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Nutrition, Science

Which is the Best Biscuit to Dunk?

It’s one of the nation’s most enjoyed pleasures: enjoying a cup of tea whilst dunking a biscuit. Apparently 9 out of 10 of us do it while at work. So which is the best biscuit to enjoy during your tea break? Believe it or not, there’s some serious science behind it. I decided to investigate and conduct my own very special experiments…

The consensus in the office was that the Rich Tea was the best biscuit for dunking. Rumour has it that the recipe was changed a couple of years ago to make it better for dunking. During the half term break, as a means of keeping myself sane from the seemingly endless paperwork I conducted my very own experiments in the lunch breaks (I must have been missing the teaching)…

Take a moment before you watch this ground-breaking experiment: Which is do you think is the best biscuit? Hobnob, gingernut, custard cream, chocolate digestive or rich tea?

Which will last the longest?

Place your bets now…

Surprised with the results? Or just laughing at my stupidity?

But what about you? What’s your favourite biscuit?

  

 

The Science of Dunking

I’m not the first person to try this experiment; if you search the internet you will find dozens of sites devoted to this ‘art’. Britain’s obsession with dunking has even infiltrated academic institutions: researchers at Bristol University devoted a team of scientists to calculating the best way to dunk a biscuit: They produced mathematical formulae and made all sorts of ‘exciting’ discoveries. If you can understand it, you can read the full article here.

Here’s some biscuit dunking trivia to tickle your taste buds:

  • Surveys consistently show that the Chocolate Digestive is the most popular biscuit for dunking
  • The fat droplets present in the milk in tea enhances the flavour of the biscuit by up to 11 times!
  • One in five dunks ends in disaster (the biscuit breaks)
  • The optimal time for dunking gingernuts and hobnobs is no more than three seconds
  • The layer of chocolate on a chocolate digestive helps hold it together
  • The biscuit appreciation society say that selecting an appropriately sized mug is the most important decision to make in dunking

Still fascinated by biscuit dunking?

UPDATE – these experiments were repeated in a slightly more scientific fashion. You can read a newer biscuit dunking post here

If you want to read more on this fascinating subject, you can read an article by physicist Len Fisher all about the science here.

Further reading:

  • Dr Karl Kruszelnicki’s (featured in ‘World’s Stupidest Scientists’) writes all about the physics of biscuit dunking here.
  • Recent biscuit dunking survey as reported in the Telegraph.
  • Visit the Biscuit Appreciation Society here to learn everything you could possibly ever want to know about biscuits.
  • BBC News ran a similar (but far less scientific) test on a new super-dunking biscuit – watch it here
  • A good book about biscuit dunking and the science of everyday life is Len Fischer’s “How to Dunk A Doughnut” (find it on Amazon here)
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About Stuart Farrimond

I love writing about science and health subjects. Strange, because I also teach the same things. I trained as a medical doctor before turning my hand to other things. Shortlisted for The Guardian/Observer for Science Writer of the Year 2011 and editor for Guru Magazine I also like to grow large pumpkins...

Discussion

11 thoughts on “Which is the Best Biscuit to Dunk?

  1. Fascinating subject. I do wonder if the time of 20 seconds is infact too lengthy. I feel folks would possibly only dunk for between 2-5 seconds – unless engaged in a mind boggling conversation which leads to severe distraction of the dunking process.
    I do neither as I hate tea and like the crispy biscuit. I would however dunk a hob nob or choccy digestive in hot chocolate [several in fact] on a cold night, as a cheering up process to access some quick carbs.
    Not stupid Stuart, but completely barking. Nice to see the lighter side of things now I don’t appear to have any teaching left after the full cost course initiations. If you need a barking assistant, perhaps I could apply. Cheers. Jill

    Posted by Jill Hillman | November 1, 2010, 1:13 pm
    • Thanks Jill!

      Count yourself as a candidate! I may be recruiting you for my Christmas ‘crazy scientist’ experiment! (yet to be decided but am open to suggestions)

      After doing the experiment, I did realise that 20 seconds was far too long for a dunk… Oh, well. I have also had many ‘friends’ pointing out numerous errors in my methods! Still, a good excuse to have some fun in the name of science…

      Personally, I prefer to do my dunking in coffee. For hot chocolate, marshmallows and cream are a personal favourate 🙂

      Posted by Stuart Farrimond | November 1, 2010, 4:04 pm
  2. A crazy scientist experiment? I shall look forward to that! Over the years I have experimented a good deal with colour, paint and mixed media – without of course the ‘scientific’ input – I’ll give it some thought and meanwhile I too, remain open to suggestions!

    Posted by Jill Hillman | November 1, 2010, 6:06 pm
  3. nice video and bits of trivia; really quite interesting!

    Posted by maddy thomson | November 12, 2010, 11:34 am
  4. I can’t believe I’m saying this but its not so much the length of the dunking as the effect the dunking has…

    Posted by Season Junkie | April 28, 2012, 5:40 pm
  5. [Comment removed – direct advertising]

    Posted by Andrew Tinsley | December 23, 2012, 4:59 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Open Laboratory 2010 – the final stretch! | A Blog Around The Clock - November 29, 2010

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