Crackers for cheese: process and recipes from the late Glyn Sykes

 1. Cream Crackers






Cream Crackers


The cream cracker was first developed in Ireland by Joseph Haughton in 1885 and manufactured by William Jacob in a small bakery. Jacob’s remain a popular brand in UK and Ireland. The brand is now owned by Pladis.


Cream crackers are usually eaten with butter, cheese and other savoury toppings. They are now widely consumed in South America, Asia and Australasia. Popular brands are Arnotts, Khong Guan, Hup Seng, Hwa Tai, Maliban, Mayora (Roma), Britannia Biscuits, Bakers of Durban. Malaysian cream crackers, originally made with many laminations on manual dough brakes with filling between the laminations and oil sprayed, are distinctive.

Product specification

                                                    (1)                               (2)

Dimensions:                             68 x 66 mm                   66 x 66 mm

Thickness:                                6.4 mm                           6.3 mm

Weight:                                      7.7g                                 8.3g

Appearance:                             Evenly blistered

Colour:                                      Pale cream or darker biscuit colour with dark blisters

Texture:                                    Open and flaky, with a crisp bite

Flavour:                                    Mild, rich flavour

Moisture:                                 1.5 – 2.5%


Ingredient list:

Wheat flour, palm oil, salt, sodium bicarbonate, yeast.

Recipe 1

Flour, strong 100.000
Vegetable fat 15.200
Sugar fine 1.400
Yeast fresh 1.400
Malt extract 1.000
Salt 1.150
Sodium bicarbonate 0.060
Water at 32oC 4.400
Water to adjust dough temp. 26.000
Fat flour dusting
Flour, strong 100.000
Vegetable fat 34.000
Salt 2.000


Dough Mixing on a Horizontal High Speed Mixer

  1. Make a suspension of the yeast and water at 32oC
  2. In the mixer bowl, add the fat, sugar, malt, salt and remaining water. Mix on slow speed for 2 minutes
  3. Add flour and sodium bicarbonate. Mix on slow speed for 3 minutes and then on high speed until the dough is clear
  4. Transfer the dough to a tub and prove for 4 hours at 32oC and an RH of 70-80%. Finished dough temperature 29oC – 30oC pH 5.8 – 6.2


Preparation of the fat/flour for dusting

The fat should be in a plastic state at 20oC or less. Care should be taken to avoid oiling when mixing with the flour.

Mix for 10-20 minutes depending on the temperature of the mixing room.

After mixing, sieve the mixture and store at 2 – 3oC for 24 hours before use



6 laminations with the fat/flour mixture between the laminations

Add 18kg of fat/flour dusting to 100kg of dough



Direct Gas Fired oven. Traditionally cream cracker was baked on an open 5 x 5 mesh oven band.

Baking time:                   3.5 – 4 minutes

Baking profile:               300 / 290 / 270 / 270 / 270oC

Final moisture content:   1.5 – 2.5%


Recipe 2

Flour, strong 50.000
Flour, medium 50.000
Shortening 14.268
Malt extract 3.571
Yeast, fresh 1.417
Salt 1.787
Sugar, fine 1.429
Sodium bicarbonate 0.087
Water 28.600


2. Puff crackers








Puff crackers


Puff  crackers are light, open and flaky. Sweet crackers may be dusted with sugar before baking to give a glazed surface.





Butter puff crackers


Product specification

Dimensions:                                       68 – 69 mm diameter

Thickness:                                          10 mm

Weight:                                               10 g

Appearance:                                      Pale with darker blisters

Texture:                                             Very light with open texture

Moisture:                                          1.5%


Ingredient list:

Wheat flour, vegetable oil (palm), wheat starch, salt.



Flour, strong 50.000
Flour, medium 50.000
Margarine 11.000
Tartaric acid 0.200
Cold water 0.200
Margarine 43.000
Malt extract 2.500
Salt 1.500
Cold water 36.000

3. Cornish Wafer type crackers








Cornish Wafer crackers



A very light, flaky cracker, usually eaten with cheese or other savoury topping.

Product specification

Dimensions:                             66 – 68mm

Thickness:                                6.5 – 7.17mm

Weight:                                     8.33g

Appearance:                            Evenly dockered and blistered

Colour:                                     Pale cream

Texture:                                   Open and flaky

Moisture:                                 3.0%


Ingredient list: 

Wheat flour, vegetable oil (palm), wheat starch, salt.



