Cookie Formulation

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Cookie Formulation Posted bydanielle on Tuesday, July 12 @ 21:46:25 PDT Contributed by danielle Producing cookies of the same size and texture, time after time, depends on the methods used to mix the dough, the ingredients and the baking conditions.

Cookies Formulation It's Cereal Science Named ‘small cakes’: ‘koekjes’ by the Dutch, and called biscuits by Europeans, there is a vast repertoire of cookie varieties. Similar to cakes in ingredients and production methods, the main difference is the much lower level of liquid. Most cookie doughs must be stiff enough to maintain their shape as they are baked without a mold. The four basic cookie ingredients: flour, sugar, fat and water, and their balance with one another, determine the characteristics of the baked cookie. The ratio of each ingredient to the flour and the method of mixing and baking determine crispness, moistness, chewiness and spread. A slight change in make-up can completely change the textural characteristics of the baked cookie. Baked cookies are nearly the same size and thickness as the unbaked dough. The slight increase in width and height, called the spread, is the single biggest factor in controlling product consistency. Spread happens in the oven and is the most frequent cause of variation in cookie quality. Crispness: A crisp cookie is a thin, rather than bulky, mass. High fat levels contribute to machinability and ease of handling. It contains granulated sugar and the bake is sufficiently long to dry the cookie. It is typically a stiff dough with a low moisture content. The cookie must be stored tightly sealed so it will not absorb moisture from the air.

Softness: Made from a moist dough, low in sugar and fat, and possibly with a proportion of invert sugar to absorb and retain moisture. The mass of the cookie will be greater than a crisp cookie and the bake will be lighter. Storage to retain moisture is important. Chewiness: Created from high liquid and sugar content, but with a low fat level. Eggs are the primary liquid and a percentage of strong flour contributes to chewiness. Cookies are usually classified by the

kind of equipment

used to form the individual cookie

pieces and place them on the baking surface. Equipment, that is, the depositing method, strongly influences the size and texture of the finished product, which likewise limits the variations which can be created. The choice of depositing method determines the ingredient levels and the mixing method appropriate for each formula. Several methods are used to mix cookies. For all methods, all ingredients are normally at room temperature: 70°F/21°C, and the dough temperature is between 70° and 90°F/2132°C. The single stage method: all ingredients are added at once, mixed with the paddle at low speed, scraped down as needed. The dry ingredients may be mixed together first, then the liquids and fats added until the flour is moistened. Overmixing can be a problem in single stage mixing as creating an homogenous mixture sometimes leads to long mix times. Mixing which does not achieve an homogenous dough can cause sticking to the baking sheet, a sugary crust, toughness, lack of cohesiveness (crumbliness), too much spread or not enough spread. Consistency is related to fat distribution in the dough, which affects the availability of the flour to hydration. Creaming (or multi-stage) method: the fat is mixed with the sugar, salt and minor dry ingredients. After blending the sugar and fat, the eggs and liquid are added, and then, as there is a limited quantity of liquid, the flour is incorporated all at once. Of great importance is the amount of creaming of the fat and sugar: if it is well creamed, until the mixture is light, fluffy, and pale in color, air is incorporated into the mixture and will

cause the dough to rise in the oven. Blending to an homogenous paste, without incorporating air, creates a denser cookie. Some formulae call for the creaming to be merely a blend, others to cream until light and airy. The stage of creaming appropriate for each formula must be respected or the cookie will change in size and texture. Sponge method: the eggs and sugar are whipped together, then the remaining ingredients are folded in. Variations in the stage of whipping and choice of ingredients determine the final texture. Automated operations may use a continuous method. Understanding the effects of the mixing method can aid in obtaining products that vary minimally in size and shape. Cookie dough is


therefore the baker must still

watch the dough during mixing and carefully monitor its development. Cookie dough rheology is influenced and determined by moisture level, processing or mixing method, baking time and temperature, and ingredient levels and specifications. Cookie dough is cohesive dough, with minimal elasticity and extensibility. In cookies the gluten network formation of the flour/water system is minimized, or even eliminated, by the high quantity of sugar and fat. The dough becomes cohesive and plastic without depending on the protein network in the flour. This brief mixing also produces a tender cookie. If the mixing is done in several steps, the amount of total mixing time to achieve an homogenous dough can be decreased. The characteristics of the ingredients playing the most important role in cookie structure and texture are: Flour: As the moisture


of flour changes from shipment to shipment (especially if a baker

uses several suppliers) this is one area where the judgment of the baker is critical to controlling the final consistency of the dough. Ranges of more than 0.5% are common in flour shipments. For example: 100 lbs. of flour at 13% moisture contains 87# of dry

solids. If the flour has 15% moisture, it will contain just 85# of dry solids, requiring a 2lb. difference in liquid needed to produce a dough the same consistency as that made with a flour at 13% moisture. Since cookie doughs are very dry (2-4% moisture range),

