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Video: Xanthan Gum - The Food Additive For Vegans
A thickener of natural origin, Xanthan gum is a fine whitish powder, often used in food. One of the best things about it is that it doesn't contain gluten. The gum is mainly used for the preparation of baked products (breads and pastries), and homemade ice creams and sorbets. It is also known under the code E415. You will also find it in the composition of certain cosmetics. But, is it healthy or harmful? We tell you all about it!
What exactly is xanthan gum?
This food supplement is produced by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris, thanks to the fermentation of sugar from beet, cane or corn. It is made up of a combination of four compounds: glucose, mannose, glucuronic acid and pyruvic acid. Very little influenced by temperature, this gum reinforces the viscosity of a liquid. It is virtually odorless and tasteless, so you can use it to prepare savory or sweet foods. In Europe, Xanthan gum is produced without the use of GMOs and is suitable for a vegetarian and halal diet.
Xanthan gum in food
This food additive is also recommended for vegans as it even replaces eggs. If you have a gluten intolerance, use xanthan gum instead of flour. The gum is very useful for the preparation of creams, sauces, breads, cakes, etc. The role of soluble fiber we are talking about is to thicken or stabilize food.
How to use xanthan gum?
This gelling substance dissolves in all liquids except alcohol and oil. It is easier to work cold than hot, so to avoid lumps, mix it with the dry ingredients and then add the cold liquids. Afterwards, you can reheat them, if necessary. Since this additive is a very strong gelling agent, use it in small doses - no more than 5 grams per liter. If you use a blender you will receive an aerated mixture at the end. But be careful, because Xanthan loses its faculties under too strong mixing. After mixing the products, the powder should be left to act for 10-15 minutes.
Is Xanthan Gum Healthy or Harmful?
Because of its natural origin, Xanthan gum is considered a food additive without danger to health. It is certified as an organic product that can be consumed daily. You will often find code E415 on the labels of gluten-free foods. It is believed that this additive even has beneficial health effects by giving it the competence to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
However, it's a bit odd that Xanthan gum is also found in paper glue, shampoos, cosmetic creams, and some industrial products. There are quite a few bakers who have experienced flu-like symptoms after exposure to large amounts of this white powder.
So if you have gluten intolerance and want to experiment with this food product, use it in small amounts. In case of overdose (more than 15 grams of the powder per day) the substance will irritate your stomach causing digestive disturbances. The sensation recalls that of excessive consumption of fruit.
As already noted, Xanthan gum is produced from corn or soybeans, so it can cause food allergies. It is very rare, but if you are extremely sensitive, you can replace it with Guar gum or locust bean gum.
Gluten-free cookies with Xanthan gum
- 1 and 1/4 cups of rice flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup sweetened rice flour
- 1 C. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
- 2/3 cup butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2-3 tbsp. water, if needed
Beat the butter and sugar using a mixer. Add the vanilla and the egg. Mix with the other dry ingredients and form the dough. Leave it in the fridge for 2 hours and then spread the preparation. Put in the oven, preheated to 170ºC for about 12 minutes.
Pistachio ice cream with Xanthan gum
- 110 gr of sugar
- 1/8 c. xanthan gum
- 1 C. corn starch
- 1/8 c. salt
- 625 ml of skimmed milk
- 1 C. corn syrup
- 250 ml heavy cream or coconut milk
- 100 gr pistachio paste
Mix the first four ingredients well. Gradually add the milk and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add the pistachio paste and the crème fraîche. Let this mixture cool at room temperature for a few hours before transferring it to the ice machine.
Prepare a vegan mayonnaise using xanthan gum
- 100 ml of water
- 1 C. xanthan gum
- 200 ml olive oil
- 1 C. tablespoon of vinegar
- 1 pinch of salt and pepper
Panna Cotta - an Italian dessert easy to prepare using Xanthan gum
- 230 ml of skimmed milk
- 1 C. powdered gelatin
- 1/8 c. xanthan gum
- 3/8 c. 1/2 teaspoon Stevia powder
- 1/3 c. vanilla extract
- salt clamp