Flour, weak 100.000
Fat (P.K.O) 41.670
Whey powder 0.694
Salt 1.688
Biscuit dust 9.115
Water chilled 40.360



Mix on a horizontal mixer:

1. Add flour (30 %) vegetable fat flakes, whey powder, salt and mix at slow speed for 1 minute.

2. Add remaining flour and chilled water and mix for 4.5 minutes at slow speed.  Dough temperature: 20oC

 Standing time:  20 minutes



Laminate with 7 – 14 layers. Two laminators are used at right angles to the production line, each producing 7 layers.

The dough sheet is rotary cut with separate printing and cutting rolls



Cornish Wafer texture



5×5 wire mesh band

Baking time: 4.25 minutes


4. Water biscuits










Water biscuits



A plain cracker eaten with cheese or other toppings. A crisp, hard bite.


Product specification

                                    (1)                               (2)

Diameter:              68mm                            57mm

Thickness:            5.2mm                            4.5mm

Weight:                 5.3g                                 2.9g

Colour:                 Pale, almost white with dark blisters

Texture:                Open, flaky, quite hard

Moisture:              1.0 – 2.5%


Ingredient lists:

  1. Wheat flour, vegetable oil (palm), salt.
  2. Wheat flour, palm oil, salt, glucose syrup, sodium bicarbonate.


Recipe 1

Flour 100.000
Vegetable fat 7.386
Salt 1.420
Water 27.000



“All in mix” on a horizontal mixer.

Stand dough for 8 up to 18 hours at 18oC



  1. Laminating: Sheeter followed by 4 gauge rolls to feed layering section.
  2. 4 laminations, followed by 4 gauge roll units.
  3. Rotary cutter



Direct Gas Fired Oven with open mesh band

Baking time: 2 minutes

Temperatures:  260 / 260 / 315 / 230oC


Formulations for water biscuits

 Recipe 2

Flour, strong 100.000
Shortening 3.750
Invert syrup 2.500
Salt 1.500
Sodium metabisulphite 0.028
Water 33.000
Mix 6 mins in High Speed Mixer

Mix 22 mins in Vertical Spindle Mixer

Yeast (2.0kg) may be added  to recipe and dough proofed  for 5 hours


Recipe 3    (unfermented)

Flour, weak 50.000
Flour, strong 50.000
Sugar, fine 2.500
Glucose 2.000
Fat 4.500
Margarine 3.500
Milk powder 1.500
Salt 1.000
Water 25.000



5. Crispbread












A flat, crisp, low fat cracker, often containing rye, wholemeal and other local flours. Crispbread is usually eaten with a variety of toppings.


Product specification

Dimensions:                              91 x 38mm

Thickness:                                 4.5mm

Weight:                                      5.6g

Appearance:                             Regular docker pattern, small blisters

pH                                              6.9

Moisture:                                  3.0 – 4%


Ingredient list

Wheat flour, palm oil, barley and barley malt extract, kibbled rye, glucose syrup, ammonium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate, chive flakes, salt, natural flavourings, wheat starch.


Formulations for crispbreads

Recipe 1

Biscuit flour 67.000
Bread flour 33.000
Butter 4.794
Margarine 5.137
Golden syrup 4.795
Glucose 4.623
Malt 1.027
Whey powder 2.055
Lecithin 0.332
Sodium acid pyrophosphate 0.462
Salt 1.370
Sodium bicarbonate 0.500
Ammonium bicarbonate 2.312
Yeast 2.568
Water 36.000


 Recipe 2 

Bread flour 33.000
Crushed wheat 67.000
Butter 5.000
Margarine 5.000
Pura agave syrup 4.750
Glucose 4.750
Malt extract 1.000
Semi-skimmed milk powder 2.000
Salt 1.330
Yeast 3.330
Lecithin 0.330
Sodium bicarbonate 0.500
Ammonium bicarbonate 0.867
Sodium acid pyrophosphate 0.427
Water 30.000


Process Guide for Marie

Marie is a classic hard sweet biscuit. Other examples of hard sweet biscuits are Petit Buerre, Rich Tea, Arrowroot, Morning Coffee. They are characterised by an even, attractive colour and texture and good volume. Doughs for hard sweet biscuits have the following features:

Button   Doughs have strong, developed gluten which gives an elastic dough, which is sheeted and cut. It often shrinks in the first stage of baking

Button   Doughs have low sugar and fat

Button   Doughs have water contents typically of around 12%

Button   Biscuits are normally baked on a wire-mesh band (except for Marie which is traditionally baked on a steel band)

Button   Humidity in the first part of the baking is important to achieve good volume and a smooth surface sheen

Button   Biscuits are baked to low moisture contents, around 1.5% – 3.0%

1 Hard sweet biscuits


Process for Marie

2 Marie biscuit



Marie is a classic biscuit made throughout Europe and Asia. It has a light, crisp, delicate texture, with pale colour and clear smooth surface.


