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Our guar gum is just what you need for all your gluten-free baking needs. Guar gum was initially commercialized for the paper industry and is now used in multiple industries where it thickens anything from dies in the textile industry to various liquids in the gas and oil industry. As a food additive its use has gained worldwide popularity only recently as gluten-free products are on the rise.
What is guar gum?
- Guar gum, also known as "guaran", comes from the guar bean "cyamopsis tetragonoloba". It originates from India, which is currently the largest global provider of guar gum powder and is responsible for some 80% of the world’s total output. The powder derives from the seeds of a bean-like plan sometimes known as "The Indian Tree". Guar gum is commercially extracted from the seeds of the plant via a four step process that includes: roasting, de-husking, grinding and sieving. The remaining purified, powdery substance is an off-white, flour-like powder with an earthy odor.
Is guar gum gluten-free?
- The guar bean is naturally gluten free!
What is the difference between xanthan gum and guar gum?
- Both ingredients are frequently called for in gluten-free recipes and can seem exotic at first, but they both serve the same general purpose as thickeners and emulsifiers. Quite simply, both these ingredients help keep your mixes mixed. They keep oil droplets from sticking together and separating, and solid particles from settling to the bottom. You can use just one or the other; or sometimes for the best results, you can use them in combination together.
- One of the differences between the two products is where they come from. Guar gum is made from a seed native to tropical Asia, while xanthan gum is made by a micro organism called "xanthomonas campestris".
- In general, guar gum is good for cold foods such as ice cream or pastry fillings, while xanthan gum is better for baked goods. Xanthan gum is the right choice for yeasted breads. Foods with a high acid content (such as lemon juice) can cause guar gum to lose its thickening abilities. For recipes involving citrus, you will want to use xanthan gum or increase the amount of guar gum used.
- If you look at our Cuisine Angelique gluten-free mixes you will notice that some use one or the other and some use both. Experimenting is sometimes the only way to create a new recipe.
Why isn't your guar gum organic?
- We only sell organic products but sometimes, they just don't exist or are impossible to source. This is the case with: xanthan gum, guar gum, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), cream of tartar, double action baking powder and most obviously salt.
- Long story short, in the case of guar gum, since it is allowed in its conventional form in organic products (see explanation below) there isn't much producers that are interested in growing it. That is slowly changing and US sourced organic guar gum is slowly entering the market. As soon as it becomes commercially available in bulk quantities we will carry it.
How can products be labeled as organic if they contain conventional ingredients like guar gum?
- According to USDA rules (which most countries copy), if 95% of a product is made up of organic ingredients, it can be called organic.
- But you can't just add 5% of anything. The non-organic ingredients that can legally go into foods labeled as organic have to be listed in the "National List of inorganic products" that can legally go into foods labeled as organic.
- One of the key terms in the list is "commercially available". As an example organic yeast exists, we sell it but it is not considered "commercially available" as its cost is completely ridiculous. So conventional yeast is allowed in organic bread for example.
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