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Biscuit, Cookie and Cracker Production
Marie biscuit process guide

Marie is a classic hard sweet biscuit characterised by an even, attractive colour, texture and good volume.

 


Other examples of hard sweet biscuits are Petit Buerre, Rich Tea, Arrowroot, Morning Coffee. Doughs for hard sweet biscuits have the following features:

  1. Doughs have strong, developed gluten which gives an elastic dough, which is sheeted and cut. It often shrinks in the first stage of baking.
  2. Doughs have low sugar and fat
  3. Doughs have water contents typically of around 12%
  4. Biscuits are normally baked on a wire-mesh band (except for Marie which is traditionally baked on a steel band)
  5. Humidity in the first part of the baking is important to achieve good volume and a smooth surface sheen
  6. Biscuits are baked to low moisture contents, around 1.5% – 3.0%

Hard sweet biscuits

Description 
Marie is a classic biscuit made throughout Europe and Asia. It has a light, crisp, delicate texture, with pale colour and clear smooth surface.

Product specification 
Dimensions:                           66.0 mm diam.
Thickness:                                6.0 mm
Weight:                                     8.3 g
Appearance:                          Smooth surface, clear printing
Colour:                                   Pale golden
Texture:                                 Crisp and light
Moisture:                               1.5%

Marie biscuits are made with medium protein flour and contain SMS to develop a soft extensible dough. The doughs are mixed on horizontal mixers to a temperature of 40-42oC. The dough is sheeted and cut and is traditionally baked on a steel band.

Formulation (1) (2)
Flour 100.00 100.00
Cornflour 4.41 4.10
Maize flour 14.70  –
Granulated sugar 25.59 21.67
Invert syrup 80% 7.94 6.67
Butter  – 4.87
Whey powder 1.67
Margarine  – 10.00
Shortening 11.03  –
Lecithin 0.57 0.50
Salt 0.88 0.70
Soda 0.67 0.58
ACP 0.08 0.16
Protease 0.02 0.02
SMS 10% solution 0.02 0.02
Whole liquid egg 3.33
Ammonium bicarbonate 0.73 0.33
Water 26.47 17.95

Recipes 
Recipe (1) is a good standard Marie, Recipe (2) is a higher quality product.

Critical ingredients 

  • flour should not exceed 9.0% protein. Higher protein will result in a hard biscuit.
  • cornflour and maize flour are used to reduce the total gluten content and make a more tender eating biscuit.
  • SMS will modify the protein to make a soft extensible dough.
  • Marie biscuits are made with medium protein flour and contain SMS to develop a soft extensible dough. The doughs are mixed on horizontal mixers to a temperature of 40-42 degrees C. The dough is sheeted and cut and is traditionally baked on a steel band.

Mixing 
An “all in one mix” on a horizontal mixer. Mixing is critical to developing the soft extensible dough. A mixing action which kneads the dough without too much tearing and extruding is ideal. Mixing time on a typical high speed mixer will be 20-25 minutes. Marie doughs are mixed until the required temperature is achieved. The dough should reach 40-42oC. At this temperature it should be well kneaded and of correct consistency for machining. Higher dough temperatures result in unstable doughs. The dough is used straight away without standing and it is important to maintain the temperature.

Forming 
The dough may be laminated, but doughs made with SMS are usually sheeted without lamination. Dough scrap incorporation is very important and should be very even and consistent. The temperature of the scrap dough should be as close as possible to the temperature of the new dough. Dough sheet reduction should be gentle and should not exceed the ratio of 2.5:1.

Typical roll gaps are:

Forcing roll gap on sheeter:                 18.0 mm
Gauging gap on sheeter:                         9.0 mm
1st gauge roll                                              5.7 mm
2nd gauge roll                                             2.5 mm
Final gauge roll                                          1.1 mm  (Cutting thickness: 1.3 mm)

The doughs shrink and require good relaxation before cutting. Separate cutting and printing rolls on the rotary cutter are recommended to achieve good, clear printing and docker holes, (piercing of holes in the dough pieces).

Errebi cutter design

Cutter design for Maria showing the docker pin arrangement. Note the dough piece is cut as an oval shape to compensate for shrinkage during baking. Drawing and design by ErreBi Technology

Baking 
Steam may be used at the oven entry to achieve a high humidity. This will improve the surface finish of the biscuit.

