Xanthan gum is a popular food additive used in cooking and baking, especially in gluten-free recipes. But how is xanthan gum made? And how can you use it in your recipes?
Read on to find out about the process of making xanthan gum, and why this stabiliser and thickener should be a pantry staple in every plant-based kitchen.
What Is Xanthan Gum?
Xanthan gum is made by fermenting sugar. The sugar is fermented by the bacteria xathomonas campestris – this is where xanthan gum gets its name – which forms a thick liquid. Adding alcohol to this liquid makes a solid, which is then dried and turned into a powder.
Both home cooking and industrial food production use xanthan gum in its powder form. It is also used in producing toothpaste, cosmetics, glue, paint and other goods.
Xanthan gum was first produced in the United States in the early 1960s, after being discovered by chemist Allene Rosalind Jeanes. It is an approved food additive (also known as E415) used across the UK, Europe and North America.
Xanthan gum is used as an emulsifier, stabiliser and thickener in commercial food production and home baking. Because it has little to no flavour, the powder can be used in cooking without changing how the food tastes.
Xanthan gum can be used in cooking and baking without adding much carbs, calories or fat. See the table below for its full nutritional information per 100g and per 2g serving:
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