Xanthan and Guar Gum – Don’t Be Intimidated

Many people want to bake gluten-free goodies but the somewhat standard list of GF ingredients that appear in most recipes send bakers running. First off they are usually hit with an array of various flours which many have never heard of before…and then come the gluten replacers. I remember the first time I read Xanthan Gum and thought, huh, what the heck is that?! Something else I don’t know how to use, let alone spell, which of course will require a road trip to some remote natural food store to purchase. But rather than flee screaming from the kitchen I decided to educate myself on how these 2 items work in recipes and what the replacement ratio is for various baked treats. I also was delighted to find that nearly all grocery stores carry these gluten-free replacement ingredients in that natural food section of the store.

I hope that by sharing the information with you that I have learned, it too will expand your mind, your collection of family foodie favorites and perhaps, just perhaps, a space in your pantry.

As we all know, when we remove gluten from a recipe we in turn have a gluten-free recipe. But simply removing a gluten-based ingredient is not all you need to do. When you remove gluten you also remove an essential binding agent. These 2 ingredients, Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum, are therefore an essential ingredient to most gluten-free recipes. They are the gluten replacers needed to achieve desired baking results. They can also be used interchangeably with similar results but personally, I opt for Xanthan Gum - easier on the tummy, especially if you have any digestive concerns.

Below I have 3 bullets that are a good rule of thumb BUT keep in mind; nothing is exact with GF baking. Trial and error is truly the only way to go. Start off with the minimum amounts as per below and see how it works out for you!

When converting a flour based recipe over to gluten-free, in addition to adding a *GF flour blend you would also need to add the following amount of either Xanthan or Guar Gum to achieve favorable results.

• Cakes: 1/4 to 1/2 tsp to each cup of gluten/wheat free flour
• Breads: 1/2 to 1 tsp to each cup of gluten/wheat free flour
• Cookies: 0 to 1/4 tsp to each cup of gluten/wheat free flour

* NOTE: Some GF pre-made mixes already have these thickeners added so pay special attention to the ingredients

Good luck with all of your baking endeavors and remember, patience is key.

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJuly 17, 2012

    I just found small packages at my local Walmart of the xanthan gum for about 49 cents a package... that way you dont have to worry about the rest of it getting stale or going bad.


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Linda @ Lemon Drop