Biscuits. There are so many types of biscuit out there. You have Custard Creams, Bourbons, Digestives, Rich Teas, Hob Nobs, Garibaldis, Arrowroot, Speculaas, Ginger Nuts.. the list can go on.
Why am I talking about biscuits? Well I have always been a fan of a good biscuit with my tea in the afternoon. I love a good dunk. And well, I was watching a programme the other day, ‘Inside the Factory’ and they touched upon the very important question: Are you a Dunker? And does dunking really make a biscuit taste better?
I am such a firm believer, that a dunk in the tea before eating it, does make for a completely different taste. But several people around me, dunking doesn’t even come naturally to them. They sit there and eat the biscuit dry! Without even a consideration of dunking it.
Well to those who don’t dunk, it has been scientifically proving that you are missing out on so, so much. The taste and aromas are all different once you’ve dunked, and yes, it does make the biscuit taste better.
In the programme, the scientist, Dr Ian Fisk, who is a professor of Food Chemistry at the University of Nottingham, stuck a Robot Nose, or a tube as you and me know it, up poor Cherry’s nose whilst she ate a biscuit. The Robot Nose is highly sensitive and can detect a single aroma particle in one trillion particles of air! That’s incredible and a number I can’t quite comprehend. So, as Cherry eats her biscuit, whether dunked in tea or not, the robot nose is able to look at the release of aroma compounds into the nose and can tell if the taste of the biscuit is better with or without tea.
Why through the nose? Well, when we eat food, smells and aromas are released in to our nose. This is a vital part of how we taste things. It isn’t just our taste buds that we rely on when we taste, if anything the nose has a greater effect on the taste.
The experiment starts with a biscuit that hasn’t been dunked. As she starts chewing, the tube is placed in her nose, where she must continue to breathe confidently, but I must admit it didn’t look the most comfiest ways of eating a biscuit with this thing up your nose. Even Cherry said it didn’t make for a comfortable biscuit eating experience. But for science and to prove dunking is the best method I am sure it was worth it.
So, with one biscuit (not dunked) down, it was time for the dunking of the second biscuit. It was a close call and a bit of a panic, as it was dunked for a second too long, and Cherry almost lost the half that had been dunked. But with quick reactions, the biscuit was saved and was soon being demolished in Cherry’s mouth. Straight away Cherry could tell the difference in the taste with it being dunked. She noted that the nuttiness and sweetness of the biscuit was better. But did science agree with her? Did the robot nose pick up on the release of aromas in the nose?
Science did! The results were astounding. The peak for the dunked biscuit was twice as big than that of the biscuit that wasn’t dunked. Therefore, dunking in tea tastes twice as good.
So why does dunking make the biscuit become more tastier? Well the aroma and taste compounds can diffuse out to the mouth and the nose much more efficiently. Simple really.
Dunking doesn’t actually change the taste, it just allows you to taste the biscuit faster and more intensely.
So, as Cherry said: Dunkers are the real Winners.
The show also touched upon briefly what was the best beverage to dunk a biscuit in. Tea came out the winner, with coffee as a very close second. Unfortunately, for the milk, I think it got one vote. So if you’re going to dunk, stick with tea and you’re in for a wild ride in the mouth with the release of aroma and taste compounds.
Not Quite Made Girl