Oreo Cookie Turns 100

March 6, 2012 by staff 

Oreo Cookie Turns 100, In the middle of a city renowned for its bagels, an unassuming yellow brick factory across from Olympic Park churns out 1 billion Oreo cookies each year for Canadians.

That works out to 1.1 million cookies during every eight-hour shift or, to break it right down, 3,000 cookies a minute.

Oreo, the world’s top-selling cookie, turns 100 on Tuesday.

To celebrate, Kraft Canada created a limited edition birthday cake-flavoured variety featuring rainbow sprinkles in the vanilla cream and a golden package. And, for the first time, it opened its Canadian factory to the media.

Plant manager Michel Cartier patiently leads a day full of private, hour-long tours for those who shed their jewellery and don safety shoe slip-ons, hair nets, ear plugs and lab coats just like employees.

“We are protecting the cookies from us,” explains Cartier.

The Manhattan-born Oreo may be an iconic American cookie with 25 million Facebook fans, but it’s also simply a chocolate sandwich cookie with a layer of cream that people love to “twist, lick and dunk” in milk.

There is no “Caramilk secret” to protect in this Kraft Canada plant, so Cartier gladly reveals that each 12-gram cookie is made up of two, 4-gram biscuits and 4 grams of cream filling.

Of the plant’s 500 employees, 125 work the Oreo line. There are three Oreo shifts a day, and 25 people per shift.

It takes 90 minutes to make an Oreo and the action starts on the ground flour of the sterile Viau St. factory with the deafening din of machinery.

Sugar, flour, coconut oil, cocoa, baking soda and water go into an industrial mixer for 18 minutes to create a 937-kilogram tub of dough that will make 120,000 cookies.

At “the dumper,” the dough is broken into crumbs, transferred by conveyor belt to a molder, and pressed into a biscuit embossed with the word Oreo and 12 ornate flowers. Each biscuit will be precisely 45-millimetres wide and 4.7 millimetres high.

“We have very strict specifications for every cookie,” explains Cartier, adding that they call the biscuit a “base cake,” the filling the “crème” or “cream,” and the finished product the “cookie.”

Next the “base cakes” travel through an 85-metre long, windowless oven for about six minutes in temperatures that average 400F (200C), creating a heady scent of warm chocolate.

The warm biscuits travel by conveyor belt up to the factory’s second floor, where half are left facing upward and the rest are flipped so they can be filled.

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