed on machinery that also processes wheat
      • Rye does have some gluten, but it measures in the so little that you literally can’t wash the gluten out
        • Yes. Washing gluten from of flour is a thing
        • See: Seitan
        • Also see: “Proving” the quality / quantity of protein in a flour
      • And bread flour is usually between 12 and 14% protein
    • Soooooooooo, the “heavier” bread is actually lighter on the gluten-per-se
    • Just sayin’

buuuuuuuuuuut, I had a pretty good idea of how that conversation would go.

Since clearly I can’t speak to Such Things don’t know the difference between a cream puff and a croissant, or that I buy my muffins from a local convenience store, sneak them home, repackage them in Ziploc baggies and hide them in my freezer so that I can later claim to have made them myself even though clearly I didn’t because I also know that they contain flour, sugar, butter, salt, baking powder, plain yogurt, juice and zest of two lemons, half an average nutmeg, and a sprinkling of raw sugar on top for the crunch.


I let it go.

And spent the rest of the day craving cream puffs. Mmmm, cream puffs…


Anonymous said...

Sorry, but those are NOT "Cream Puffs." Those are clearly "profiteroles."

Anonymous said...


Vicki said...

Half a nutmeg? Won't that much poison you/ make you hallucinate/ make you horny?

Those last two I got from the spice farm in Zanzibar--only women are allowed to eat a lot of nutmeg. Because they know the right way, or something.

Anonymous said...

Leaving aside the whole 'authorship of the muffins' issue, the part about "I only eat really light bread" sheds some light on why I keep hearing of people going gluten-free voluntarily: they aren't. They don't even know what gluten is.

I was puzzled, because I have relatives who've been forced by biology to go gluten-free, and it is a huge pain that I couldn't imagine anyone going through if they didn't have to. Making a policy decision of "I only eat the breads I like best" and calling it 'gluten-free' makes much more sense.

Maybe she was thinking of chocolate eclairs?

Anonymous said...

Also, five inches across is still smaller than a typical bakery muffin? How big do muffins get out there?

PipneyJane said...

I thought of chocolate eclairs, too.

My response to that woman would have been along the lines of "Who are you? And why do you think you know enough about me to call me a liar?".

Yes, I'm in that sort of mood. I've had the sort of week/month where, when my line manager forwarded me an email about his boss's boss retiring, I saw the email subject ("My Retirement") and immediately got my hopes up it was the line manager. Thank God that 98% of what I do is for the business and doesn't involve my line manager.

(I also thank God that my ex-Commercial Director always drops by when he's in the building, usually handing me a cappuccino, like a knight in shining armour who has heard the call for coffee....)

Mother of Chaos said...

@Vicki, I think the nutmegs I have may be smaller than those - half of one ground up is ~ 1/2 teaspoon.

@kathmandu, omg, yes. I actually worry a bit about the whole rush to self-diagnose gluten intolerance thing. Seems like the vast majority of the time when you ask "did you get tested for it?" the response is "No, I just knew because I saw it on the Internet / a cooking show / etc., and I just feel SO MUCH BETTER!"

OK, but: What if your problem isn't gluten at all, but that you have damage in your colon which is reacting to insoluble fiber in the 'heavy' breads? You're now switching off the alarm your body was trying to sound, but you're not actually addressing the root cause.

Oh, and the muffins are smaller because the pans are actually pie-tins. They start out at 3" at the base and graduate out to 5", but because of that graduation they don't "crown." The bakery muffins around here are about 3-1/2" for the first 1-1/2 to 2", and then crown out to 4 to 4-1/2". The pie tins also use around 5 ounces of batter each, whereas the bakery tins are 7 ounce; a "regular" home-baked muffin is around 3.5 ounces.

In related news, one of my coworkers was very curious about why I was sitting at my desk measuring a Specialty's muffin so thoroughly. I was planning to bring it home with me to weigh on my little kitchen scale, but, well...Specialty's muffins are really good. {burp}

And now I really wish I had told him, "I'm going to start knitting muffin cozies." Because that would have been awesome.