Biscuit dunking is as old as time – well, at least 400 years old at any rate. It’s also one of the most divisive and hotly debated of British teatime habits. So what’s the deal with dunking? We investigate.
Editor’s note: Experiments were conducted in the writing of this blog and we highly recommend you carry out your own after reading.
For the uninitiated, what is biscuit dunking?
A biscuit is dipped into a cuppa for a quick soak before being devoured. A well-timed dunk will absorb the hot liquid and remain in tact. A dunking fail will see the biscuit fall to bits and sink to the bottom of the mug.
What are we dunking into?
Tea, of course. Whether English Breakfast, Earl Grey or builders brew is less important but it has to be tea. No true Brit dunks into coffee with the exception of biscotti into espresso when we’re being continental but that’s for another blog.
Why do dunkers do it?
Many reasons. It softens the crumb and gives a beautiful blend of brew and biscuit. It’s an age-old habit. For the thrill of living dangerously – how many times will it dunk before disaster? Some even swear that dunking releases more of the biscuit’s flavour. If you need an excuse, take your pick!
What’s the best technique?
Believe it or not there is a scientific formula for this. While dunking time depends on the biscuit, the theory is to dunk into a full cup at a shallow angle to keep as much of the biscuit top dry.
The perfect dunk should end with a 180-degree biscuit twist so that the soaked side is supported by the dry side. Sound a bit bonkers? Try it and see for yourself.
Which biscuit, well, takes the biscuit?
The best dunking biscuit is a hotly debated topic. Most agree that a rich tea (said to be the Queen’s pre-breakfast biscuit of choice) can really go the distance with a reputed 14-25 dunks before collapse. That’s one committed biscuit!
Digestives (original and chocolate topped), gingernuts and bourbons hold up fairly well while custard creams and hobnobs (sorry Peter Kay are quick to break up.
Bake your own dunking biscuits
Let’s start with the champions, which is probably not a biscuit many of us have tried making. Here’s a really good recipe for rich tea biscuits. And because it’s so satisfying to be able to create that golden cracked top finish at home, these gingernuts are another must bake.
While they may not make the best dunkers, chocolate digestives remain one of the nation’s favourites. Try baking your own with this bang on recipe. Or try this twist on a jammie dodger – apricot snap biscuits. Rumour has it the jam helps the biscuit’s structural integrity when dunked…