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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.

    5 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: Candy

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

            2. 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 http://www.sigmacolloids.com/pdf/MSDS...

                      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.

                      1. I hope you haven't thrown it away yet! Candy may have had bad experiences w/ it, but I don't think it's a harmful product in general. It's actually in many processed foods and according to wikipedia and my biologist husband, it's natural and safe (at least from a scientific standpoint).

                        I googled to get more info and below are some links I found helpful since they also touch upon food uses. You may have seen these already, but they may enlighten someone else:



                        It can be used in items like salad dressings, sauces, ice cream, and pastry filling. The beauty is that it can be dissolved in cold water, prevents the formation of ice crystals, and gives the mouthfeel of fat. I found it interesting that it can prevent "weeping" in pastry cream which will prevent a tart crust from sogging.

                        If I went to the trouble of buying this stuff, I would def. experiment w/ it. I bet that Ferran Adria of El Bulli and his followers have recipes using this stuff. I'd have to see how it impacts homemade ice cream, just to compare to my non-gum bases. I would also ask your cook friend for ideas since he/she was the one who suggested it to you in the first place. Would love to hear any follow ups on your use. You may end up not liking it, but at least you can say you've tried it.

                        BTW, where did you buy it and how much does it generally cost?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Carb Lover

                          Guar gum doesn't seem to be all that popular with the Ferran Adria crowd. For some reason xanthan gum seems to be a lot more 'in.'

                        2. As much as I recommended a careful approach in my previous post, I definitely wasn't advocating throwing your guar out. It definitely has it's uses. Soluble fiber gums (xanthan, guar, cellulose, locust bean) are excellent for promoting smaller ice crystal formation in homemade ice cream. They also add viscosity to the ice cream mix, allowing, in turn, better overrun (air)/improved scoopability. They're also good for stabilizing- salad dressing, as has been previously mentioned.

                          The one application where I find guar works wonderfully is cheese sauce. A roux stabilized cheese sauce is a bit tastier, but it involves a lot more time/energy. If you want a quick easy cheese sauce, guar will stabilize it nicely/help to prevent it from curdling. You don't need much- the cheese in the sauce does most of the thickening. Also, because of the lack of flavor diluting starch, guar cheese sauce is a lot cleaner tasting/bolder.

                          Guar is occasionally used in coconut milk to prevent it from separating. I've been experimenting with it in an effort to keep coconut milk from breaking when boiled. So far the results haven't been that great, though. I think the amount necessary for this purpose exceeds what I'm willing to use.

                          Xanthan has a good synergy with guar. If you turn out to like it, you might want to invest in some xanthan. I always use both.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: scott123

                            I'm intrigued with the guar in ice cream thing. What does it do for mouthfeel? If it "improves" overrun, does it make it airier (which, in my opinion, isn't necessarily a good thing)? Maybe you just have to be more careful about not allowing overrun or over churning? I'm a little hesitant to add something like this in ice cream, but if it improves texture (smaller ice crystals) without impairing flavor or mouthfeel, I'd be for it. That said, I remember one time leaving store-bought ice cream out overnight. In the morning, it looked really weird - it still had some shape to it - it wasn't just liquid sitting at the bottom. Kind of gross really, but I wasn't sure if it was still so airy because of the additives (like guar?) or because of all the overrun, which caused it to be sort of whipped. Thoughts?

                            Anyhow, I assume you'd use it in only very small amounts for ice cream? When would you add it? After the custard or ice cream base has been taken off of the heat - or when it is cold?

