Xanthan Gum is everyone’s friend.

green xanthan.jpg

This week I’ve got another quick hydrocolloid star, Xanthan Gum.

Xanthan Gum is (surprise!) a gelling agent – I can’t get enough of these things. Like the gelling agents mentioned here before, Xanthan has the ability to create and bind liquid molecules in a silky matrix.

Xanthan is much simpler than most agents on the market though.It’s easy to use, universally applicable and totally affordable. Bob’s Red Mill is my preferred variety; Bob’s is an employee owned company, really good people, I love their stuff.

As it says on their label, Xanthan is an inactive bacterium called “Xanthomonas Campestris”, that grows on a variety of plants. Keeping in mind good bacteria is good for you (mmm, yogurt), Xanthan is an ideal thickener for gravies, sauces, vinaigrettes, smoothies and purées. Really just about any liquid will be elevated with Xanthan.

I use Xanthan to enrich my gels and purées. Add a pinch to your favorite coffee for a thick and smooth texture, or put it in that Béchamel to add body. Whatever you use it for Xanthan will do the trick. Its gelling ability is even good for gluten-free baking!

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Image: http://blog.ideasinfood.com/ideas_in_food/approach_to_cooking/page/30/
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