What in the World is Xanthan Gum?

What in the world is Xanthan Gum?

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You often see that one strange ingredient added to many vegan and gluten-free recipes: Xanthan Gum. But what exactly is is? Would you buy it if it was made with the help of bacteria?

The gum is “made from the outer shell of a tiny, inactive bacterium called Xanthomonas campestris” according to Bob’s Red Mill.

It acts as a copycat for gluten. The gum does two main things by binding ingredients with its glue like power:
1)It makes baked goods less crumbly.
2)In this way the baked good is more smooth.

Personally I want to move away from using this in my recipes, but it is an ingredient in both Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour, and King Arthur Flour’s GF Baking mix. Xanthan gum is in so many places other than special baked goods, but it doesn’t seem to be completely “safe”. The FDA has even put warnings for choking on Xanthan gum! There are definitely more natural options such as eggs for gluten-free bakers.

References
“Benefits of Xanthan Gum”- Livestrong
“Xanthan Gum Side Effects”- Livestrong
“Is Xanthan Gum Really Bad?”- Fork and Beans

 

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