Gluten-Free Gums

Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum are used in gluten-free baking to mimic the binding nature of gluten.  They add elasticity, moisture, and structure to baked goods.  In short, they keep baked goods from falling apart.  There are alternatives to xanthan gum or guar gum, though these are the most popular.  Many gluten-free all-purpose flour mixes contain xanthan gum or guar gum.  If that is the case, you do not need to add more to your recipe.

Guar gum and xanthan gum can be substituted 1:1 for each other.  Alternatively, The Spruce suggests combining them for better results (half xanthan gum, half guar gum).

 

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Guar Gum is used for binding in gluten-free baking.  It is also commonly used in ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming.  Guar gum is used to keep baked goods from falling apart.  However, too much will leave baked goods heavy and stringy.

Only a small amount of guar gum is needed, though the amount varies depending on the type of baked good.  In general, between 1/4 teaspoon to 3 teaspoons is needed for every cup of flour.  Cookies that require less structure need less guar gum while pizza dough and breads that require more elasticity need more guar gum.  If unsure, start with 1/4 teaspoon for each cup of flour.  Since a little goes a long way, I like to get a resealable bottle or bag for easy storage.  At times, I need as little as 1/8 teaspoon of guar gum.  Since a small amount can make a big difference, I use a 1/8 teaspoon measuring spoon instead of eye-balling it.

Some people have a sensitivity to xanthan gum and guar gum.  People with a sensitivity to one of them tend to be sensitive to the other (source).  If you need an alternative to gums, check out Gum Alternatives.


Xanthan Gum is used for binding in gluten-free baking.  When mixed with water, it becomes gel-like.  Xanthan gum can be used to keep baked goods from falling apart.  However, too much will leave baked goods with a gummy texture or appear to be underbaked.  If your baked goods appear wet and gummy no matter how long it is baked, the culprit is likely to be too much xanthan gum.

Only a small amount of xanthan gum is needed, though the amount varies depending on the type of baked good.  In general, between 1/4 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons is needed for every cup of flour.  Cookies that require less structure need less xanthan gum while pizza dough and breads that require more elasticity need more xanthan gum.  If unsure, start with 1/4 teaspoon for each cup of flour.  Since a little goes a long way, I like to get a resealable bottle or bag for easy storage.  Some of my recipes require as little as 1/8 teaspoon of xanthan gum.  Since a small amount can make a big difference, I use a 1/8 teaspoon measuring spoon instead of eye-balling it.

If you are having a hard time finding the right amount of xanthan gum for your recipe, try letting the dough or batter rest for 10-30 minutes prior to baking.  This allows the gum and the flour time to absorb liquid and can lead to better results.

Some people have a sensitivity to xanthan gum and guar gum.  People with a sensitivity to one of them tend to be sensitive to the other (source).  If you need an alternative to gums, check out Gum Alternatives.


 

 

References

  1. Gruss, Teri. “How to Use Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum.” The Spruce, 23 Oct. 2017, www.thespruce.com/xanthan-and-guar-gluten-free-cooking-1451162.
  2. “Guar Gum: Is This Food Additive Harmful or Helpful?” Dr. Axe, 22 June 2017, draxe.com/guar-gum/.
  3. Stockton, Cassidy. “What Is It? Wednesday: Xanthan Gum.” Bobsredmill.com, 19 Feb. 2014, www.bobsredmill.com/blog/healthy-living/wiw-xanthan-gum/.
  4. “Xanthan Gum.” Nuts.com, 14 July 2016, nuts.com/cookingbaking/leavenerthickener/xanthan-gum.