                            1. re: adamclyde

                              I've used neutral stabilizer powder which is a mix of xanthan and guar gums in ice cream and sorbets. I posted my results here (scroll down to last post):

                              As you'll see guar gum by itself has also been used for ice cream. It pretty much removes all ice crystals and gives the sorbet/gelato a very smooth, creamy mouthfeel regardless of how long you freeze it. If you use the full amount in the Tyler's Ultimate recipe (about 1 Tb per quart) you'll get something that verges on slimy (sorry, that's the only word that comes to mind). My husband won't eat it because of that. I've used it in other mixes but at a lower rate, about 1 ts per quart. At this rate, it reduces the amount of crystallization, increases creaminess without adding any odd textures. It's worth keeping just for that. I've made gelato with less cream or egg yolks by adding a small amount of the powder which means the gelato is lower in fat without sacrificing mouthfeel.

                              1. re: adamclyde

                                It's important to remember that ice cream is, among other things, a foam. Although commercial ice cream manufacturers abuse this trait by loading ice cream with as much air as they can get away with, for the home ice cream maker, some air incorporation is a good thing. Ice crystals are made up of water molecules in close proximity that have bonded with each other. Anything you can place in the path of these molecules will hinder their ability to form crystals. Dissolved solids are excellent for this purpose (sugar, corn syrup, milk solids), as are pockets of air.

                                Besides acting as a barrier to ice crystals, pockets of air weaken ice cream's structure overall and improve scoopability.

                                You'll want to add it as early as possible in the base-making process, as it takes a while to hydrate, especially if it wasn't incorporated well and clumps were formed.

                                Cheryl's 1 ts. per quart recommendation is about right for pure guar (I'd use a little less for multiple gums due to the synergy involved). Tyler's quantities (1 T. per quart) are... well... not indicative of a great deal of soluble fiber gum knowledge. This is definitely not one of the cases where if a little is good, more is better. Most of the ingredients in ice cream are very unforgiving when it comes to over or underutilization.

                                1. re: scott123

                                  about the clumping, does it help to make a really small slurry, like you do with cornstarch, where you mix it with a little cold liquid, then add it into the hot?

                                  By the way, great, science-based information. Do you have a background in food science?

                                  1. re: adamclyde

                                    Guar begins to hydrate/thicken as soon as it hits the water. It's completely different from corn starch where heat causes the starch granules to swell. A small slurry would be difficult to whisk. Guar requires agitation while being added to liquids to avoid clumping. Sprinkling it with one hand while vigorously whisking with the other works pretty well. If you have dry ingredients to pre-mix it with that works well also.

                                    Clumping shouldn't be that much of an issue in ice cream due to the heat involved (heat helps clumps of guar break down) and the time necessary to chill the base (time breaks down clumps as well).

                                    My background is as a chef, but food science is my passion- I read just about anything I can get my hands on.

                                    1. re: scott123

                                      I am attemtping to use Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum as stabilizer agents combined with Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, High Fructose, and Water basically making a thicker "Simple Sugar" to be used for Italian Water Ice or Sorbet. I am trying to find out how much Xanthan and Guar Gum I need to add to produce 1 gallon of this Simple Sugar to give my Italian Water Ice the smooth texture without making it runny or slimey. Your wisdom is greatly appreciated!!

                                      1. re: ItalianIceGuy

                                        Hi I have been experimenting with a similar recipe for making sorbet and it could be used for making slush - if you are still interested and around we could share ideas - Steve

                            2. Thanks for all the replies!
                              It's turned out to be a lively conversation!

                              O.K., you guys talked me off the ledge.
                              I won't throw the guar away. I WILL try it in dressings. It sounds like a perfect way to use it. I think I may also experiment with cold dipping sauces that I want to tighten just a bit.

                              Thanks too for the slime warning. That creeps me out just a bit. lol

                              I don't make ice cream, so I won't be using it for that.

                              But the question STILL remains, what thicking agent do you use that doesn't break down when heated.


                              3 Replies
                              1. re: hbgrrl

                                Your original post said you found cornstarch to break down. I use it all the time for thickening when I'm cooking Chinese and have never found it to break down even at boiling temperatures. It's a great stabilizer IMO.

                                1. re: cheryl_h

                                  I have to agree - I can't think of any time cornstarch has broken - at any heat - for me.

