Xanthan gum is the magic ingredient used to emulsify and thicken seasonings, as well as bind gluten-free flours together.
Xanthan gum was first made in the 1950s – grown from fermented plant bacteria – and found widespread commercial use, to the point where it is now a key ingredient in molecular and gluten-free cooking.
The term molecular cooking was coined in 1988 by the Hungarian physicist Nicolas Corti and the French chemist Hervé Theiss, who developed a way of understanding the scientific principles underlying traditional cooking methods.
Finally, this method ends up introducing a new type of tools, food ingredients, cooking methods for restaurants and creating new cooking recipes. We know this method as “molecular cooking”. This new style of cooking was popularized by chefs such as Grant Eckts, Fran Adria and Willie Duffersen in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Molecular cooking is a branch of culinary art that seeks to create chemical and appearance changes in foods. In fact, molecular cooking is a scientific way of cooking that examines traditional cooking methods, summarizes their scientific background, and then uses that same science in new ways.
Application of xanthan gum in recipes
Xanthan gum is a white, odorless powder, with granules similar in size and texture to cornmeal. This means that the presence of xanthan gum is not seen. It is often added to commercial sauces, vinaigrette and ketchup to prevent their ingredients from splitting and spoiling during sometimes long periods of time on supermarket shelves.
Xanthan gum is also added to ice creams because it slows the formation of crystals during the freezing process and ensures that the final product has a smooth and creamy appearance.
Today, the use of xanthan gum is becoming more common in restaurant kitchens as molecular food becomes more popular. To stabilize the foam, gel or emulsion, adding only a small amount is sufficient.
The main reason for the penetration of xanthan gum into home kitchens is the increase in gluten-free cooking. When white flour is replaced with a gluten-free alternative, it relies on the addition of xanthan gum to bind the ingredients together. Otherwise, the cooks will end up with brittle crumbs instead of the desired sponge or bread.
Xanthan gum used to be considered something of a specialty ingredient, but as the range of gluten-free products expands, this functional gum is becoming more and more available.
Take a look at grocery stores or the aisles of large supermarkets, as well as the websites of expert chefs, and you will notice the wide range of uses for this valuable powder.
How to cook with xanthan gum
High-precision weighing scales, along with a spatula, are both good tools for cooking with xanthan gum, since most molecular recipes require very small, specific amounts—from 0.5 to 5% by weight.
Xanthan gum thickens and emulsifies hot and cold sauces that can be reheated after a single use. When using it to make gluten-free dough, xanthan gum is usually added to the flour during the dry ingredients mixing step.
The taste of xanthan gum is unrecognizable. But texturally, it can be used to coat anything from parsley sauce to sabayon or sorrel juice.
Chefs also use it to thicken sauces, improve the texture of ice creams, and for gluten-free cooking.
Xanthan Gum Price
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