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Garibaldi Biscuits: Kids and Adults Love them Equally

Garibaldi Biscuits: Kids and Adults Love them Equally

Garibaldi biscuits - Crisp semi-sweet biscuit with chewy currants

1  Description

A semi-sweet biscuit containing currants. It is baked in strips and may be cut into individual biscuits after cooling. In Europe, it is known as "Garibaldi". This biscuit presents various production problems, which must be overcome to produce a good product.

  1. The quality of the currants is critical and they should be small and dry. Large fruit will be crushed by the gauge rolls and will cause sticky juice to be smeared onto the dough surface.
  2. The cutting of the dough sheet requires high pressure with a sharp metal cutter to cut through the fruit. Usually reciprocating cutters are used. The dough sheet should be floured before cutting to reduce sticking.
  3. A high fruit content biscuit such as a Garibaldi from UK contains 33% fruit. This is made by sprinkling the currants evenly between two dough sheets of 3mm thickness and then passing through one gauge roll unit before cutting. This produces a product with high fruit content and minimises the crushing of the fruit. 
  4. If the two dough sheets are thicker, (produced directly from 3 roll sheeters), the percentage of currants in the biscuit will be substantially reduced. In addition the necessity to reduce the combined dough sheet thickness through three gauge roll units will cause some crushing of the fruit and some sticking to the rolls. Flouring of the dough sheet will be necessary.
  5. The biscuits are cut into separate strips and baked in strips. Rotary cutting discs may be used to cut the individual biscuits after baking.
  6. The product is made with minimum edge scrap only. This can be returned and incorporated in the bottom dough sheet at the sheeter or it can be returned to the mixer.
  7. Small dry currants can be distributed in the mix, producing a product with low fruit content evenly spread throughout the dough. Currants may be added at 10% of the flour weight. This simplifies the production and produces a product with evenly spread fruit. An example is "fruit shortie", which is a softer, sweet dough with currants.

2  Product specification

Dimensions: 70 x 37mm
Thickness: 6.6mm
Weight: 5.3g
Appearance: Rectangular biscuit with visible currants. Glazed surface
Colour: Medium to dark colour
Texture: Crisp semi-sweet biscuit with chewy currants
Flavour: Sweet plain biscuit with strong currant flavour
Moisture: 5.0 – 10.0%

Garibaldi biscuits

FIG 1:  Garibaldi biscuits

3  Formulations

Recipe 1 (1) (2)
Flour (weak) 100.00 100.00
Powdered sugar 20.70 15.59
Cane syrup 80% 3.57 2.65
Dough fat 18.23 13.88
Lecithin 0.37 -
Ammonium bicarbonate 0.49 0.35
Sodium bicarbonate 0.18 0.13
Salt 0.71 0.53
SMS (soln.) 0.022 0.25
Spice1 0.10 0.01
Flavour1 0.10 0.03
Water 21.00 25.88
Fruit2 65.30 65.30
  230.772 224.600


  1. Approximate quantities only
  2. This quantity of fruit gives a product with about 33% fruit content. The quantity can be reduced to suit the equipment available

4  Critical ingredients


Should be 8.0 – 9.0% protein, not higher.


Currants are small black seedless tasty and nutritious grapes grown in Greece. They can be obtained as good quality fruit with strong flavour, which makes them useful in biscuit making.

After the fruit is dried in the sun, it is separated from the stems and stalks and then stored. Before exporting, the fruit is again screened to remove any remaining stalks and foreign matter.

Currants are graded in size. Small and medium size currants are used in biscuit making. Smalls have 920 currants per 100g and mediums 500 currants per 100g. Moisture content should be 16%, (but is often up to 20%). Currants are packed in cartons, which may be polyethylene lined. The currants are fumigated after packing and before shipment with methyl bromide gas to avoid insect infestation.

A typical specification for currants suitable for biscuit making is:

  • Number of stones not to exceed 3 per tonne
  • Number of stalks not to exceed 25 per tonne
  • Number of stems not to exceed 25 per tonne
  • Cartons to be staple free
  • Moisture content 16%
  • Only black fruit
  • Flavour to be free of off flavours from packaging or poor storage
  • Currants to be fumigated before shipment

The fruit will require washing before use and is normally inspected on white tables before use to ensure that it is as clean as possible.

