Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chinese Pretzels are good to Dunk...

These round twisted pretzels are usually coated with hard sugar icing which I have omitted with a valid reason, make ideal snack with drinks and are especially good to dunk in a cup of coffee or tea such as I like to do with other biscuits. I usually like to dunk my biscuits in my coffee. If you are into the habit of dunking, you will agree with me that it is quite an art after all. It requires the perfect timing and skill from the time you dunk the biscuit into your drink and lifting up without breaking to put it into your mouth. Biscuit dunkers face much more of a challenge. If recent market research is to be believed, one biscuit dunk in every five ends in disaster, with the dunker fishing around in the bottom of the cup for the soggy remains. The problem for serious biscuit dunkers is that hot tea or coffee dissolves the sugar, melts the fat and swells and softens the starch grains in the biscuit. The wetted biscuit eventually collapses under its own weight.
(Source BBC News)
Scientists have finally explained the perfect way to dunk a biscuit. People have long had to endure lumpy tea when their favourite nibble disintegrates to form a grey sludge at the bottom of the mug. Only a scientist could dunk like this
Now researchers from the University of Bristol in the west of England have published the mathematical formula that governs the whole process. Their work is set to revolutionise tea and coffee breaks the world over, especially when a list of recommended dunking times is published.
BBC Science Correspondent Pallab Ghosh: Different biscuits have different dunking times The study reveals precisely why we are drawn to dunking - it seems more of the flavour of the biscuit is released into our mouths if it has first been dunked in a hot drink. The Bristol team calculate that up to 10 times more flavour is released this way than if the biscuit is eaten dry.
Their two-month investigation has also established the best strategy for dunking chocolate biscuits. The "flat-on" approach requires the nibble to be immersed biscuit side down.
This minimises "chocolate bleed" into the tea or coffee and keeps the coating rigid enough to prevent the biscuit from breaking in half. The team acknowledge this technique requires a degree of skill on the part of the dunker and have therefore designed a prototype dunking holder to help the less dexterous.
Dr Len Fisher, who led the research, said a biscuit could be viewed as lumps of starch glued together by sugar. When the hot tea or coffee enters the pores in the biscuit, he explained, the sugar melts and the structure becomes unstable. "You have got a race between the dissolving of the sugar and your biscuit falling apart and a swelling of the starch grains so that they stick together, giving you a biscuit which is purely starch but rather softer than what you started with," he said. "As with most things in physics, we can write equations which govern this."
Dunk with confidence with my homemade pretzels.

Chinese Pretzels Recipe:


2 cups flour
2/3 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 tbsp water
6 cups oil

Sift flour, sugar, salt and baking soda twice, add egg, water and mix into a soft dough; if dough is too dry add water accordingly, knead dough until smooth. Cover dough with a cling wrap and let it sits for 30 minutes. Roll dough into 3mm thick and cut into 24 strips. Take each piece and lightly stretch by keeping other end of dough firmly pressed on the table.; twist dough like a rope and bring both ends meet to form a circle and twist again. Heat oil for deep frying pretzels over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel.


  1. how to make you char kueh ??

  2. Hi BY,
    Do you mean Yew Char Kueh? I have the recipe but I can't get ammonium bicarbonate and magnesium which are key ingredients for making them.

  3. if you dunk you tiao, it does not disintegrate like marie biscuit or the hard biscuit. this morning, i just had you tiao (yew char kueh) soaked in coffee for breakfast.

  4. Hi Brother YG,
    I just noticed that we share the same surname when I visited your blog on hard biscuit. At least, I am not the only one who likes to dunk biscuits into coffee. Haha. Is the hard biscuit still available in Singapore? BTW, yew char kueh is expensive here. Nearly cost a dollar each!

  5. phil, so, you are also a 'ong'. yes, the hrad biscuit is still available here. in s'pore, yew char kueh costs 50cts a piece.

  6. I love dipping soda biscuits into coffee or tea. Luckily they have the soda biscuits here (in Aus) :)