starch damage

must be

minimized for cookie flours. Its ash content: The ash content is a measure of the amount of bran present in the milled flour (the bran is burned: the minerals in the bran remain as ashes, quantifying the mineral content of the bran). The minerals in the bran cause uneven handling characteristics, and darker color. This will play a major role in cookies formulated on whole wheat flour. Optimal ash content is 0.415%, with the range: 0.33-0.47% Its protein level: The cohesiveness of the dough is promoted by the typically high sugar/fat ratios in cookies. The fat coats the flours’ gluten, preventing hydration of the flour, the first step in developing a gluten structure. Cookie dough mixing, therefore, does not develop the protein network in the flour. Wheat type and treatment: Cookie flour is normally milled from soft wheat. Including a percentage of hard wheat (bread) flour will tighten the structure and inhibit cookie spread. Cake flour, also from soft wheat, is normally chlorine bleached. Chlorination makes the gluten protein fraction less extensible and more resistant to extension. Sugar: Sugar plays a major role in appearance, flavor, and forming texture. Sugar helps tenderize the crumb and color its crust. Sugar will compete with other ingredients for the water in the dough, so high sugar doughs tend to be more fluid, less viscous. This characteristic

also hampers the hydration of the protein in the flour, preventing the starch from gelatinizing; the structure therefore becomes more tender. Too much sugar will promote excess spreading, crumbliness and toughness; the cookies may stick to the pans and have an uneven, sugary crust. Too much sugar will also mask other flavors in the dough, while too little sugar will produce a tough, tight cookie, pale in color, lacking in spread. More finely grained sugar dissolves readily; larger grains dissolve less readily. Generally, about half of the sugar dissolves into solution during mixing, the remainder stays crystalline until it is dissolved during baking. Dissolved sugar increases the volume of solution in the dough (causing a stickier dough with less ease of handling). Thus, specifying the granulation size may control a degree of cookie spread. Sugar type: Sucrose

is the ordinary sugar we use at the table.


will harden and crispen the

cookie as it recrystallizes from solution when it cools. This will make the cookie brittle. Some cookies, such as snap cookies, depend on this characteristic. Glucose,



a main constituent of HFCS, is less sweet than sucrose. with glucose, is the main constituent of HFCS.



molecule, when broken into its constituents,




is called


HFCS is the most commonly used


sugar; it is produced from corn starch.


being sweeter, allows the baker to use less, while still maintaining the sweetness level. HFCS is available in various sweetness ratio, compared to



ratios: 42, 55 or 90% dry basis. The

at 100 is: 42% HFCS: 90-95 (thus 42 HFCS may

replace sugar on an equal weight basis), 55% HFCS: 95-100, and 90% HFCS: 100-130. Replacing a portion of granulated sugar with HFCS has limited application, as the added moisture in the corn syrup must be deducted from the liquid added to the dough. A percentage up to 20% of the


or solid sugars may be replaced with HFCS or invert

sugar to produce a softer cookie, if the formula allows that much liquid. Studies show that 100% dissolved the



produces a sticky, unmanageable dough. Replacing 50% of

with HFCS also produces a comparable sticky, unmanageable dough unless

the water is likewise reduced 17.7-22.7% (FWB), Liquid sugars are normally sucrose, invert or brown types. Honey is mostly an


sugar. Its sweetness level ranges according to the nectar from

which it is derived. It is typically 41%




18% water and 2%


with a pH of 3.8-4.2. Brown sugars: Brown sugars are products of specific stages of the refining process of cane sugar and are graded by color, with a wide range of grades from light to dark. They have a distinctive, caramel, flavor and are usually cheaper than white sugar. Total solids content ranges from 70 – 80%, 50 – 75% as a combination of sucrose and invert sugars. Fat: The type of fat affects the handling abilities of the dough but seems not to affect the spread of cookies. A hard fat in the dough system will spread as much in the oven as a softer dough made with a higher oil content fat. Fat has a limited role in cookie spread, especially at the lower levels. However, the ratio of fat to sugar plays a huge role. At a 50% sugar level (FWB), an increase of butter from 40 to 50% increases spread from 4.2 to 6.2. At an 80% sugar level, increasing the butter again from 40 to 50% increases the spread much less dramatically: from 8.2 to 8.7. Clearly, the higher sugar level contributes more to the spread than the increased fat level. When the dough is mixed, the water and the fat compete to combine with the surface of the flour particles. If the fat coats the flour, the formation of the gluten membrane is broken. If the fat level is very high, the dough becomes lubricated and little or no moisture is needed to handle the resulting dough. Increased fat levels soften the baked

