Oreo dunking! My favourite, and probably most guilty, of pleasures! To any Americans and Canadians reading this, you’re probably laughing at the fact I’m doing a blog post talking about the simple love of dunking an Oreo. Even my fellow Brits are probably well versed in the process and it’s loveliness.
However, what I’m actually hoping to achieve here is to demonstrate that even with something as simple as putting an Oreo in milk can be questioned in some way, so we can develop and improve the process. Plus I get to eat a pack of Oreos and pretend it’s science 😀
So I start with my Oreos. My beautiful, delicious Oreos (disclaimer: this blog is not sponsored by Oreo, I promise!), plus a saucer of milk (at least enough milk to cover a whole Oreo).
Then I break the Oreo into 4 pieces (which usually ends up as 5-6 pieces and a lot of crumbs…).
Then it’s Oreo dunking time! Throw all the pieces into the milk. I’m a nerd and I actually time this – 15 seconds. It is critical it is at least 15 seconds!
When the clock strikes 15, spoon out and enjoy! It should be just the right amount of soft while still having the slightest amount of bite still in it. As the time progresses between the eating of each of the quarters, the biscuit gets softer. This gives some texture variations which add to the whole experience.
So in with the Whys!
Why Oreos? Do other biscuits work? Mainly because Oreos are awesome! But also because their slightly bitter, slightly darker chocolate, but still high in sugar content, really mixes with the milk very well. In my mind, it’s like adding dark chocolate to milk to make it milk chocolate. This process could work with other biscuits, but I don’t think digestive or rich tea really go with milk in the same way. The nearest you’re coming is with a bourbon cream, but I don’t find the chocolate in the biscuit rich or bitter enough.
Why break it up into 4 pieces? This is to increase the surface area so we can speed up the softening process. Doing an entire Oreo in one hit takes much longer, and is more difficult to predict the softening time. Dunking an entire biscuit also softens the edges too much while leaving the middle too hard (in my opinion). Smaller pieces soften faster, but are then harder to fish out before they get too soft.
Why 15 seconds? Purely personal preference! This could make it too soft for some people, or not soft enough for others. I like a very slight bite to still be in the biscuit, but mostly soft.
Double cream Oreos? I tried the double cream Oreo versions and it works just as well. However I feel the double cream brought little extra to the party, so in theory you’re just losing precious biscuit per pack.
Why milk? Chocolate and milk have a very natural affinity with each other (hence milk chocolate!), so this was always going to work. The cream filling is very similar to milk flavour anyway. Would this work with other liquids? Only a test will tell!
I lined up 3 milk saucers: semi-skimmed (reduced-fat) milk; soya milk; almond milk. Then I indulged in my favourite 20 second pastime, and logged the results.
The results! (Based entirely on my own preferences, I must add)
Semi-skimmed milk: Worked just as well as full fat milk, but took slightly longer to soften, +2-4 seconds. The taste was just as good, and drinking the leftover milk was enjoyable.
Soya milk: Much harder @ 15 seconds. Softened adequately by about 25+ seconds. Pleasant taste, but also a different taste to the milk (seemed slightly sourer). Drinking the leftover milk wasn’t great, but not entirely unpleasant. The sour-ish flavour put me off a bit.
Almond milk: Almost totally hard still @ 15 seconds, and took well over 30 seconds to reach optimum softness. It’s accompanying flavour was not good, tasted like slightly off milky water, and I didn’t even finish drinking the leftover milk – it put me off. I had to have another full fat milk Oreo afterwards to make myself feel better (oh such a burden!).
Now I expected the flavour differences, but I didn’t anticipate the wild variations in the timings. I did some research and found that biscuits are largely compiled of starch, fat, and sugar molecules. Dunking them dissolves the sugar, and thus loosens the starch molecules considerably. Does the fat in the biscuit also play a part with the fat in the milks? Soya and almond milk certainly have less fat in them. When dunking a biscuit into hot tea, the heat is what tends to melt the biscuit fats (hence dunking in hot tea is a far briefer affair), so this doesn’t fully explain it. My experiment was far from scientific, though. A much more robust test would use a pressure gauge to measure the softness of the biscuit – it could be my very own bias that thought almond and soya milks took longer to soften the biscuit. Answers on a postcard please!
Other considerations: flavoured milk (strawberry, banana, or chocolate milkshake spring to mind), licking away the cream before the dunk, heating the milk.