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RiceGuy

Xanthan -Vs- Guar Gum

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After more experiments than I can count, I've determined a few things about the differences between xanthan gum and guar gum. If you've wondered which one to use, the following should help that decision. But as for a clear winner - there isn't one. It truly depends on what you're making, and how you'd like it to turn out.

  • Guar gum typically aids the rising of whole grain and other hardy types of breads more effectively than xanthan.
  • Breads made with xanthan seem to brown easier than those made with guar gum.
  • Doughs made with guar gum will generally be stiffer than those made with xanthan.

So when it comes to rising, the higher the starch content, the more xanthan is likely to work better. The trade-offs are in nutrient content and flavor. Conversely, the lower the starch content, the more guar gum is likely to work better.

Just as with whole grain wheat-based breads, whole grain gluten-free breads tend to be denser and heavier.

Generally, a bread made with guar gum will achieve optimal height if risen to a greater percentage of the total before baking than one made with xanthan. I believe this is due to the fact that more of the water in a xanthan bread will convert to steam during baking, thus push the dough higher in the process. So you can expect a xanthan bread to achieve a lower percentage of the total rise before baking, since it will gain more of it during baking. But because hardier breads will be denser and heavier, xanthan breads and guar gum breads have different optimal heights.

When mixing by hand, I find that with xanthan, lumps are best avoided by adding all the water at once, and mixing thoroughly in the shortest amount of time possible. Whereas with guar gum, I find that lumps are best avoided by adding only part of the water at first (1/2 to 2/3 of the total), mix to a very stiff dough for about 4 minutes or more, then add remaining water and mix until uniform.

Having worked with guar gum extensively, I've found a number of things to help get the most out of it. Much of which is detailed in this thread.

I think that about covers it. Happy baking!

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In your opinion does the same apply to cookies, muffins etc. ? as Some recipes do call for a small amount of xantham gum .

BTM Thanks for all your engineering in the bread area

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In your opinion does the same apply to cookies, muffins etc. ? as Some recipes do call for a small amount of xantham gum .

The same does basically apply to muffins, sweetbreads, bagels, biscuits, and other bread items. Basically anything which must be risen. Also cakes, donuts, and so forth, though there are certainly different textural properties involved.

However, cookies are often (but possibly not always) another matter. Soft, spongy cookies would probably benefit from the proper binder(s), and like breads there's always personal preference. Cookies generally aren't risen much, so it's probably more a matter of desired texture than about getting them to rise enough. But many types of cookies I know rely heavily on sugar as an ingredient, and such large percentages of sugar have a definite impact on the texture. This is particularly true of crispy cookies, which are generally dependent on the sugar content for much of their texture. Sugar does tend to hold things together too, so I don't imagine much use for gums in crispy types of cookies.

I honestly haven't used sugar in quite awhile. And since going gluten-free, I sweeten my baked treats with pure Stevia extract powder, which compared to sugar is used in very small amounts. Basically like a spice, as the amount is generally a fraction of a teaspoon per cup of flour. The gluten-free cookies I've made have thus far been intended to be crispy, and have turned out best without any gums. The few times I've tried using gums in cookies, the resulting texture was not like any cookie I've ever had before, and I have no desire to repeat them. I suppose I should buy some sugar just to experiment with it, in cookies especially, if for no other reason than to see how they turn out.

Hope that helps!

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