Xanthan gum is a product that I discovered when I started baking gluten free and it was necessary as a binder for rice flour and tapioca starch. It’s not just for baking. Xanthan gum as a flour substitute is genius and can be made into a gel to make incorporating easy.
What is xanthan gum?
Xanthan gum is used as a binder, stabilizer, and emulsifier.I t’s found in many products such as cream cheese and some salad dressings and is often used in gluten free and keto baking.
Xanthan gum is sold in a powdered form and is made from corn when glucose, sucrose, or lactose is fermented by bacteria. The carbs cannot be digested, and is used often for gluten and keto baking. For this reason, some people may claim stomach distress, but I have never experienced this, as my recipes use very small amounts.
Xanthan Gum Gel for Cooking as Flour Substitute
I found this recipe in Cook’s Illustrated Magazine in their tips and notes and found it to be quite genius. The reason I recommend using the gel instead of mixing in the xanthan gum powder is because it blends perfectly. I haven’t had great luck adding xanthan gum into sauces and gravies unless it’s in gel form.
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 tablespoons xanthan gum powder
Simply add two cups of cold water to a blender and add 1 tablespoons of xanthan gum. Blend for five minutes. You will see it turn into a beautiful gel.
How to use xanthan gum gel for sauces, gravies
I will add a tablespoon of gel at at time and wait for a few minutes to see if it thickens. You will have to be your own guide, but know it works.
One of my favorite uses for xanthan gum is to make a gel that I use to thicken sauces, soups, stews and gravies. In this Tuscan Salmon recipe I replaced 3/4 of the heavy cream with broth and used this gel to make it thickener.
How to add xanthan gum to baking
When baking, add the powdered form to your dry ingredient mixture. I only add 1/2 teaspoon to my keto friendly bundt cakes.
If you are baking what is typical gluten free products, meaning those with rice flower, tapioca, etc. you will need to add xanthan gum to a recipe (usually a teaspoon is enough). These flours have very little way of holding together and will crumble without it.
However, if you are baking with almond flour and coconut flour, it’s not imperative to add xanthan gum. I add it to my recipe, because it guarantees me less crumble and I sell my cakes in my bakery.
I don’t add anything to my grain free biscuits, however, because they are made with egg whites and golden flax, along with almond flour and coconut flour. The eggs and golden flax hold them together. Xanthan gum is a must for my grain free tortillas or you will not be able to peel them off the parchment paper.
Recipes Using Xanthan Gum Gel as Flour Substitute
Replace some of the heavy cream in this Tuscan Salmon with broth and add xanthan gum gel.
Baking with Xanthan Gum (not gel)
Xanthan Gum Gel
- 1 tablespoon xanthan gum
- 2 cups water
- Put water in blender. Turn on. While running, add in xanthan gum.
- Blend for five full minutes.
- Place in jar in refrigerator.
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