Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lessons From the CIA – Gums in Gluten-Free Baking

It’s been a while since I shared what I learned in baking class from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Let’s get back to that, shall we?

Today’s lesson is about the use of gums in gluten-free and wheat-free baking.

One of the reasons wheat is so widely used in baking – and especially in breads – is because the structure of the proteins in wheat gives the grain an elasticity that isn’t found in non-gluten grains. When you rip your wheat bread apart you can see that springiness. Remember that light airy texture in wheat bread? That’s the gluten at work. That’s what we are trying to replace by adding gums to non-gluten breads.

The two most widely available options are xanthan gum and guar gum. Xanthan gum, which I wrote about a while back, is a created substance, usually derived from corn. For those that are allergic to corn or who just want another option, guar gum comes from guar beans. Both are polysaccharides (carbohydrates bonded together).

Both guar gum and xanthan gum behave similarly and can be used to make a batter or mixture more viscous. In other words, they can add back that springiness that we all love so much in our bread, and keep them from crumbling. It’s all about the texture.

Very little gum is needed. As little as ¼ tsp is all you need in many recipes. Guar gum and xanthan gum can be substituted in equal quantities in recipes. The more you add, the doughier a batter becomes.

The trick to using gums is to always add them to the dry ingredients.

These gums are hydrocolloidal – as soon as they find liquid they start to gum up. If you add them to the wet ingredients they’ll glob together – and could even cause a choking hazard. So, mix it in well with your flour and other dry ingredients before adding to the wet ingredients and you’ll end up with bread that is uniformly springy.

Keep in mind that some of the gluten-free flour mixes available today have the gums already added in, simplifying this tricky business. There is no need to add more.

Happy baking! Check out previous lessons from the CIA here.


dental consultant said...

A healthy diet can equate to healthy teeth and gums. Beverages like carbonated drinks can damage teeth and gums.

orthodontic associates said...

Gluten hastens tar buildup in the teeth. Gluten also sticks and creates acidic residue that creates tiny holes in the teeth. A gluten free diet is very ideal.

ronald receveur said...

Sometimes you just got to take care of your teeth properly in order to keep your teeth clean and healthy.