Product specification

Dimensions:                            66.0 mm diam.

Thickness:                                6.0 mm

Weight:                                     8.3 g

Appearance:                            Smooth surface, clear printing

Colour:                                     Pale golden

Texture:                                  Crisp and light

Moisture:                                1.5%


Formulation               (1)                         (2)

Flour                                        100.00                         100.00

Cornflour                                 4.41                             4.10

Maize flour                             14.70               –

Granulated sugar                    25.59                           21.67

Invert syrup 80%                     7.94                             6.67

Butter                                      –                                   4.87

Whey powder              –                                               1.67

Margarine                               –                                   10.00

Shortening                                11.03                           –

Lecithin                                      0.57                           0.50

Salt                                              0.88                           0.70

Soda                                            0.67                            0.58

ACP                                             0.08                           0.16

Protease                                     0.02                           0.02

SMS 10% solution                    0.02                           0.02

Whole liquid egg                         –                                3.33

Ammonium bicarbonate         0.73                            0.33

Water                                         26.47                           17.95



Recipe (1) is a good standard Marie, Recipe (2) is a higher quality product.


Critical ingredients

1. Flour should not exceed 9.0% protein. Higher protein will result in a hard biscuit.

2. Cornflour and maize flour are used to reduce the total gluten content and make a more tender eating biscuit.

3. SMS will modify the protein to make a soft extensible dough.

4. Marie biscuits are made with medium protein flour and contain SMS to develop a soft extensible dough. The doughs are mixed on horizontal mixers to a temperature of 40-42 degrees C. The dough is sheeted and cut and is traditionally baked on a steel band.



An “all in one mix” on a horizontal mixer. Mixing is critical to developing the soft extensible dough. A mixing action which kneads the dough without too much tearing and extruding is ideal. Mixing time on a typical high speed mixer will be 20-25 minutes. Marie doughs are mixed until the required temperature is achieved. The dough should reach 40-42oC. At this temperature it should be well kneaded and of correct consistency for machining. Higher dough temperatures result in unstable doughs. The dough is used straight away without standing and it is important to maintain the temperature.

Crackers 3
















Baker Perkins High Speed Horizontal Dough Mixer


The dough may be laminated, but doughs made with SMS are usually sheeted without lamination. Dough scrap incorporation is very important and should be very even and consistent. The temperature of the scrap dough should be as close as possible to the temperature of the new dough. Dough sheet reduction should be gentle and should not exceed the ratio of 2.5:1.

Typical roll gaps are:

Forcing roll gap on sheeter:               18.0 mm

Gauging gap on sheeter:                    9.0 mm

1st gauge roll                                         5.7 mm

2nd gauge roll                                       2.5 mm

Final gauge roll                                     1.1 mm  (Cutting thickness: 1.3 mm)

The doughs shrink and require good relaxation before cutting. Separate cutting and printing rolls on the rotary cutter are recommended to achieve good, clear printing and docker holes, (piercing of holes in the dough pieces).

4 Errebi cutter design











Cutter design for Maria showing the docker pin arrangement. Note the dough piece is cut as an oval shape to compensate for shrinkage during baking. Drawing and design by ErreBi Technology


Crackers 4

Baker Perkins forming line with rotary cutting machine


Steam may be used at the oven entry to achieve a high humidity. This will improve the surface finish of the biscuit.

Baking time:                5.0 – 6.5 minutes

Temperatures:             200 / 220 / 180oC

Moisture:                       Less than 1.5%

A hybrid oven is ideal with Direct Gas Fired zones followed by Indirect Radiant or Convection zones. The convection zones will dry the product well and ensure an even bland colour, but care must be taken to ensure a low moisture gradient between the centre of the biscuit and the surface, otherwise the product will be prone to “checking”. Adequate baking and cooling time are required.

7 DGF  IR oven


Baker Pacific Direct Gas Fired / Indirect Radiant oven


A ratio of cooling to baking time should be at least 1.5:1. This will help to avoid checking (cracking of the biscuits after packaging due to an internal moisture gradient).

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