What’s THAT?: ‘Xanthan gum’?

I am fairly new to having this in my pantry. I bought my package back in September…I think…and even though I’ve been slowly using it (when the recipe calls for it!), I still have most of the package left. That is because when a recipe calls for it, I only have to use 1/4 teaspoon or less!

So what in the world is this stuff?

Xanthan gum is a fancy little ingredient that food companies put in products to make the ingredients bind together. It’s in salad dressing, crackers, chewing gum, toothpaste, spices, ice cream, etc, etc. You get the point? It’s everywhere!

In short, it’s the sticky stuff that holds your food together.

Why is it in your pantry?

Well, in regular wheat flour baking, gluten holds the bread, muffins, etc. together. But in gluten-free baking, there is not much holding the baked product together. By adding xanthan gum, it helps stabilize your cookies and make them chewy…without all the crumbs.

How much do I use?

One of my books, “Simply Sugar and Gluten-free” by Amy Green, says: “My general rule for using xanthan gum is 1/4 teaspoon per 1 cup flour when making cupcakes, cookies, and muffins, and 1/2 teaspoon per 1 cup flour for cakes.”

If you add too much to your recipes, you will end up with a rubbery sort of mess. So it’s kind of a chemistry project!



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