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What the kneading does for the end result in making Swedish snus

Sun, Feb 3, 2019
#snus

New kowledge on snus

I have to confess that I did not know this when I posted my first articles on snus here. By then I had made my own snus at home for years without knowing about how to get consistency. But then again, I have no problem with crumby snus. If it holds together enough so that I can pinch a “prilla” of the right size with two fingers and get it into my mouth I was happy. It was when I made a batch for a friend and he complained that it was too crumbly I become aware that not everybody just scoops the snus into the mouth.


A snus ball

He is the type who knead the “prilla” into a little ball before he puts it under his lip. That was not possible with the type of snus I made then, It just fell apart. But if you stop learning you stop living. So here is what I learned on kneading and snus consistency since then.


Requirement

  • Your grandfather ran a bakery
  • You have access to the old dough mixing machines
  • Or not…

I’m just kidding, but I recommend that you use a good food processor, not an electric mixer. You can do it by hand, but that is a lot of work if you have a lot of snus to knead.


My luck

But I am lucky enough that my grandfather ran a bakery and I have access to the old dough mixing machine. With that, the kneading is a breeze.



How to get consistency without gummi arabicum or starch

There is no need for gummi arabicum or starch to get the consistency that you like on your home-made snus. The trick is to knead the snus in a food processor. How long you have to knead it depend on the type of tobacco you are using, the temperature and how moist the snus is.


To wet or to dry snus?

If you take a handful of your snus, after kneading or mixing it for 10 minutes, and squeeze it in your hand you should see some water seeping out between your fingers. This is normal when the water content is good. But if you see no water at all your snus is to dry and you have to add more water. Add a little bit at a time and kneed the snus in a food processor or mix it with a hand mixer. Repeat the squeeze test until you see some water seeping out between your finger.


Moist snus and sore gum

Wet snus can affect and sting your gum where a bit drier snus is less aggressive on your gum. If you get sore gum you should try to use a bit less water to get drier snus. This is a tip I got from an expert that have years of experience in making snus at home. But drier snus needs more time in the food processor to come together to get the right consistency.


When you have a bit to wet snus

Take your snus batch and process it in a food processor for 10 minutes. Then if you take a handful of the snus and squeeze it in your hand and to much water begin to seep out between your fingers or even dripping, the snus is to wet. Continue to process the snus for another 30 minutes. If it is still to wet it is time to add the base snus.


The base snus

The base snus is snus that is a bit on the dry side, with a bit less water than regular snus. It is prepared as normal Swedish snus with chemicals but without flavor and only whisked with an electric hand mixer, not kneaded. Then it should be stored for at least 1.5 months before using it. Always have a batch of base snus in your fridge.


What tobacco should I use en the base snus?

Medium grind tobacco is an excellent choice to use in the base snus. That you can use in both fine grind and corse grind snus tobacco. A tobacco flour with a high content of leaf, lamina, without the vein is perfect for getting a good result. To much of the vein in the grind can make the snus to crumby.


Add the base snus

Place your snus in the food processor and start the kneading. Add a little bit of the base snus and continue to knead for 5 - 10 minutes. Turn off the processor and let the snus rest for 10 minutes. Test the consistency and repeat the steps until you are satisfied. If you add more base snus it makes a more firm consistency. Remember that if you let the snus rest in the refrigerator for 3 weeks the moist goes from the wet snus into the dry base snus and you get a different consistency.

The old dough mixer


Start the kneading with cold snus

If you try to knead warm snus from the oven or the Crockpot you can knead until the cows come home and you still have crumbly snus. You have to let the snus rest for a few days up to a few weeks in the refrigerator before you try to knead consistency into it. Start with cold snus and knead it to room temperature. I have heard that some of my friends have kneaded their snus for an hour or longer before they got perfect consistency.


If your snus is to firm

If after kneading the snus it is like clay, you can get it to bee more loose and crumby by whisking it with an electric hand mixer on high speed. This process mixing in more air into the snus and make for a looser and crumby snus.


Packing and storing

When you have kneaded the snus it is time to let it rest and give it a chance to come together. At this stage, you can pack it rather tight in a plastic box or another container with an airtight lid. If you pack the snus tight in this step it is beneficial for the consistency. You have to be patient and give it time in the refrigerator.


You have to be patient

It can take weeks or even month for the snus to “come together”. So a good strategy is to have many batches in the refrigerator. Always have some that are ready that you can use while other rest and mature. Otherwise, it is tempting to start to use the snus that needs time to rest and mature.


Gummi Arabicum

Gum arabic, also called gum acacia, comes from the African tree Acacia Senagal. It is used as a stabilizer in food, a thickener, an emulsifier in industrial and pharmaceutical products. Read more at Wikipedia…

Acacia Senegal


Use a silicone bag instead of a food processor

As an alternative to using a food processor, you can use a silicone bag to knead your Swedish snus. From what I have heard you get a good result kneading by hand. Instead of using a stress ball you can knead your snus instead. You get calm and snus with excellent consistency.


The 1-meter test

This is an unscientific subjective snus consistency test. Make a “prilla” and drop it from a height of 1 m (~3.3 ft). It should stay together when it hit the ground. This is nothing I do, but it is a measure of how well the snus stays together after kneading.


Useful tools

Picture: Acasia Senegal - Wikipedia


Leave a comment

What is your experience in snus consistency? Leave a comment and let me know.


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