The First Time I Ever Tried Xantham Gum…

This entry is an archived blog post from Cake Maker to the Stars from 10.2.09. I wanted to share it with you, because I thought it might be helpful to show that it can take a while to come to terms with xgfx baking. Now, I use XG in a lot of my baking, but I am just very careful with how much I use and to keep it away from water as much as possible.

I was pondering Vegan MoFo subject matter in a public arena last night, when I was reminded of an important post I had begun a few weeks ago. I began writing it in a hot fit of hate and rage, and then when my boiling blood cooled a little, I was distracted by zombie cupcakes and poured fondant.

Here’s what I wanted you to know:

XANTHAM GUM IS THE DEVIL STRAIGHT FROM THE BOWELS OF HELL. Some people in the elevator may tell you it’s Bill Clinton, but they are wrong. Unless they have solid literature, do not listen to them.
Now I’ve known for some time that xantham gum is irritating stuff. It alone has caused me to avoid XgfX baking, for eleven months now. It has an unpleasant name. It makes me feel nervous and uncomfortable around flour. Also, it’s wickedly expensive–what’s to like? In New Orleans I could only find it in small bags for $15 bucks or so, too much to spend on a tenuous kitchen experiment. But here in Portland, I can find it in the bulk bins, which is besides the point, since I was recently given a hand-me-down bag of it (more proof that it’s rotten stuff, people are trying to pass it off to the innocent). Anyway, I’d finally gotten to the point in my “journey” where I was becoming open to trying a XgfX mix. I thought experimenting with something within my comfort zone like Indian flatbreads–specifically simple chapathis and aloo paratha, would be a good idea.

So you know how slimy and gummy ground flax gets when it’s been moistened? Have you ever dealt with psyllium husk slush? Do you know about mixing Gremlins and water? Xanthan Gum becomes a horrid plague when moistened with liquid–like a zillion billion trillion times worse than anything you could ever imagine. I seriously can’t believe it was left out of the bible story. I know this to be true because I unknowingly threw some into the sink and then tried to wash it down the drain with running water.

Here’s my warning–do not do this. You will be sorry, and you will never get it out of your sink, off your sponges, or away from your skin unless you use coarse gritty sand paper. Even then, you will still know it’s there.

Instead, stick to recipes that do not require this evil nightmare, like Isa and Terry’s gluten-free cupcakes from VCToTW.

The end.


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  1. Rafael
    Posted April 17, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Of all the things that can be made with xantham gum, who would have thought Schadenfreude would be one of them? *Cackle*

  2. Posted April 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    FINALLY someone who GETS it about xanthan gum!! ok i am so inspired. I’m writing a post on this right now, for once and for ALL!

  3. Cailin Banks
    Posted April 17, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    It is the case though that a lot of gluten free baking does incorporate xanthan gum. Is there a suitable alternative you might suggest that could replace this?

    • Posted April 17, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Jessy hates xantham gum, so she doesn’t use it. She recommends experimenting with flax, psyllium husk and chia instead.

  4. Posted April 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    I like to use tapioca starch and I find ground chia and flax mixed with liquid to also work well.

    Aaaaaallthough… I seem to have slipped through the xgfx cracks here because I have never ever had xanthan gum give me any sass! I even like the word xanthan! HAH. Kittee, I hope this spawns hope for XG in your world.

  5. Posted April 18, 2011 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    Too funny!! Does it cause you any GI upset? I have heard people suffering greatly from the stuff.
    Peace and Raw Health,

  6. Kuwanna
    Posted April 18, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    We use a tsp of xanthan gum for every cup of rice flour so it’ll rise. I’ve only used it once by itself and wet, and in that case I agree it’s a slimy nightmare. But it bakes well in the banana bread and my daughter who has a wheat allergy isn’t affected.

  7. Posted May 24, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!! :oD

    Xanthan gum is gummy, sticky, slimy, and eternal. But every gluten substitute has its drawbacks.

    Thanks for the laugh!

  8. Oliver
    Posted August 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    I can relate your story. I bought Xanthan Gum because a lot of modern chefs are using it. It doesn’t make the product good. When added to milkshakes, it makes it fake, slimy, & cloying even in small doses. IT’S LIKE THERE’S A SNOT IN YOUR MILKSHAKE!

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