Biscuits: Classification, Preparation & Fault Checking
The word biscuit is derived from the French word bis – twice and cuit means baked. It’s a high-calorie (420-510 cal/100 gm) sweet or savory dry flat cake. Flour, sweeteners, milk, leavening agents, and other miscellaneous products are used in the preparation of biscuits. At one time cookies are referred to as small cakes or sweet biscuits.
The English continued to use the word biscuits whereas the Americans began to use the word cookie. Compared to other baked products, cookies have many varieties as there are so many possible textures, shapes, sizes, and flavors. Cookies are the most profitable items produced by any baker. They make an excellent finger food dessert or can be used as a garnish for a dessert. This article helps you to know about the classification, preparation, and fault checking of biscuits/cookies.
Classification of Biscuits/Cookies
Dropping, rolling, cutting out, moulding, and pressing are the steps involved in the formation of cookies. cookie’s classification is based on the shape of dough:
- Bars and Squares
- Drop Cookies
- Rolled Cookies
- Pressed Cookies
- Refrigerator Cookies
- Piped or Bag Cookies
- Moulded or Shaped Cookies
Soft dough with a high percentage of liquid is used for the preparation of bar and drop cookies. The other varieties call for a stiff dough, usually less sweet and often higher in fat content than soft dough.
Preparation of cookies
Preparation of cookies involves mixing and make up methods.
Cookie and cake mixing methods are similar to each other. The major difference is that less liquid is utilized, therefore less gluten. The methods of mixing are:
- One stage method
One Stage method : Here the baker has less control over mixing as all ingredients are mixed at once.
Creaming method: This is similar to cakes creaming methods. A small amount of creaming is desirable as creaming affects the texture, the leavening, and the spread of Cookies.
Sponge Method: This is similar to the egg foam method for cakes. The only difference is the batter should be delicate and because of that small batches of cookies should be maintained.
Make Up Methods:
It’s better to classify cookies and biscuits based on makeup methods as their mixing methods are simple. Different makeup methods are:
- Ice box
Bagged: They are made from soft dough and also called Pressed Cookies. Soft dough is used because it’s forced through a Pastry(piping) bag, but stiff enough to hold its shape. Ex: Butter Buttons.
Dropped: These are also made from soft dough. Using a spoon or a scoop the batter is deposited on a sheet for baking. This method is used to have a rough homemade look, and when the dough is prepared with nuts, dry fruits, chocolate bits, or chips. Ex: Peanut macaroons.
Rolled: This method involves labor, hence Baker’s shop and restaurants don’t prefer it. In this method, Cookies are rolled and then cut with cutters. After cutting the scraps, these are re-rolled, making tough and inferior cookies. It has an advantage – we can make different shapes of cookies of different sizes. Ex: Tricolor biscuits.
Moulded: In this method, each piece of dough is moulded into the desired shape. This usually involves flattening the piece out with a weight(stamp design). Ex: Shrewsbury biscuits.
Icebox: They’re also called Refrigerator Cookies. This is an ideal method for preparing freshly baked cookies. Rolls or dough are kept in the fridge in advance and can be cut and baked as needed. Multicolored Cookies with various designs can be made by this method. Ex: Pinwheel cookies.
Bar: The dough that is baked in long narrow strips are then cut cross wise into bars.
Sheet: This makeup is like sheet cakes. The only difference is cookies are denser and richer.
Note: The cookie should have a uniform size and thickness which is essential for baking. If cookies are to be garnished, it should be done immediately on panning. Press them gently when still fresh, If not, the surface will dry up.
- A major precaution is they should be quickly mixed and never over-processed.
- Roll the dough directly on the baking sheet, Remove the scraps after cutting into desired shapes.
- If cookies are stick to the pan, put the pan back into the oven for few seconds. This loosens the cookies easily.
- A careful selection of the purest spices, extracts, and flavorings will assure delicious cookies.
- The type of flour used for cookies can vary from flours of medium strength to soft texture. Strong flours are not recommended for making cookies.
Fault Checking Of Biscuits
1. Lack of Spread:
- Too fine sugar granulation
- Adding sugar at one time
- Excessive mixing
- Too hot oven temperature
- Too much acidity in the dough
2. Excess of Spread:
- Excessive sugar
- Too soft batter consistency
- Excessive pan grease
- Too low oven temperature
- Excessive or improper type of shortening
3. Tough Cookies:
- Insufficient shortening
- Flour too strong
- Over handling
4. Sticking to Pans:
- Too soft dough
- Excessive egg content
- Unclean Pans
5. Black Spots and Harsh Crumbs:
- Excessive ammonia
Sometimes we want cookies to be crisp and sometimes to be soft. some to hold their shape and the others to spread. In order to produce different characteristics, and to correct faults, it is useful to know what causes these basic traits.
- Crispness: Cookies are crisp if they’re low in moisture.
- Low proportion of liquid, so stiff dough
- High sugar and fat content
- Baking long enough to reduce moisture
- Small sizes or thin shapes
- Proper storage
2. Softness: This texture is opposite to sweetness.
- A high proportion of liquid
- Low sugar and fat content
- Use of honey and molasses
- Short baking times
- Proper storage
- Large sizes or thick shapes
3. Chewiness: Moisture is necessary for chewiness
- High sugar and liquid content
- A high proportion of egg
- Strong flour
4. Spread: This feature is desirable in some types of cookies while others must hold their shape
- High sugar content increases the spread. Coarse sugar increases the sugar while fine sugar reduces the spread.
- Baking soda and ammonia increases spread
- Low temperature increases the spread
- Excess liquid(slack batter) will increase the spread
- Strong flour decreases the spread.
- Spread is more on a heavily greased tray.
- Creaming the fat and sugar contributes to leavening by incorporating air and therefore increases spread. Just blending fat and sugar into a paste reduces spread.
- The word biscuit is derived from the French word bis – twice and cuit means baked. It’s a high-calorie (420-510 cal/100 gm) sweet or savory dry flat cake.
- Cookies are the most profitable items produced by any baker. They make an excellent finger food dessert or can be used as a garnish for a dessert.
- Dropping, rolling, cutting out, moulding, and pressing are the steps involved in the formation of cookies. cookie’s classification is based on the shape of the dough.
- Soft dough with a high percentage of liquid is used for the preparation of bar and drop cookies.
- The other varieties call for a stiff dough, usually less sweet and often higher in fat content than the soft dough.
- Preparation of cookies involves mixing and make-up methods.
- Cookie and cake mixing methods are similar to each other. The major difference is that less liquid is utilized, therefore less gluten. The methods of mixing are One stage method, Creaming, sponges.
- It’s better to classify cookies and biscuits based on makeup methods as their mixing methods are simple. Different makeup methods are Bagged, Dropped, Rolled, Moulded, Icebox, Bar, Sheet.
- The cookie should have a uniform size and thickness which is essential for baking. If cookies are to be garnished, it should be done immediately on panning. Press them gently when still fresh, If not, the surface will dry up.
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