Baking time:               5.0 – 6.5 minutes
Temperatures:            200 / 220 / 180oC
Moisture:                     Less than 1.5%

A hybrid oven is ideal with Direct Gas Fired zones followed by Indirect Radiant or Convection zones. The convection zones will dry the product well and ensure an even bland colour, but care must be taken to ensure a low moisture gradient between the centre of the biscuit and the surface, otherwise the product will be prone to “checking”. Adequate baking and cooling time are required.

DGF IR oven

Baker Pacific Direct Gas Fired/Indirect Radiant oven

Cooling 
A ratio of cooling to baking time should be at least 1.5:1. This will help to avoid checking (cracking of the biscuits after packaging due to an internal moisture gradient).

Ingredient specifications

Flour 
The flour shall be milled from good quality soft wheat, free from infestation and impurities, especially pesticides. The flour shall not be treated with enzymes and shall not contain chemical additives. The appearance shall be a good white colour, free from bran particles. The odour shall be free from mustiness and foreign odours.

Weak flour: Semi-sweet doughs

Starch 74.5
Moisture 14.0
Proteins (gluten forming) 7.0
Proteins (soluble) 1.0
Sugar 2.0
Fat 1.0
Ash (mineral salts) 0.5
   
Total 100.0

Cornflour 
Protein free starch extracted from maize.

Sugar 
The sugar shall be free from impurities and infestation. The appearance shall be a fine, white crystalline solid, free flowing and free from lumps.

The sugar shall have a sweet taste and be free from odours.

Moisture content:       0.06% maximum
Ash content:                0.03% maximum
Particle size:
Caster sugar:         MA = 276 to 300 um  CV = 16 to 26%
Icing sugar:            Maximum held on a 100um sieve 6%
                                  Maximum held on a 60um sieve 13%
                                  Tricalcium phosphate may be added to 1.5% max.

Note: 
MA      Mean aperture
CV       Coefficient of Variation

Invert syrup 70% 
Syrup of 70% solids made by acid hydrolysis of sucrose. The result is a 50:50 mixture of dextrose and fructose which are both reducing sugars and contribute to the Maillard reaction in baking.

Dough fat / Shortening 
The fat shall be free from impurities and appear clean and bright when melted. The fat should be odourless, free from rancid and foreign flavours. The fat should be produced from good quality crude oils by a process of refining, bleaching and deodorising. It should be made primarily from vegetable oils, but it may contain hydrogenated fish oils.

Free fatty acid (as oleic acid)                                      maximum 0.08%
Peroxide value (milli equivalent per kg)                  maximum 1.0 %
Moisture                                                                         maximum 0.1%
Slip melting point (BS 684 1.3 1976) 34 to 37 degrees C.

Butter 
Dairy fat solids obtained from milk and plasticised with 16% water.

Margarine 
A blend of fats, usually vegetable fats, plasticised with 16% water.

Whey powder 
A by-product of cheese. Dried whey is fat free.

Lecithin 
A complex natural surfactant obtained from soya beans

Ammonium bicarbonate (“Vol”) (NH4)HCO
A volatile salt, which, when heated liberates carbon dioxide, ammonia gas and water.

                                                                       Min.                Max.

Ammonium bicarbonate                           99.0%
Heavy lead                                                     0                    10ppm
Arsenic                                                           0                     1ppm
Basic magnesium carbonate                      0.5                      1.0

Sodium bicarbonate

The most important aerating agent. When heated it liberates carbon dioxide and water, leaving sodium carbonate as the residual salt. Sodium carbonate has a softening action on gluten and darkens the biscuit.

If sodium bicarbonate is heated, only half the carbon dioxide is released, but if an acid is present all the carbon dioxide is released and there is no softening action on the gluten or darkening of the colour of the biscuit.

ACP – Acid calcium phosphate 
Acid calcium phosphate is also known as monocalcium phosphate. It is fairly soluble in cold water, but for doughs which are used without standing, a good proportion of the reaction takes place during baking. It is used in conjunction with sodium bicarbonate and ammonium carbonate.

Salt 
Sodium chloride, used as a flavour enhancer and also to control the rate and extent of fermentation.

SMS – Sodium metabisulphite Na2S2O5 
A reducing agent for the modification of the strength of the gluten in doughs

Proteolytic enzyme  
Used to soften the gluten in doughs. A white, fine powder.

Recommended source: Kerry Bioscience

Recommended enzymes: Biobake BSC and Profix 100P

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