While the chocolate chip cookie will always be a cult classic, Oreos have long been known as “Milk’s favorite cookie,” a claim they proudly boast on their adhesive blue wrapping.
But this seemingly innocuous title poses a dilemma Oreo fanatics face every time they encounter a cookie and a glass of milk: how long should I dunk an Oreo cookie?
The answer is not as simple as it may seem. The ideal Oreo dunk must saturate the cookie and cover as much surface area as possible while minimizing potential crumbling and keeping your fingers neat and tidy. With so many goals and pitfalls, it’s no wonder that Utah State University’s Splash Lab finally put the all-American delicacy to the test.
Timing Is Everything: Avoiding Over-Soaking
In 2016, the Splash Lab drew several conclusions regarding the Oreo cookie’s dunking integrity. They found that Oreos become 50% saturated after merely one second in 2% milk. After four seconds, the little brown cookie reached 100% saturation.
So what does this mean? Well, it depends on the dunker. Every Oreo eater has a preference for how soggy they’d like their Oreo to be when it enters their mouth. Some prefer it crispy, and others prefer it soaked.
But one thing’s for sure: after four seconds in milk, your Oreo won’t get any wetter than it already is, making extra-long soaks pointless.
Oreo’s Favorite Milk
While some say that timing is the end-all-be-all of dunking technique, Jennifer Fideler, a graduate student at North Carolina State University, disagrees. She claims that the type of milk used for dunking will also affect ideal soak time, with low-fat milk like skim and 2% leading in speed. In fact, the more fats and sugars are present in the dunking milk, the slower the rate of absorption will be, as carbohydrates both retain fluids and physically block water from touching the cookie because they’re such large molecules.
Fat = Flavor
So why would you want a slower dunk? Because, according to Len Fischer’s 1999 study on biscuit dunking, milk can enhance a cookie’s flavor by a factor of 11. According to Fischer, fats retain flavor and linger in the dunker’s mouth, allowing the cookie’s sugary smell to travel from the back of the mouth to the nose and ultimately enhancing flavor.
Still not convinced by this valuable dunking data? Grab a box of cookies, a carton of milk, and put the classic Oreo cookie to the test!
h/t: Mental Floss