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This is a question not about home cooking, but about working out how an industrial food is cooked — I’m not a regular here, so apologies if it’s judged as off-topic.

Extruded snack seems to be the technical term for manufactured not-quite-chips snacks like Cheetos, Cheese Puffs, Wotsits, Twisties, Cheezels… It comes from the way they’re manufactured, by extrusion from a press. It may also involve other technical details beyond this, I’m not sure.

Are the popular British snacks Twiglets an example of this, or are they produced in some other way? Also: pretzels? Rice cakes? Hula hoops? Pringles?

(Twiglets are rather love-it-or-hate-it, flavoured with yeast extract, so a bit like Marmite, except that even people who love Marmite may hate Twiglets.)

Carried over from this english.se discussion.

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Pringles aren't extruded: youtube.com/watch?v=q_ogZcvXBqQ I don't know about Twiglets, there are lots of other How It's Made segments on food production. –  Ward May 22 '11 at 8:41
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Indeed not sliced not chipped not extruded but rolled. Sounds yummy! –  hippietrail May 22 '11 at 10:36
    
If I could vote to close I would do so as "too localized". Wotsits? Twisties? Cheezels? Twiglets? What the hell is going on over there, "across the pond"? :) –  raven May 22 '11 at 16:13
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Sounds like this is all across the UK and beyond, so that's way too large an area to write off as "too localized" (although I suspect that was just a joke). I do think that there's probably a more general version of this question that could have been asked... do you really just want the answer for this one particular food or are you interested in the output of this process and how it's different from other processes? (The answer to that question would, of course, lead you to a more intuitive sense of whether or not a particular food was made that way.) –  Aaronut May 22 '11 at 16:26
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I added links to explain what these "weird" foods are for us 'Mericans who ain't got a clue. –  Martha F. May 23 '11 at 15:17
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1 Answer

The additional technical details on extruded snacks are that they are not just extruded but do so under high pressure and temperature, so that as they come out of the extrusion nozzle they puff up and solidify. The rapid transition to lower pressure causes water in the dough to vaporize suddenly, creating air pockets (puff) and removing moisture. Since baking is primarily a process of drying this completes the cooking.

I haven't had a twiglet, but based on the little bit of info available they would appear to be made in the same manner as the bumpy sort of Cheetos, which would indeed make them an extruded snack.

It is conceivable that they are extruded at room temperature and pressure, and then deep-fried, which is the case with some Japanese snacks that otherwise resemble extruded snacks.

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