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Aug 23, 2006 12:20 AM

I purchased Guar gum as a thickening agent

Now what?
All my googling didn't answer my questions:

what's the ratio of g.g. to liquid?
does this break down when heated (like cornstarch can)?
Anything else I should know?

Any help would be appreciated 'Hounds.


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  1. I'd be careful with that stuff. Many people cannot tolerate it. I avoid it whenever I can. The consequences of eating it are not good.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      I'm not doubting you, but this is the first time I have ever have heard of this. I have used guar gum for a long time, especially in vinaigrettes. I've literally served it to hundreds of people and never had any complaint. It is a also a common ingredient in commercially prepared and processed foods.

      1. re: Candy

        Candy, see my full explanation below. People who cannot tolerate it are probably using it incorrectly (and often unknowingly).

        1. re: Candy

          candy thats not true. If guar gum was bad for you.
          Then they would not nave it in pills,and also carol fenster,a ph.d. doctor who makes gluten free stuff
          with bobs red mill. And she wrote books to.
          Bu the way,i have learned its an herb as well.

            1. re: pumpkinP

              I am a scientist. This is totally irrelevant regarding use of guar gum in food.

              10g 3x per day is way too far out of bounds for normal use in a diet. I use maybe 1/8g for 2 cups of salad dressing... If that.

              1. re: Rilya_42

                A scientist in what? If you have a PhD in the medical area or biochemistry I could listen to you, otherwise it's just another opinion.

            2. re: Candy

              My son cannot tolerate anything with Guar gum at all. It is a majour migraine trigger for him.

            3. Guar gum has almost 8 times the thickening power of corn starch. Corn starch has twice the thickening power of flour. So, if you traditionally use 2 T. flour per cup of liquid, that would translate into 3/8 t. guar. Roughly.

              Guar doesn't break down like cornstarch when heated. Technically, guar requires no heat to thicken, but it takes quite a long time to hydrate, so heat is generally recommended.

              Guar clumps like crazy when added to liquid. Some people put it in a salt shaker and shake it into the liquid while whisking vigorously. That works pretty well. If the lumps aren't too big, letting the sauce sit for a while should help.

              Make sure you smell it before you use it. Some brands of guar are quite beany tasting and you'll want to use it in applications where the taste isn't noticeable.

              Besides being potentially beany tasting, guar, like all soluble gum fibers makes for slimy textured sauces. If this is an attempt to cut carbs, there's better options. If carbs are not your concern, definitely use something else. There's much better tasting thickeners out there.

              6 Replies
              1. re: scott123

                You sound like you know what you are talking about, scott123. I want to try and make homemade granola bars, but they always break apart, never chewy and soft. I saw a recipe using guar gum, but all it did was make a clumpy mess. Any ideas on how to make the granola bars better?

                1. re: scott123

                  Guar gum should not cause any one to become sick. It's completely natural (I am a biologist in my day job when I'm not cooking brownies!), and there's no research reports of bad reactions. I've used it in just about everything that needs a thickening agent, and no one I have served foods containing guar has ever had a bad reaction to it. Guar gum can even be good for your health. New research studies have found that guar helps diabetics to control blood sugar.

                  There are various manufacturres of guar. Maybe you should try a different source.

                  1. re: mablesyrup

                    Careful there - " It's completely natural" - has no backing for deciding if something is poisonous! There are myriads of NATURAL poisons :-(

                    1. re: jounipesonen

                      Point, however, guar gum is not toxic - the only cases I've been able to find of it being an issue is when it's been consumed in powder form/before it fully hydrates, leading to bowel blockages.

                      MSDS is

                      EDIT: Just realised that if you're not familiar with them, MSDS sheets can look a bit scary. Bear in mind that the MSDS sheet for water (from the same supplier) is 4 pages long, and ironically, recommends handling it only by wearing gloves and washing your hands thoroughly after removing them. The more you know!

                      1. re: LiamF

                        how much not available are you allowed to list??
                        they have "not available" for Color, for goodness sakes!

                        1. re: Chowrin

                          The reason stuff is listed as 'not available' is basically that this isn't a substance of concern. On something really nasty, this form will be filled out exhaustively.

                2. Thanks for your quick replies.

                  Into the trash it goes. I'm really disappointed because this was highly recommended by an accomplished cook-friend of mine. >:-(

                  O.K., so carbs are definitely NOT an issue with me, but sauces breaking down ARE.

                  I've 'done' Wondra, cornstarch, arrowroot, flour, roux. All the regular stuff.

                  So what do you suggest Scott?


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hbgrrl

                    If your problem is breaking sauces I recommend more fat. Seriously. If your sauce is breaking (depending on what kind it is) add a pat of butter or an extra egg yolk and keep going. Generally it comes back together for me.

                  2. No no! Don't throw it out yet! Play with it first to see what happens!

                    Since your cook-friend, ask that friend what to do with it!

                    To keep it from clumping when adding to liquid, mix it with salt or sugar (depending on if you are adding it to savory or sweet sauce/liquid). Take a whisk and whisk in a small circle while gently streaming in the guar gum/salt or sugar mixture. If you do this it will not clump.

                    1. I have used guar gum for many years with no problems. My main use is as an emulsifier/thickener for vinaigrette type salad dressings. Guar gum works particularly well for this because it does not require heat to thicken and it adds NO taste to the dressings. I use a scant 1/4 - 3/8 tsp. for 16 fluid ounces of salad dressing. to get what I consider the ideal consistency.

                      I've tried using it for other things like gravies and sauces with some slightly mixed results. It's easy to use too much. But I've never had it result in a real disaster or a mistake that couldn't be fixed.

                      Bob's Red Mill is the brand I've used. And never experienced an off-taste or smell.