A stroke of good fortune - how are fortune cookies made?
If you’ve ever been to a Chinese restaurant or ordered a takeaway, chances are you’ve opened a fortune cookie.
A fortune cookie is a biscuit which is snapped open to reveal a piece of paper with a ‘fortune’ on it. This fortune can be anything from a saying, a prediction, a joke, or even a list of lucky numbers. In this blog post, we are going to take a look at how fortune cookies are made, and how compressed air plays a very important role.
Where do Fortune Cookies Come From?
Interestingly, fortune cookies weren’t a Chinese invention, but invented in America – although who the actual inventor of them is is still widely debated today. It is also claimed that the cookies originated in Japan, with references to them in Japanese literature and art.
Over three billion fortune cookies are made each year – with Wonton Food Inc in New York making over 4.5 million per day, with a database of over 10,000 fortunes.
Fortune cookies have now undergone a revamp, with a wide range of flavours becoming available, including chocolate coated cookies and giant cookies which stand over 5” tall!
How are Fortune Cookies Made?
Fortune cookies were originally made by hand, however in the 1960s, a machine was created to automate the process. These machines can make between 750 and 5000 fortune cookies an hour.
Firstly, the batter is made in a vat. The batter is shaped into circular portions and baked. The second step is where the magic happens… according to us anyway!
The cookies are moved to a receiving area where the fortunes can be added. The paper strips are sucked up by compressed air in a vacuum and pushed into the centre of the cookies. The cookies are then folded and bent to create the famous shape, cooled with air, individually wrapped and boxed.
The Importance of Uncontaminated Air in Fortune Cookie Production
As we discussed in a blog post in October 2015, compressed air has a wide range of uses in the food manufacturing industry, from cutting and shaping food, to clearing away food debris. It is imperative that any compressed air used is pure and free from water, oil and other contaminants.
This is especially important in fortune cookie production where compressed air is used in every step of the process.
Analox Sensor Technology offer the ACG+, a unit which is used to monitor compressed air, either in real time or spot checking. The unit monitors for oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), water vapour, volatile organic compounds (such as benzene and toluene) and can also run an oil-mist test. The monitor is easy to use and takes readings instantly, meaning that your factory is protected at all times.