Biscuits, cookies & crackers are classic treats that have been enjoyed for several decades and are a staple in many households. Producing such delicious snacks requires powerful biscuit production machines no doubt. But the core of these biscuits is formed by often overlooked ingredients. These ingredients in different proportions & with diverse mix-ins enable us to make biscuits, cookies & crackers in all shapes & sizes. Let’s have a look at some of these important biscuit ingredients that contribute to a wonderful biscuit.
Without a doubt, the very foundation of a biscuit is its dough and at the foundation of dough is flour. They provide structure to the biscuit and their proportion decides the consistency and thickness of the dough. The most common types used in biscuit production range from all-purpose flour to self-rising flour. All-purpose flour is made from wheat and is suitable for a variety of biscuits. Self-rising flour contains baking soda and salt internally, eliminating the need for their addition at a later stage. Normally the flours have a moisture content between 12 15%. These days with changing times some other types of flour are also being used like Gluten free flour & corn flour.
Salt is an essential biscuit ingredient in biscuit production process. It augments the flavour of the supplementing biscuit ingredients and acts as a catalyst for leavening agents like baking soda.
Another key purpose of salt is to regulate the extent of fermentation in biscuits.
Some manufacturers also add it as a binding agent to impart strength to the flour or gluten.
Oils & Fats
Fats are one of the key components of a biscuit and aid in providing it with texture, bite feel, flavour, richness & tenderness. The most common types of fats are butter, vegetable oils, hydrogenated fish oils, shortening and lard. Butter gives a rich buttery flavour to the biscuit, while lard & shortening help in the production of a flakier biscuit. Fat content is usually measured by a Solid Fat Index. In general, hard biscuits & crackers have a fat content ranging from 9-21% of the flour by weight, soft biscuits have 16-31% fat content & the ever-delectable cookies are on the higher side with 27-63% fat by flour weight.
For layman’s understanding, consider leavening agents as components or biscuits ingredients that cause the dough and batter to rise or expand. The most commonly used ones include baking powder, baking soda, yeast, air and steam. Some of them when combined with acids produce CO2 or carbon dioxide that causes the dough to rise.
Another way of making batter expand naturally is by taking the help of yeast to let the process of fermentation occur. Numerous cakes, doughnuts, pastries and cookies are formed by this method.
No composition can be complete, without a touch of sweetness. Sugar has its role cut out in the process and adds that extra punch of flavour to the biscuit & cookies. It provides them with sweetness, tenderness and texture. It also aids in the starch gelatinisation process and imparts great colour to it. There is also an option of addition of brown sugar instead of the normal sulfurless white refined sugar, this brown sugar apart from the properties mentioned above, also gives a caramel flavour bite to the production process.
Mix-ins are optional biscuit ingredients that are added to impart the biscuit with a particular flavour, taste or feel. Some commonly used ones include cheese, herbs, spices and dried fruits like nuts and raisins. Mix-ins like cheese, spices and herbs are added to the production of savoury biscuits and crackers while nuts and raisins are added to mouth-watering sweet cookies.
To wrap things up:
Biscuits, cookies and crackers are loved by all, from being used as snacks, and desserts to being a complementary accompaniment to tea & coffee, biscuits have been through a long journey. But, the core components or biscuit ingredients have always remained the same across decades and centuries. In the right proportion and right mix, these components can make for perfect dough.
But turning that perfect dough into a perfect biscuit is equally important. A host of factors, from moisture, heat, temperature, and colour control come into play. To ace them, top-quality biscuit lines are needed. At New Era Machines, we have been successfully conquering this challenge with our range of flexible and efficient biscuit, cookie & cracker production lines. Our experience in this field has led to the evolution of biscuit lines with the latest features and added benefits. Make the switch to industrial-grade biscuit lines and discover perfection.