                                  1. re: adamclyde

                                    Cornstarch, like most grain starches will not breakdown with heat. It will breakdown during reheating if one stirs it too much. Grain starch base sauces do not freeze well. When thawed they will separate and loses their thickening property.
                                    Root starches such as arrowroot, potato starch and tapioca starch thicken at a lower temperature but will thin out if heated too high or too long or stir too vigoriously. But sauces made with these starches freezes well.

                              2. Cornstarch, like most grain starches will not breakdown with heat. It will breakdown during reheating if one stirs it too much. Grain starch base sauces do not freeze well. When thawed they will separate and loses it's thickening property.
                                Root starches such as arrowroot, potato starch and tapioca starch thicken at a lower temperature but will thin out if heated too high or too long or stir too vigoriously. But sauces made with these starches freezes well

                                1. Guar gum can be used quite effectively if mixed into your liquids very slowly, as described by other readers. I use guar gum in making homemade yogurt. Homemade yogurt tends to be quite runny, and guar gum gives it a natural, firmer texture (as opposed to gelatin which is an animal product). The reason guar gum has a bad reputation is because non prescription diet agents used it in their commercial products to give the dieter a "full feeling". This worked, but the large quantities of dry powdered guar gum mixed with liquids in the stomach and caused a binding effect which caused intestinal blockages. This practice was banned by the FDA in the 1990s. When used in small amounts properly, guar gum is quite safe and can greatly enhance the texture of your product. It is also much cheaper than agar agar (a natural gelatin) and contains no animal by products (as gelatin does).

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: katylynn

                                    I tried using guar gum as a thickener for homemade yogurt. I used 1 tsp for 1 quart and it came out slimy and colorless...any tips??? Thank you!!

                                  2. Right next to the metamucil in your pharmacy is Benefiber, a powdered fiber supplement. It is guar gum. If you want to try it and don't want to hunt around or have to buy a lot of the stuff, get thee to a pharmacy.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: greygarious

                                      ah, greygarious! i think guar gum in my diet (which i try to avoid) treats my body the way that benefiber would. i'll take my vinaigrette (cream cheese, ice cream, sour cream....) sans guar, if i have any choice.

                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        Clarification/update: I don't know why the change, but Benefiber, which was initially guar gum, was reformulated in 2006 and is now wheat dextrin, whatever that is!

                                        1. re: greygarious

                                          I use guar gum rarely--the really advantage of it is that it thickens liquids without heating. It does add body to vinaigrette, though I use oil for that purpose. Does help if your smoothie turns out a bit thin.

                                          The biggest drawbacks:

                                          1) It is pricey
                                          2) It does have a distinctive flavour--sort of....bitter and chemically. Use a gentle hand.

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            Hi there! I just found this place after purchasing some guar gum to use in a key lime pie filling. Benefiber is actually not a wheat product or sugar, but rather inulin, which is just ground chicory root. It is also the same additive in many yogurt products and beverages claiming to have prebiotic fiber.

                                            Has anyone ever used guar in pie fillings? Unfortunately I have fallen ill and am on an incredibly restrictive diet (sooo painful for someone who loves their food so much they photograph it!!), and am unable to use starches, dairy, or sugar in the filling. I have been experimenting a lot with psyllium lately, but it isn't quite right for this project. I was also debating blending an avocado in to the mix for consistency. I am using key limes, almond milk, egg yolks, and stevia in the base, but am looking for something to thicken, stabilize, and add a creamier texture.


                                            1. re: treehuggerlinds

                                              I would be inclined to use gelatin or agar-agar here rather than guar gum. At a concentration sufficient to really thicken up the filling enough I think you would find the rather bean-y flavour of the guar gum to be objectionable. If I put more than, say, 1/2 tsp in a large smoothie, I don't like the flavour.

                                              I don't know the nature of your starch intolerance, but keep in mind that while guar gum and agar-agar are not starches per se, they are, like starch, polysaccharides. Starches are glucose polysaccharides, whereas agar-agar is a galactose polysaccharide and guar gum is a mannose polysaccharide. Chemically, they have similar properties, though metabolically they are different.

