Xanthan gum is a popular food additive, widely used as a thickening agent. In a food industry obsessed with taking out additives, xanthan gum is kind of legendary, especially if you’re into gluten-free baking. Why is that?
What Is Xanthan Gum?
Xanthan gum starts as fermented corn sugar. A bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris creates a brothy substance, which turns into a solid through the addition of sugar alcohol. This residue is then dried and crushed into a powder, giving us an easy-to-use additive.
Xanthan gum is well-known for how it increases the viscosity of a liquid. When you add only a small amount to your fluid, it creates a stable, gel-like material that can withstand a wide range of temperatures and pH levels. In the food industry, xanthan gum is added to recipes to prevent oil separation and keep solid particles, like spices, suspended in the food. But its popularity as a supplement to food is growing not just because, especially as gluten-free products become more in-demand.
Xanthan Gum Is Great For Gluten-Free Baking
While many people can’t process gluten, it’s the part of the flour that lets dough or batter stick together, making that classic stretch and fold possible. Xanthan gum is an ingredient that gives consistency to gluten-free baking! By adding a little, xanthan gum can act as a binder, adding some necessary volume to gluten-free bread, cookies, cake, and other baked goods.
If you’re doing some baking or cooking of your own, check the ingredients of any pre-made products you plan on using. Many companies committed to gluten-free goods add xanthan gum to flours and cake mixes already, meaning you don’t have to add it.
How To Use Xanthan Gum At Home
At Diet & Wellness Health Food Store, you can purchase xanthan gum to use in baking bread, pizza, cake, or any other food that relies on the development of gluten for consistency. With only a fraction, you can emulsify, thicken, and stabilize recipes that are otherwise hard to replicate as gluten-free. It’s easy to use, too!
Most recipes will work with a ratio of 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum to every cup of gluten-free flour, and this can increase if you’re baking a recipe that calls for more elasticity. Unless you’re doing a lot of gluten-free baking (for commercial reasons, for example), you should never need more than one tablespoon of xanthan gum in your recipe. Too much of it can hurt the texture of your baking, making the results too gummy or sticky.
Whether it’s for celiac disease or you’ve embraced a gluten-free lifestyle for other reasons, xanthan gum makes it easier to make delicious foods that taste great. More and more home bakers are trying their hands at gluten-free goodies, even making their beloved favourites as gluten-free – and xanthan gum is making it a whole lot easier!