It is recommended that small black currants are used. These are dry and easier to sprinkle evenly. Fruit which is too large and juicy will cause problems when it is crushed by the gauge rolls. Juice may be smeared on the surface of the dough and will cause sticking on the rolls and cutter. The amount of fruit will be adjusted to suit the equipment available.

Seedless raisins and sultanas

Seedless raisins may be obtained from USA, Turkey, Chile, South Africa, Iran and India. Smyrna sultanas, which are similar, may be obtained from Greece, Turkey, Australia and Iran. Both seedless raisins and sultanas are larger and more juicy than currants and are therefore more difficult to use in biscuit making.

Grading of US fruit is "small", about 550 berries per 100g and "select", about 380 berries per 100g. The quality is graded from A (best) to C. Maximum moisture content is 18%. Other countries have similar grading systems.

5  Mixing

Normally an "all in" mixing method is used. The chemicals may be dissolved in water before adding to the mix. Mixing requires adequate time for hydration of the flour, dissolving the sugar and the development of the extensible gluten. To achieve this, the dough may be mixed to a set temperature of 40oC.  The dough is used straight away without any standing time.

6  Forming

If the product is made by producing the dough sheets on two 3 roll sheeters with a currant spreader between, the sheets must be as thin as possible. The gauging gap on the 3 roll sheeter should be set to a maximum of 12mm.

Flouring of the dough sheet will be required to avoid sticking to the rolls and the cutter.

Usually sultana biscuits are cut by reciprocating cutters as it is very difficult to cut through the currants and to avoid sticking. Where a rotary cutter is to be used, it must have a very sharp, metal cutter to ensure clean and effective cut through for the currants. The dough sheet is cut into strips across the band. Edge scrap is removed by scrap wheels and may be returned to the sheeter for the bottom sheet or collected and used in a new mix.

7  Currant spreader

The currants may be spread by a belt type unit or a roll with impressions.

The first method uses a hopper with an adjustable gate. The currants are drawn out of the hopper by a synthetic textured belt and form an even carpet of currants on the belt. The gate controls the amount of currants. The currants are deposited from the belt onto the dough sheet in an even curtain.

The second method uses a hopper with a roll which has impressions of similar size to the currants. As the roll rotates, the currants are taken from the hopper and then dropped onto the dough sheet.


FIG 2 Garibaldi biscuits, photo by: Mitzy/

8  Wash-over

A solution of milk may be applied to the dough sheet before baking to give a dark shiny appearance. (Milk powder: 43, water: 100)

9  Baking

The strips are baked on a Z47 wire-mesh or steel band.

Temperatures: 220 / 220 / 220/ 180 degrees C

Baking time: 6.0 minutes

(Over baking will make the fruit tough and leathery).

10  Cutting

After baking the strips pass through rotary cutting discs to be cut into separate biscuits. The discs are normally positioned over the steel oven band on an extended oven run out. If the biscuits are baked on a wire-mesh band, a separate cutting table is required.

11  Cooling

The biscuits are cooled at ambient temperature. Cooling to baking ratio of 2:1 is required for high fruit content biscuits (33% fruit).

12  Formulations for Garibaldi

Recipe 2

Flour (weak) 100.000
Ground rice 1.000
Invert syrup 15.000
Glucose 1.500
Fat 15.000
Milk powder 3.500
Salt 0.500
Sodium bicarbonate 0.700
Ammonium bicarbonate 0.350
Cream powder 0.350
Egg colour 0.100
Buttabelle flavour 0.050
Water 15.000
Currants 100.000
Milk 10.000
Egg 5.000

Recipe 3

Flour 100.000
Maize starch 33.333
Sugar, caster 28.571
Invert syrup 8.333
Palm oil 30.952
Natron 0.238
Sodium bicarbonate 0.714
Salt 1.429
Ground ginger 0.119
Oil of lemon 0.089
Butter flavour 0.200
Water 26.200
Water 10.000
Milk powder 3.000
Sugar 1.700
Invert syrup 2.800

Recipe 4

Flour 100.000
Cornflour 19.760
Palm oil 24.430
Sugar, liquid 27.660
Invert syrup 10.419
Dextrose monohydrate 7.713
Full cream milk powder 6.588
Lactose 1.078
Ammonium bicarbonate 0.090
Sodium bicarbonate 0.584
Salt 0.348
Flavour 0.348
Water 20.000
Currants 140.500

Garibaldi Recipes and process

FIG 3 Recipes and process by the late Glyn Barry Sykes

Leading image source: Crepesoles/

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