                                              1. re: zamorski

                                                Thank you for the response! I was kinda of hoping to get away from the gelatin-style pie filling, but it may be the only option at this time , with not enough time to really experiment. I don't want it to taste like beans! I've always loved a thick, rich, traditional key lime pie.

                                                Take care,

                                              2. re: treehuggerlinds

                                                Lindsay, according to the Benefiber website, it IS wheat dextrin. Perhaps you are thinking of Fiber Choice, which is inulin. The package color and design are similar.

                                              3. re: greygarious

                                                Hahaha if you look on youtube for "benefiber sludge" they mix the old formula with water and lit it sit for 10 minutes, when they pour it out it's like a sludge of jello and mud... It's YUMMY looking!! ;-)

                                            2. I bought guar gum in an attempt to improve the texture of frozen "cream" soups. Basically chowders, cheese and gumbos. I hadn't had success with flour or cornstarch, so looked for something that might work better. I found guar gum listed as successful in frozen foods, but now I'm lost, no instructions!
                                              So, i'm looking for help in using it, or something else that will let me fill the freezer for my 92 year old Mom, who loves corn chowder and broccoli cheese soup, but doesn't want to cook any more<g>.
                                              Thank you for any help you can offer.


                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: imacline6

                                                Corn starch breaks when it freezes so guar should work much better. If you still want to use a starch and arent' comfortable with gums yet, I would reccomend tapioca starch, potato starch, or arrowroot starch. They have simmilar thickening power but don't break in the freezer. I hope this works for you!

                                                1. re: MeaganM

                                                  Corn starch breaks down when it is exposed to amylase - a powerful enzyme present in human saliva. So be careful when "tasting" one's dish while making it if you use corn starch to thicken.

                                              2. Hello!!! I've been researching thickeners for a while (corn starch and gelatin are so convineint, but I want to branch out) so I finnaly made the $20 jump and bought guar gum, xanthen gum, and arrowroot powder. (I'm scoping out some locust bean gum!!)

                                                With my new "toys" I made soy fro-yo last night and it definatly improved the texture (creamy, slower melting, thicker), and ice crystal formation. I used about 1/2 a tsp of each in (4) 2/3 c. servings of icecream (I guess that equates to 2 2/3 c...)
                                                From what I've read, xanthen works more to thicken (hense the use in gluten free baked goods) and guar helps achieve a creamier texture.
                                                Today I made a smoothie with less than a 1/4 tsp of each guar and xanthen for myself and it came out much thicker and creamier than usual. I was impressed!!

                                                Now the real reason I've had experimenting to do is Chirstmas gifts of hot cocoa mix... I want them to be perfect: thick, creamy and indulgent, so I want to use a thickener. I'm yet to try the gums, but arrowroot powder (starch) didn't impress me.

                                                I should not xanthen was $13.50 for 8 oz and guar gum was about 5 oz for $5 something? The arrowroot starch was cheap in the bulk section.

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: MeaganM

                                                  Meagan, although I think xanthan and guar would be valuable additions to hot cocoa mix, I would recommend mixing xanthan and guar into a small amount of water and seeing what it tastes like. The reason I say this is because the result isn't what I refer to as 'creamy,' exactly. It's a little bit opaque, but I'd place it more in the jelly realm than the cream one.

                                                  It makes ice cream 'creamier' because it inhibits ice crystals, not because it's bringing any innate creaminess to the table.

                                                  As far as making a hot cocoa mix that produces an end product that's "thick, creamy and indulgent," I'm mulling it over in my head, and, I have to tell you, cold fusion sounds a lot easier ;)

                                                  Seriously, though, it is an intriguing challenge. The easiest/most obvious way to add creaminess to hot cocoa is to add cream. With a dried mix, though, that's not really an option. Dried cream is obtainable, but, like dried milk, it's not really that palatable. The second thing that pops into my mind is cocoa butter. You could seek out a cocoa with higher fat content, or, what I might do, is take a bar of high quality chocolate and grind it.. You'd have to grind it with as little heat as possible- a mortar and pestle might do the trick.

