Dunking (biscuit)

Dunking (biscuit)

To dunk is to dip biscuit, bread, cake, or doughnut into a beverage, especially tea, coffee, or cold milk as in the popular American snack milk and cookies. Dunking releases more flavour from confections by dissolving the sugars, while also softening their texture.

A popular form of dunking in Australia is the "Tim Tam Slam", also known as "tea sucking". The physics of dunking is driven by the porosity of the biscuit and the surface tension of the beverage. A biscuit is porous and, when dunked, capillary action draws the liquid into the interstices between the crumbs.

In South Africa, dunking is usually reserved for Ouma Rusks.

Dunking is also used as a slang term for intinction: the Eucharistic practice of partly dipping the consecrated bread, or host, into the consecrated wine, either by the officiant before distributing it or by the communicant before receiving it.

Biscuit dunking and popular science

Physicist Len Fisher of the University of Bristol presented some light-hearted discussion of dunking on "National Biscuit Dunking Day", as part of an attempt to make physics accessible. Fisher appeared to be somewhat taken aback by the large amount of media attention, ascribing it to a "hunger for accessible science". Fisher also described his astonishment at journalists' interest in one equation used in the field: Washburn's equation, which describes capillary flow in porous materials. Writing in Nature, he says "the equation was published in almost every major UK newspaper. The journalists who published it took great care to get it right, some telephoning several times to check".


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