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Xanthan Gum

shutterstock_113985304Even though you might not believe it, xanthum gum is a natural carbohydrate. It’s made from a microscopic organism called Xanthomonas campestris. After the organism is produced by the fermentation of glucose or sucrose, it is dried and ground into a fine powder. After that, it is combined with a liquid to form the gum. Basically, xantham gum is added to gluten free baking to mimic the characteristics that protein or gluten naturally provide – that is, viscosity, elasticity and airiness. Although very expensive, you only need to add a little bit of powder to derive all of its benefits. Conversely, if you add too much, your baked good will be overly elastic and dense. So keep an accurate set of measuring spoons handy. And make sure to mix the xantham gum thoroughly with your dry ingredients. This way you’ll avoid the possible pitfall of  ending up with undissolved globs in your cakes and cookies. Store in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.