Biscuit Dunking with Phil the Test Manager

Going Postal
Select your plunge-pot carefully

The prologue:

“Dunking” is a time honoured tradition amongst the working and lower class, although mistakenly frowned upon by some.  To those who frown, I say to you Sir or madam, get a life!

To achieve the best experience possible, here are a few pointers:

The size of the pot (commonly known as “mug”) is very important. There is nothing worse, (or embarrassing, than having an overly large biscuit and an overly small pot entrance. If you are unsure of the size of your biscuit and your pot entrance, always try a “dry-run” firstly. This simply involves inserting, length ways (vertically), the biscuit into the entrance of the pot. If the biscuit fits, then the pot is going to be a good plunge pot. Please note the pot does not need to be able to embrace the complete biscuit at once, because you do need somewhere to grasp the biscuit with.

Going Postal
Select your dunk-juice carefully

Use tea with milk in it to start with.   Another favourite is hot chocolate or just simply hot milk. It is advised that you never use coffee unless your biscuit selection is specific to coffee dunking.  You must ensure that it is hot enough to melt the biscuit satisfactorily.  (If teaching small children, not too hot please!)

Going Postal
Select your biscuit carefully

If you are a beginner, I would advise not selecting a very hard biscuit such as ginger nuts, as they do not become weak fast enough, meaning that you have to wait longer to enjoy the dunking experience.

Select your company carefully:

If you are a beginner, then the right company can make or break your dunking experience. It has been found that 9 times out of 10, biscuit connoisseurs say that small irritating children should not be present when you take the first plunge.

It is though very important that you teach the little ones the fine art of dunking as soon as they reach about 3 years old.  I have never met a small child who can resist dunking Rich Tea biscuits into warm milky tea.   Buy only the best (McVities) and the oblong ones, not the round ones.  At first they, and you if you are a beginner, will be unsure as to how long to dunk for, to get the optimum experience.  The little ones may even cry when their freshly dunked biscuit is dunked too long and breaks off (a follow-through).  However, when they run out of biscuits to dunk, they can slurp up the dregs from the bottom of the mug.  Adults tend not to like this, as having a follow-through is really a very poor show indeed.

So, how long should I be dunking the various biscuits, in a freshly made mug of tea, with a couple of dashes of semi-skimmed milk, I hear you ask:

How long to dunk for – sorted by dunking time recommendation:

Ginger Nut – Breaking point: 22 seconds
Recommended dunking time: 3 seconds
Delicious if done right, but a very risky game to play.  Also suitable with coffee.

Digestive – Breaking point: 23 seconds
Recommended dunking time: 3.5 seconds
Can be easily hampered by sudden wrist movements.

Rich Tea – Breaking point: 47 seconds
Recommended dunking time: 4 seconds
Anything past four seconds and you will be in follow-through territory.

Chocolate Digestive – Breaking point: 60 seconds
Recommended dunking time: 5.5 seconds
Although it’s more reliable than the chocolate Hobnob, its taste does not compare.

Malted Milk – Breaking point: 76 seconds
Recommended dunking time: 6 seconds
Excellent choice for the little ones

Hobnob – Breaking point: 36 seconds
Recommended dunking time: 6 seconds
Breaking point should be pushed to its limits to achieve a perfectly dunked Hobnob.

Jammie Dodger – Breaking point: 47 seconds
Recommended dunking time: 7 seconds
Another firm Favourite for the little ones, it does require double-dunking to slurp of the biscuit, leaving only the jam, so get them used to single-dunking first, the Jammy Dodger is the best one to start when learning to double-dunk.

Bourbon – Breaking point: 125 seconds
Recommended dunking time: 7.5 seconds
One of those rare biscuits that is suitable for both tea and coffee.

Custard Cream – Breaking point: 125 seconds
Recommended dunking time: 8.5 seconds
Another children’s favourite.

Chocolate Hobnob – Breaking point: 44 seconds
Recommended dunking time: 9 seconds
Dunking chocolate covered ones is a risky business, as the chocolate tends to melt quicker than the biscuit itself, so sometimes requires double-dunking (not recommended for beginners, except for Jammy Dodgers).

Shortbread – Breaking point: 102 seconds
Recommended dunking time: 10 seconds
The shortbread’s weight makes it unreliable; just when you think it’s on your side you get a follow-through disaster.  For advanced connoisseurs only.

Penguins, Club Biscuits etc.

Double-dunking is required, around 1 second (if the tea is hot) will suffice, then the chocolate can be licked off.  A second dunk is then required to soften the actual biscuit.  Really good quality items, such as the Club bars, have a quite a thick layer of chocolate, so there is often a need to double-dunk to get the chocolate off, and then it needs a triple-dunk to soften the biscuit.


Going Postal

Jaffa Cake – Breaking point: 110 seconds, but, if you take into account how long the orange takes to completely dissolve, then as Friend Lefty would say, it literally takes days.

Recommended dunking time: Never.  They are cakes, not biscuits!

I expect everyone has their own favourite. For me, there is nothing better the McVities Rich Tea.  If you buy other brands, then please bear in mind that breaking point and dunking time may vary.

Hopefully with these pointers you will be in a position to dunk, double-dunk and even triple-dunk, but please do not blame me for any follow-throughs.

Phil the test manager ©