Plant-based thickening and stabilizing agent.
Major uses - emulsifier, thickener, and creating a creamy texture.
In gluten-free baking, xanthan gum plays the crucial role of imitating gluten.
In baking, gluten is what makes dough "doughy." It gives the dough elasticity, as well as viscosity. Those properties help to hold a cookie together while it bakes on a sheet in the oven, and they enable cakes and breads to hold onto the gas bubbles that form inside them - this allows them to rise and take shape. Xanthan gum helps replicate these properties in recipes that do not contain gluten.
CAS Number: 11138-66-2
Disperse in cold or hot water; dispersion can be improved by mixing with sugar or glycerol, alcohol or vegetable oil.
Typical concentration (% by weight):
0.1-0.25% thin running liquids, 0.7-1.5% thick paste
One popular dispersion method is to disperse in oil (either on a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio of xanthan to oil) followed by vigorous stirring and, optionally, filtering to remove any remaining clumps.
Another method is to thoroughly mix xanthan with a small amount of sugar, preferably in a mortar, prior to dispersion.
This delays the hydration enough to allow the gum to disperse before it has a chance to form lumps. As when working with other hydrocolloids, vigorous stirring or mixing with a hand blender works very well to aid dispersion.