How to use Xanthan gum in gluten-free baking

Although I am a recent ex-sugarholic, I have been experimenting with gluten-free and dairy free baking for the last 6’ish years as I’m intolerant.

So, what have I learned so far? That normal wheat flour largely consists of 12-14% gluten, that gluten has an elastic toughness that holds its shape during baking. It also acts as a thickener, adds texture, absorbs moisture and lends flavor to the baking. So, baking without gluten could reduce your lovely bread, cake or muffins to crumbles as soon as you touch it! Baking gluten-free goods requires a lot more precision that ‘regular’ baking – 1 tsp too much or too little might make your recipe a horror rather than a delight. If you are following a recipe, it should be to the letter (so if it fails the first time, try again and be more accurate – also pay attention to the differences in measurements between countries – the metric cup is used for example in Canada, Australia and New Zealand while the UK uses imperial measurements largely). If you are creating your own recipes, it’s all about trial an error and doing some research. But, then, it’s a whole new world of baking deliciousness that opens up to you!

This is where Xanthan gum enters the picture. Xanthan gum acts in many ways like gluten and keeps your recipe from falling apart and can imitate the spring in bread and light fluffy recipes. It is made by fermenting corn sugar with a natural strain of bacteria that in the end creates a white powder. No research has found it to be bad for your health, only good (although I have found mentions of caution in ingesting over 15 grams per day – so unless you scoff down all your baking yourself you are fine ;)).

So, how much do you use in your baking? If you use too little, your recipe might crumble. If you use too much and the texture might become heavy, slimy and very dense. So, as a rule of thumb, I would suggest using the following amounts:

Xanthan gum table

Just a note on allergies – if you are allergic to corn, you could swap straight over for Guar gum. This gum has the same properties as Xanthan gum but it’s made from legumes rather than corn (the amounts in the table above still applies).

Want to get some? Head to most big super market chains where you can find this in small containers in the baking aisle. If you are having trouble finding it (in some countries it’s a lot harder than others) you could always order from online US company iHerb. You can use my code DBL588 at the check-out if it’s your first time and you get up to US$10 off if you want. I order all my nuts, seeds, gluten-free oats, specialty flours, Xanthan gum etc from them as it’s about 10-30% cheaper than buying it in NZ, I can get everything organic and this even includes postage + I don’t have to chase through four different shops to get everything I need.

Comments

  1. inge Thalund says:

    Supercool

    Like

  2. letetialee says:

    Ive been wanting to know this, thanks for posting!

    Like

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