cookie, but an excess will make it too soft or crumbly. Insufficient fat will make the cookie hard and dry. The melting temperature of the fat establishes the state the fat is in and its ability to adhere to the flour particles during mixing. For this reason, the fat must be lower in temperature than its melting point (68-75°F/20-24°C for butter) and significantly lower if high levels of butter are used. Moisture: Variations in dough consistency are the major source of dough size and spread problems. a liquid dough will spread more than a tight dough. The baker must become familiar with the proper ‘feel’ of each dough during and at the end of the mixing stage: differences are nearly always due to moisture level variations . A different consistency, due to varying moisture level, in turn plays a role in the spread of the cookie. A cookie that crumbles lacks the internal structure to keep its shape. The moisture in the dough is provided through the sugar, the fat, and the eggs and milk, if used. Eggs provide both liquid and structure. Eggs used as a liquid prevent crumbliness. Water is seldom the liquid specified in the formula, and if water is added to the dough, studies have shown that an increase in water does not change the width of the cookie. However a decrease in water will make the cookie less high. Too little liquid will produce a hard, dry cookie, stale before its time. Ingredients playing accessory roles in forming the final product are: Leavening: Baking soda shows a rapid increase in spread when the levels are increased between 0% and 0.5% (FWB). Between 0.5% and 1.1% very little change occurs, and over 1.1% there is again a very rapid increase in spread. Thickness is affected in a similar manner. Leaveners alter the pH of the dough. When the correct pH has been determined it must be maintained as it is critical in spread control. An excess of baking powder or soda contributes to crumbliness and possibly a metallic taste. Color increases with higher levels of leavening.

Particulates: Fruit and nuts added to the cookie dough can affect the degree to which it spreads. Cookie structure is also affected by the baking conditions. A too generously greased pan will cause the cookies to spread during baking; a flour dusting will control spread from this cause. Too high a bake temperature will set the cookie prematurely creating a small, dense cookie. Over baking will dry out the desired moisture from the cookie, and underbaking will leave the cookie doughy in the center: it won’t have the typical ‘crumb’ of a cookie. An underbaked cookie is pale and overly soft. The factors most often culpable for excessive cookie spread are: -Moisture level of dough excessive. -High levels of fat and sugar, or sugar too finely granulated. -Bake too gentle, heat too low. -Overcreaming or overmixing. To control excess cookie spread look at the ingredients, their levels, and their interactions with one another. Possible solutions include: -Decrease liquid. -Increase size of sugar granulation. -Decrease sugar level, or decrease sugar/fat level. -Decrease creaming time at mixer. -Add eggs as an emulsifier. -Replace 2.5-10% of the cookie flour with chlorinated cake flour or with bread flour.

-Increase development of the gluten in the bread flour. High protein flour, or developing the gluten in the flour during mixing, will cause the cookie to maintain its shape and spread less than a flour of weak protein or no gluten development. -Use flour with less damaged starch. -Increase bottom heat at bake. -Flour dust the greased pan. -Decrease leavening. Principal causes of inadequate cookie spread: -High levels of added fruits and nuts. -Dough too dry. -Bake temperature too high. Principal solutions for inadequate cookie spread: -Increase fat level. -Increase sugar level. -Increase leavening. -Close oven vents at beginning of bake. -Cream butter and sugar more thoroughly -Lower bake temperature, especially bottom heat. -Use more finely granulated sugar. -Replace of portion of granulated sugar with invert sugar.

-Use lower protein level flour (cookie flour). -Increase leavening. Ingredient levels for a typical deposit or wire cut cookie, or for the artisan baker, range as follows: Flour Sugar

100% 35-108 Invert sugar 0-6 Fat 50-60 -a lower amount is appropriate for rolled and cut cookie doughs Baking Powder Soda Cream of Tartar Salt NFDM Eggs, whole Water -less for molded cookies Particulates

0-0.75 0.75-1 0-0.5 1-1.5 0-2 0-33 0-20 15-66

A cookie formula must be properly balanced to enhance the flavors showcased in the formula, to well present its texture, and to optimize its shelf life. An unbalanced formula can be cloyingly sweet, possess an ‘off’ flavor from the fat, be doughy or floury, lack color and appeal, be too soft, too dry, or too crumbly to maintain its shape, or be too hard at the bite. Bibliography: Bright, H., Vetter, J.L., Utt, M., McMaster, G., "Effect of Sugar and Mixing Variables on Cookie Spread", AIB Research Dept. Technical Bulletin, Manhattan, KN, April 1983.

Faridi, Hamed, "Application of Rheology to Cookie and Cracker Industry", draft presented to Dough Rheology and Baked Products Texture Workshop, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KN, August 1987. Gisslen, Wayne, "Professional Baking", Second Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 1994. Matz, Samuel A., "Formulas and Processes for Baker", Pan-Tech International, McAllen, TX, 1987. Stauffer, Clyde E., "Factors Controlling Cookie Spread", Baking Industry, July 1987.

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