When I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance, I remember looking up how to make chocolate chip cookies & one of the ingredients was Xanthan Gum. Luckily my mother in law had provided me with some already & I was able to make them. Word to the wise- do NOT put more than the recommended amount in your batch. It literally turns into gum.
I wanted to talk about what these two ingredients are, because they are very important for your cupboard now. Here are a couple facts you might need to know about the two most popular baking gums:
1. What are they responsible for?
They both act as thickeners, emulsifiers & stabilizers. Essentially they are what bind your bread so it’s not crumbly. The very thing that makes your neighbor’s bread stick together is gluten protein. So gluten protein is to wheat flour what these gums are to gluten free flour.
2. What are they?
Xanthan: Is derived from a strain of bacteria that is fermented with a micro organism called Xanthomonas Campestris.
Guar: Is derived from a seed called Cyamopsis tetragonoloba, similar to legumes.
3. What happens when I use too much?
They make the dough very heavy & produces a texture similar to gum.
4. When do I need to use them?
If you are using an all purpose flour like Pamela’s, their blend already includes it. However, if you are using one that calls for it OR if you made your own blend, you will need to use one of them.
5. Which one should I use?
You can use them interchangeably or you can split up what the recipe calls for & use equal parts of both. They work well when used together. However they each have their purpose. Guar gum is great for your frozen or cold faves. Xanthan is good for your baking needs. I usually just use the one that the recipe calls for, which in my experience is generally xanthan gum.
6. How much should I use?
This is entirely up to what you’re making. The blend I am used to cooking with says to use 1/4 tsp per 1 cup gluten free flour.
7. How much are they?
They are pretty comparable in price, give or take a few bucks depending on brand.
8. How long does it last?
The gums can last you up to a few years. I’ve had my Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan Gum ever since I was diagnosed! So even though it may seem like a fortune at the time of purchase, it generally only needs to be re-stocked every couple of years depending on how much or little you bake.
9. How should it be stored?
It should be stored in an air tight container & kept out of sunlight.
For additional information, check out these sites:
Bob’s Red Mill Guar Gum vs Xanthan Gum