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Asked on 16.03.2021.

Lab scale: marie biscuits


I am doing lab scale marie biscuits. But i have never seen how the marie biscuit dough looks like especially right after mixing. Is it supposed to be dough like or crumbly like? Would like to have advice or sharing on the below.

Recipe (all in method, chemicals are not predissolved with water). T= temperature of ingredients, room temperature = 30-32degC: 

Flour 100% (soft wheat 8-9% protein, T= 29-32degC), water 26.4% (T=32-35degC), sugar granulated 24%, shortening 12%, salt 0.63%, ammonium bicarbonate 0.27%, sodium bicarbonate 0.5%, SMS 0.09%, soya lecithin (Liquid) 0.13%

Mixing (planetary mixer 20L bowl with hook, all in method):

Speed 1: 2min (till form a lump)

Speed 2: 10min (till achieve 40-42degC)

The dough looks like the below picture. Is it a correct marie biscuit dough texture?

I have checked the dough texture at Speed 2 5th min, 7th min and 10th min. All are similar, just that there's an increase in temperature and softness of dough.

Sheeting (after mixing, directly go for sheeting without rest. 2 types of sheeting done):

1. Without layering (sheet to actual thickness of 1.5mm, perforate with pizza docker, and manually stamp to round shape)

2. With 4 layers (sheet to actual thickess of 2mm, book fold twice, sheet to actual thickness 1.5mm, perforate, stamp)

Baking (3 tier deck oven, top 220degC, bottom 210degC, 10sec steam, 5.5min baking, using perforated tray).

Additional questions:

1. Colour after baking seems uneven. How can we make the colour more even?

2. There are tiny brown spots on the surface of biscuits. Is it due to undissolved chemicals? Which chemical specifically?

3. Texture of marie biscuits very hard. Is it correct to increase dosage of ammonium bicarbonate to get the soft texture? If yes, how much to add in total (baker's %)? Any other methods to increase softness of biscuits?

4. Is 10sec steam during initial baking is enough to get the sheen or longer steaming time is needed? Other than giving sheen, what other function does steam have?

5. No resting after mixing. Is it okay? What is the purpose of resting the dough? Is the dough let rest in a bulk ball shape or make into dough slab and rest?

6. Is the lamination method correct?

Thank you in advance for your help ?



Answered on 18.03.2021.

Hi Amye,

You need to take care when mixing the SMS as it is very reactive with the Sodium Bicarbonate and the Ammonia probably causing premature reaction which will lead to thin biscuits and hardness. I would make the SMS into a 10% solution and add this to the dough after the dough has formed

lamination of Marie doughs isn’t essential as industrially these biscuits can be made without laminating

Andrew Hughes

Answered on 18.03.2021.

Hi Amye

The use of steam also isn’t required and may in fact result in thinner biscuits so I would try baking without steam

Sodium Bicarbonate is quite soluble if you use the fine grade and is often added dry to the flour rather than dissolved However if specs of this material are left undissolved in the dough they will cause localised browning as this material is high in pH and the Maillard reaction is pH sensitive

Answered on 18.03.2021.

Hi Amye

Two other points I forgot to mention

The Ammonium Bicarbonate should be dissolved in water as it is normally quite granular and may form blisters on the dough surface if added dry.

Perforated trays are designed for use in a convection oven not normally a deck oven as the metal is usually very thin and made often from Aluminium which transfers the heat rapidly to the dough piece causing it to set before it has a chance to expand. Potentially use a spacer under the tray or bake on a heavy steel tray.

Answered on 19.03.2021.

Dear Amye

If you are adding milk powder without reconstituting there are chances of that brown particles on the top of the biscuit.  Either you add reconstituted milk at the ratio of 1:1 with water or you can add direct milk and reduce the water accordingly.

Answered on 22.03.2021.

Hi Amye.

Its quite difficult to prevent the Ammonia from reacting prior to baking however there are a few procedures I would recommend you try.

Firstly its important to dissolve the Ammonia because it is quite granular and needs to be dissolved or you may see small blisters on the surface. 

Most industrial manufactures don't use an "all in" mixing method as you have done  instead they use a 2 or 3 step process such as - fat & sugars are creamed together , add water and any solutions (not SMS) and cream all together, add the flour and mix until the dough forms a ball, then add the SMS solution and mix on high speed to 40 or 42C. Mixing the ammonia solution into the fat may result in some encapsulation preventing the ammonia reacting too early

Answered on 23.03.2021.

Dear Amye

In Marie kind of variants premature reaction of Ammonia will not happen usually.  In crackers where sugar is less and biscuit also very thin there are chances that ammonia react due to heat and releases the gas which will increase the biscuit size as required by us.  So here in crackers acidulants like acp or sapp is added to control pH as well control release of gases in the running oven.  Ammonia will start work only in the presence of heat.  So if you are doing on stationary oven you need to adjust the heat accordingly or increase the heat slowly when time passes by so you control release of Ammonia.

Answered on 25.03.2021.

Hi Amy’s,

You have already received good advice and some of it appears to have helped.

My comments based on the photos of your most recent trials would be that in using SMS to improve the machinability of the dough you may be limiting the bulk or volume of the baked biscuit.   You may want to reduce the SMS a little and use a little more water to maintain a nice working sheet.  If you do this you will probably want to let the dough stand for 15-20 minutes before sheeting.  SMS can be added dry, preferably on top of the flour, or as has previously been suggested in a 10% solution.   If using in solution, the solution should be no more than 5 hours old as it will start to degrade after that time.

I would also be inclined to reduce the number of docker holes you have and try to keep them evenly spaced and away from the outer edges.    Also allow your dough sheet to relax for a minute or two before cutting as this will maintain a better shape on the baked biscuit.

Finally , it is always difficult to replicate the baking conditions in a static oven but if you have no other option try to bake on a wire tray if possible.  Even a perforated  tray will result in too much bottom heat.   

Marie type products are very difficult to replicate on bench scale or test bakery type equipment.  If possible try a small scale trial on a full plant even if you don’t have appropriate cutters.  Any shape will do to assess texture and volume.

Good luck


Answered on 19.03.2021.

Great insight, Srinivasan. 

Will try it out and share the result :)

Answered on 21.03.2021.

Hi, Mr. Andrew.

How can I avoid premature reaction of Ammonia Bicarbonate? 



Answered on 24.03.2021.

Hi, Mr. Srinivasan.

You are right. Milk powder is the culprit for the brown spots. I totally removed the milk powder from my recipe and the brown spots just disappeared!! Thank you for the advice.


Amye :)

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