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Two Questions...
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I was reading through previous posts, and several people said that they use xan. gum "when necessary."

My question is...what would I bake that doesn't need it? It's a binder, correct? I'm trying to improve my baking skills. I'm slowly improving with each attempt, but I need to fully understand everything because cooking is a science (and I majored in psychology...which is totally useless in the kitchen). ;)

Next question,

Dates (not to be confused with nights out on the town with a gorgeous man). B) I purchased Sunmaid chopped dates in the bag, and when I opened them, they were coated in a white substance. Before I toss those dates into my homemade gluten-free granola, I want to identify this white powder coating. Any ideas? Surely it's not mold or something, right? :huh: I called the company, but they are not open until tomorrow.

Please help! (I want my granola cereal for dinner).

Blessings. -J

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Good question. Maybe someone else has asked Sunmaid that question.

This won't help for tonight, but I did go to the Sunmaid site and asked about the dates. I'll post the answer... if I get one.

Re: Xanthan Gum

It helps trap the little bubbles made by leavening so they don't leave the dough but cause it to rise up and stay up until the dough is cooked and can then hold itself up. So, if the recipe calls for leavening, then you most likely need Xan. or Guar Gum. If the recipe doesn't have leavening in it, you don't need the gums.

I think the ratio for Xan. gum is 1 teaspoon per 2 cups flour - someone else correct me if I'm wrong.

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xthantan gum reallly improved the baking products that I've done. It's like the magic ingredient. :lol:

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imsohungry - were you able to get through to Sunmaid to ask about the chopped dates.

I emailed them asking about the white powdery substance on their chopped dates - and today got a reply. They didn't really answer the question because they only mentioned pitted dates.

However, they did say that there are no gluten ingredients in their products from the Kingsburg plant.

From: "Elena Alejandre" <EAlejand@SunMaid.com>

Sent: Monday, July 23, 2007 11:25 AM

Subject: Reply From Sun-Maid

July 23, 2007

Thank you for taking the time to let us know of the problem you have had with our Sun-Maid 8 ounce bag of pitted dates.

Our goal at Sun-Maid is to produce premium quality products. We expect our strict quality control standards, special processing equipment and continual quality checks will ensure that only the best possible product reaches our consumers. Obviously, your purchase did not meet these expectations.

Although we are unable to identify the nature or cause of your problem, we can assure you that mold damage is not something usually associated with dried fruit. Should you have any remaining samples of the affected fruit, we would like our laboratory to examine it. We will be sending you a

return envelope for your convenience.

Sun-Maid is proud of its reputation of producing only the finest dried fruit products for over 90 years. We hope you will accept our sincere

apologies. We will be sending you complimentary coupons and recipes to the address you have provided. We value your loyalty as a

consumer.

Also, we do not pack any products containing gluten at our Kingsburg plant.

Sincerely,

Sun-Maid Growers of California

Consumer Affairs

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Next question,

Dates (not to be confused with nights out on the town with a gorgeous man). B) I purchased Sunmaid chopped dates in the bag, and when I opened them, they were coated in a white substance. Before I toss those dates into my homemade gluten-free granola, I want to identify this white powder coating. Any ideas? Surely it's not mold or something, right? :huh: I called the company, but they are not open until tomorrow.

Blessings. -J

Chopped dated are often coated in oat flour to keep them from sticking together. It looks white and powdery. I checked the Sunmaid website, and there is no ingredient statement for the dates. Does it say that there are oats in them? If it does, they may be (probably are) mainstream oats that are CC with gluten grains. I would ask the manufacturer the specific question - are the dates coated with oat flour.

Hope this helps, and you get your granola! ;)

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Thanks so much for your replies! The ingredient list only mentioned two things: dates and dextrose. Dextrose is sugar, right? Maybe it could be a sugar coating?

I'm not sure...I usually don't buy dates, just raisins...so it was a shock to open the dates and see them look so strange.

I went ahead and finished my granola without the dates! (and I ate it for dinner too!) ;)

I didn't get to call the company and ask my questions today. It's been "one of those days" with my son. He's fourteen months old, and his favorite thing to do is find EVERYTHING in the house that is dangerous and try to play with it! :rolleyes: And what better way to explore something than to lick it or put it in his mouth??? :P Leaves this mommy tired at the end of the day!

Blessings everyone. -J

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Dextrose is a sugar made from corn, so there's no gluten in it and the dates would be safe.

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I was reading through previous posts, and several people said that they use xan. gum "when necessary."

My question is...what would I bake that doesn't need it? It's a binder, correct? I'm trying to improve my baking skills. I'm slowly improving with each attempt, but I need to fully understand everything because cooking is a science (and I majored in psychology...which is totally useless in the kitchen). ;)

Blessings. -J

Xanthan performs the function of gluten - to hold things together. It's like a glue - few of the gluten-free flours have much of their own glue. BUT, some of the gluten free starches have some - like tapioca. It's a very sticky flour. It will hold together without xanthan. Sweet rice has a some of its own glueyness. Oats has some of its own glueyness (of course, only use gluten-free oats after you've had negative antibodies).

Eggs also add glueyness, though. So does gelatin. And cottage cheese (it's already got gum in it, quite frequently). And nut butters. And, sometimes, you don't want a lot of glueyness, you just want a little., like in a cake that you want to be very tender - to melt in your mouth.

That's why recipes say that. It just depends on what you are making and what it's got in it. General guidelines are:

1 tsp per cup for bread

1/4 to 1/2 tsp per cup for cakes, cookies, quick breads, pancakes, etc.

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