Alternatives to Xanthan Gum (yuck)

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Alternatives to Xanthan Gum (yuck)

Postby nutmeg » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:49 pm

I've been experimenting with gluten-free baking, even though I tolerate wheat okay sometimes. And in this process, I've been perplexed about why so many nourishing food blogs and cookbooks with otherwise spectacular, traditional ingredients, feel so comfortable throwing xanthan gum right into the mix for their gluten-free recipes. First, it's crazy expensive. Second, it's not naturally occurring, and was developed in a USDA scientific experiment. (Red flag there for me.) And then, so many people seem to have allergies to it, as it's in the corn sugar/syrup family. I've also never seen organic xanthan gum, and since corn syrup comes from gigantic-scale farming with genetically modified fields, the yuck factor is pretty high here, and nowhere near anything I'd call healthy.

When you research what xanthan gum actually is, you get all kinds of answers, but the most common seems to be that it's a combination of the naturally occurring bacteria on veggies that causes black rot, added to corn sugar- a derivative of corn syrup. Some sources simplify that and call it "fermented corn" which sounds nicer, but doesn't seemt to be the case. There's also some debate as to whether the bacteria itself comes from genetically modified bacterial stock.

I've never had a problem skipping the X-yuck in any baked goods, since I use eggs, and I don't care if the final result is a bit flat or crumbly, but curious about bread-making. Some people seem to grind flax or chia seeds, but I don't think of those as high-heat friendly. I'll keep experimenting, but if you have any yummy, healthy ideas, please post them.

Thanks!
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Re: Alternatives to Xanthan Gum (yuck)

Postby cataway » Sat Dec 11, 2010 2:14 pm

I have that stuff too and I don't want to use it in my food. Have been wondering if it would be an acceptable substitute for the gums normally used in incense making but can't find anything to answer that question.
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Re: Alternatives to Xanthan Gum (yuck)

Postby Narayani » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:52 pm

Yuck is right. Maybe one of these alternatives would be better http://www.buzzle.com/articles/xanthan- ... itute.html
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Re: Alternatives to Xanthan Gum (yuck)

Postby winter11 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:01 pm

I know if you want to replace eggs which is used only to bind the ingrediants together you can take a teaspoon of ground flaxseed and water let it sit for a minute and it does the same thing as eggs.
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Re: Alternatives to Xanthan Gum (yuck)

Postby nutmeg » Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:49 am

Wanted to share that I baked gluten-free for a large gathering this week since one person had celiac disease and I experimented using unflavored powdered gelatin (1 TBSP) in place of the xanthan gum. Worked like a charm!

I've heard that you can do the exactly the same with agar-agar (a gelatin-like seaweed, powdered), using 2 tsp.

Both of those measurements would be for one batch of bread, a single batch of cookies (maybe 24 small ones), or a 9x13"-ish rectangular dish of bars or brownies or whatever you're making that you want to cohere in a relatively firm manner.

I'm sorry that I'm not fluent in metrics (kind of embarrassing- the USA is so bizarre that way), so hopefully someone can help translate this for the people who live in the rest of the world.

If it weren't so late at night I could do the math, but brain fried now.
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Re: Alternatives to Xanthan Gum (yuck)

Postby bluebirdmama » Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:14 am

We are corn free, so we use guar gum. But actually, I don't use it all that much anyway as I like they way stuff turns out without it. If I were making yeast bread, I would use it, but for muffins and cake, nah.

I am allergic to eggs, and I do use chia gel, (not too much as it turns out rubbery), or baking soda and vinegar. Like if you google "wacky cake", it is a chocolate cake that is egg free. It makes a great GF cake with just sorgum (first choice) and or rice flour with tapioca starch.
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Re: Alternatives to Xanthan Gum (yuck)

Postby SarahJo » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:25 pm

great thread. I've been eating gluten free since Spring and have mostly been avoiding starchy carbs. I've discovered my symptoms of "IBS" are due to wheat/gluten intolerance/allergy (plus I've lost 20 lbs)!

Anyway, I too am perplexed by the ton of weird ingredients in most "gluten free" recipes such as Xantham gum. Definitely won't be using that after reading this, didnt know it was so awful.

I've experimented with high protein, low carb recipes for bread & bars using coconut & almond flour, chia seeds & eggs and it's turned out quite well. Plus they don't leave me feeling lethargic like after eating those over-processed, over-priced "gluten free" products found at stores. I am going to experiment with some gluten free Christmas baking this year for the kids using simple ingredients (since I no longer have wheat flour in the house since I don't want to risk inhaling the dust).

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to share a favourite website? Hope so...I love www.elanaspantry.com. The bread I made is called "Paleo bread", its dense and crumbly but very tasty and satisfying.

Sarah
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