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I'm In Guar Gum Hell
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9 posts in this topic

I've been doing a lot of experimenting with "everything free" baking as I call it. I can't use xanthan gum because it's derived from corn and makes me sooooooooo sick.

When I bought guar gum I couldn't figure out why it wasn't used as much since it was cheaper than the xanthan gum. Boy do I know now. The guar gum has such a distinctive (and yucky!) flavor that the only thing you can use it in and not notice is something that is all chocolate.

I made an angel food cake that turned out gorgeous. It was perfect! I had to throw the whole thing out because it tasted simply disgusting.

Are there any other options besides guar gum and xanthan gum? How necessary are they to baking? Has anyone had success just leaving them out?

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Saw some interesting information in "Gluten-Free: Flavor-Free No More" by Melissa Clark in the NY Times dated 6/1/11.

Here's the link: Gluten-Free: Flavor-Free No More - NY Times article

Here are some quotes from the article:

"Ms. Ahern, an author, with her husband, Daniel Ahern, of the cookbook “Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef” (Wiley, 2010) and the popular blog Glutenfreegirl.com."

"The most important lesson that Ms. Ahern learned was figuring out how much flour to use. A cup of gluten-free flour and a cup of wheat flour will have different weights, but gram for gram, they act the same. And the precision of gram measurements helps."

“We are so attached to measuring things by volume in this country,” she said, “but what I’ve learned is that if you weigh everything instead, you can substitute a gluten-free flour blend for wheat flour in pretty much any recipe.”

"Her exact mix changes with what she has in the house, but she finds that a ratio of 70 percent grain and/or nut flours (sweet rice, brown rice, cornmeal, sorghum, amaranth, teff, millet, oat, buckwheat or almond) to 30 percent starches (potato starch, arrowroot, cornstarch, tapioca) will yield an all-purpose substitute for wheat flour."

I haven't tried this yet but it sounds like she's had success with her approach of leaving out the guar gum & xanthan gum.

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Saw some interesting information in "Gluten-Free: Flavor-Free No More" by Melissa Clark in the NY Times dated 6/1/11.

Here's the link: Gluten-Free: Flavor-Free No More - NY Times article

Here are some quotes from the article:

"Ms. Ahern, an author, with her husband, Daniel Ahern, of the cookbook

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It can be done but the resulting product is often crumbly. I've had success using psyllium husk fibre (and measuring by volume). When baking with gluten-free flour, aerate the blend in the canister or bag then spoon it into a cup before levelling. Don't use the spoon as a scoop as you will get up to 20% more flour than you want.

Unfortunately xanthan and guar gum are important as they prevent crumbling. If you add too much your product will too dense; if too little, it may be crumbly. I've used both xanthan (I don't use guar) and psyllium fibre husk together in recipes.

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Some recipes also call for plain gelatin. And I saw one somewhere that called for Sure-Jell (fruit pectin). That was in addition to xanthan gum.

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I've just recently started working with guar and it is definitely different. I didn't notice a difference in taste, mainly texture.

I am going to check out the above mentioned article though, as I think I am getting closer to weighing my flours rather than measuring by volume. I would love if it I could bake without gums. Just seems to good to be true!

Sylvia: I made some bread with an awesome texture using half guar and half gelatin. I couldn't believe how good it came out! Maybe there is something to plain ole' gelatin after all.

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I checked out one of her cookbooks from the library.

She uses almond flour (or did in this cookbook) almost exclusively, and didn't use substitute thickeners whatsover. All off the recipes looked absolutely yummy, but I seem to have lost my love for baking. :ph34r:

There was an internet souce listed for flours and nuts.

I've followed the author's blog for a year, she's excellent.

Hope you enjoy.

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I can't taste guar gum.

Some people use a slurry of hot boiling water and dissolve ground flax or chia seeds into it to make a gel.

I've tried the psylium as an experiment and it definitely set up the experiment as a success at baking a bricklike hockey puck in the ramekin in the microwave, so there is some potential there. :rolleyes: Others have had greater success, see here

riceguy's technique explained:

There are several types of gluten free meals/flours that are gummier than others, depending on what you do to them. So far it's been almond meal, amaranth, and buckwheat that I've used. Adding a bit of vinegar to some water and pre soaking buckwheat meal for a few minutes makes a gummy sort of concoction. Of course, you may not like the taste of this or of amaranth, but I'm putting the info out there.

I make a lot of flatbreads with buckwheat, potato starch, and garbanzo flour, and sometimes add almond and amaranth to this - it does not even need egg to hold together to make a pancake. Always use a little vinegar.

I also make small skillet breads of ground almond meal (do it myself in the blender) with one egg, or of almond meal with sorghum and amaranth - tastes somewhat whole grainy-cornmealie, but again, one egg holds the entire cup of flour together with no gum.

I'd go have a look at Shauna's Gluten Free Girl blog.

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Thanks for all the advice! I thought I had heard that The Gluten free Girl wasn't using guar or xanthan anymore.

I do use Elana's Pantry almond meal recipes a lot and I really love them. But I also love trying all kinds of other flour types.

It never occurred to me to try psyllium husk. I'll definitely give it a try!

Good tips for weighing the flour. I actually have a degree in Culinary Arts, but work in a different field now. In school we always weighed for baking instead of doing volume. I'll be moving that direction again.

Again, thanks for all the advice!

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