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Xanthan Gum: Do I Need It?
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I have never done any gluten-free baking. I have some Bob's gluten-free flour. Today I saw this recipe for Berry Cobbler and it looks easy and good! Can I just do a straight substitution gluten-free flour for the recipe flour? I often see Xanthan Gum added to gluten-free recipes but I don't have any (live overseas). What would happen if I didn't use it????

 

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/simple-berry-skillet-cobbler-00420000010138/

 

thanks.

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Your baking products need a binder//thickener /stabilizer  to make it rise  (something gluten does in wheat flours)]

 

xanthan gum does this for us G F bakers.

 

Some people say you can bake G F goods without it, but I do not agree.

 

However, in a simple cobbler recipe like the one you link to?

 

You can do without it. :)

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I am with Irish. I have done a TON of gluten-free baking both with and without and with Xanthan is far more consistent and successful. I have also had success with adding plain gelatin as well as gum.

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Just an update. I made the cobbler that I linked to above. It was a) very easy, and B) very good! Although, I think you could use less sugar and still have a great dessert. I found my flour was Arrowhead Mills gluten-free and I used it just as called for in the recipe. It worked fine. Anything cooked in that much butter and sugar must be good! I haven't had any sort of baked dessert in ages so it was a yummy splurge!

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Yaay! nothing like a successful dessert. Glad it worked out!  :)

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Yes, you need it. I am/was a terrific wheat baker before I went gluten-free and if you understand how gluten affects flour in the baking process then you will also understand why rice flour can NOT replicate the chemical processes of wheat flour in baking - hence the need for xanthum gum. You could also use guar gum.

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I have another question about the xanthum or guar gums and the gelatin... I am TRYING to make homemade perogies and noodles, the dough is not very pliable.  I used the Jules gluten-free flour and it does contain xanthum gum, I also had to ad a little more butter and milk to get to a dough consistency.  when I roll it out and fill it the dough keeps breaking apart.  I have a feeling that I will have the same issue when I go to make a pie dough.  Does anyone have any tips or solutions to my issue??

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I don't use the gums because I think they taste bad. I mostly use almond flour for baking and find that adding flax seed meal, chia seeds, and sometimes an extra egg give me good results for pancakes, muffins, brownies and bar cookies, coffee cake, etc. I was never much of a baker anyway so even in the flour baking days, anything I had to roll out came out awful and I invariably burned cookies so I haven't tried those. BTW. I am also sodium restricted so rarely use baking soda or powder. I think the extra egg makes up for that.

Lots of great recipe blogs online. I like Rachel Cooks and All Day I Dream About Food.

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I'm starting to experiment with gluten free baking, where gums replace the gluten. After having some intestinal upset after eating a lot of my experiments, I'm researching substitutes. I tried adding flax flour with xantham to some pancakes and muffins to see if I see any additional upset (no) - the next step will be to try the flax flour substitution in some muffins. I made corn muffins with both and they were great, but dense enough I think I can lose the xantham gum.

 

Gluten Free Girl is very helpful with recipes without gums

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Xanthan gum does not agree with me which makes it hard to purchase commercially baked products. I get good results using guar gum.

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I don't agree that you need gums, though in many recipes you do need a binder. I use a combo of ground flax and psyllium husk powder and it works great - without the gummy texture xanthan tends to add. Also, different flours - like teff - hold together better than others. For a lot of my recipes I use a blend of about 2 parts tapioca starch, 1 part potato starch & 1 part cornstarch as the starch portion of the flour blend. Tapioca starch helps hold things together - just don't use too much or it'll get tough. I've learned a lot about baking without gums from Gluten Free Girl - very helpful & I haven't had any problems yet!!

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You can get a decent rise out of some recipes without gums if you use fresh buttermilk.

I do pancakes and cornbread without it. Though, using Jules flour makes awesome cornbread....

I ironically had hideous luck with jules flour and my old gluteny pancake recipe (using buttermilk). I think the buttermilk was too much of a thickener...next time I'll use regular milk. Oddest thing I've seen, really....the batter was so thick it could haven cookie dough.

I can also make biscuits without gums, again using buttermilk. They do rise better using jules flour, though :).

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You can get a decent rise out of some recipes without gums if you use fresh buttermilk.

Yes I agree!! That has been the greatest tip for my muffins. Expect that I almost never actually have buttermilk so I use regular milk curdled with apple cider vinegar (1 cup to 1 Tbsp) and it works great! You can also use milk that has soured and add a little extra ACV. Great way to use up old milk you'd throw away otherwise!

Sorry, I know this is off-topic but I couldn't help 2nding pricklypear's comment :-)

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I agree you don't need it for all recipes. I do without in muffins and pie crusts. In your recipe you may need to add an egg to get better binding and reduce your milk by 1/4 cup or use flaxseed. I agree add buttermilk, yogurt, kefir  or sour milk  in exchange for pure milk for better lift. Gums are only a must in yeast breads it's the only baked good that does need it I have not had much success without it. I have heard of using psyllium husks but never tried it. I have also used pectin in muffin recipes instead of gums.   

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I think gluten free girl and the chef use psyllium husk in place of xantham gum with good success. I may be wrong about that though.

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Xanthan gum does not agree with me which makes it hard to purchase commercially baked products. I get good results using guar gum.

I also have trouble with xantham gum  .  xantham gum is made from  corn, wheat, dairy, or soy all of which I have issues with.

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