                                                  The downside to cocoa butter/bar chocolate, though, is that it will have to be emulsified. Dried milk makes a great emulsifier, but, like I said before- palatability. Gums will give you a little bit of emulsification, but you really can't use too much of them- both from a perspective of sliminess and potentially laxating effects. Just about any starch, unless it's modified, will have to be stirred like a pudding. Sugar has some emulsifying properties, although it also adds sweetness. You could try utilizing a less sweet form of sugar, though, such as glucose powder. I'm not a big fan of the taste/shelf life of lecithin, but I think that will the limited number of emulsifiers you have at your disposal, you may not have a choice.

                                                  This is getting a bit out there, but there's one starch that might help out here- the modified starch they use for instant pudding. You definitely wouldn't want the flavors in instant pudding, but if you could score some of the pure starch, it might fit the bill. I have no clue where to get that, though. You probably don't want to take this route, but Walmart's house brand of sugar free pudding has very little sweetness/flavor- it's pretty much pure starch. I might experiment with that, and, if I liked the end result, seek out the harder to find purer version.

                                                  Regarding locust bean gum. There's a product called thickenthin notstarch that's a combination of gums (acacia, xanthan, locust bean and guar). It's too rich for my blood, but, from the people who I know who use it, it seems to be creamier/less slimy than xanthan/guar.


                                                  One thing I would keep in mind is that, whatever thickeners you go with, the more variety the better. Thickening occurs when molecules bump into each other. The more variety in sizes and shapes, the more 'clutter,' the more thickness/improved emulsification.

                                                  1. re: scott123

                                                    Nice thread that I have enjoyed.

                                                    Scott, thanks for your info.

                                                    I have a source for unflavored modified food starch. I have an 8 oz can of Delmark ThickenUp that is "Food Starch Modified and Maltodextrin." Nestle is unfortunately the parent company now, and an 8 oz container of the powder is $7, plus shipping. It may be available at a restaranut supply house. I enjoy shopping at one nearby regularly. You can check it out at Nestle's site: http://www.nestlenutritionstore.com/g...

                                                    I also have an old 1 lb can of Diamond Crystal PureePlus which is granulated gelatin. I haven't found it on the Diamond Crystal Specialty Foods site today.

                                                    Would someone suggest where I might get guar gum without online shipping fees? I bought my xanthan gum at a local health food store. I haven't checked there for guar gum.

                                                    Walt B

                                                    1. re: waltbx

                                                      Walt, thanks for the lead on the modified starch.

                                                      Your local health food store should have guar. If you have a Whole Foods near you, they should have it as well.

                                                      1. re: waltbx

                                                        Hey Walt,
                                                        I didn't care for the after taste of guar gum, but found a product online "Perfected Guar Gum" on a site called ModernistPantry. Whatever you order there, there is a flat-fee shipping charge. I haven't looked to see if they carry ThickenUp. Good luck with that. I use the Perf GG in my ice cream and there is no after taste that I can tell.

                                                      2. re: scott123

                                                        I have been following this thread and learned a bit . I now have a question . What about acacia powder as a thickening agent e.g. I am trying to reproduce the honey-garlic sauce that is on ribs from good take-out restaurants . The honey always thins mine out . I know that acacia solution gives a thick neutral-tasting product and is used as a pill coating ingredient from when I worked with pharmaceuticals and wonder if it could work and where to obtain it . Any thoughts . Thanks .

                                                      3. re: MeaganM

                                                        Since I avoid grains I've been using xanthan gum as a thickener for several years. It might seem like it's expensive up front, but since you're using such small amounts it's actually pretty cost-effective--I bought my last bag well over a year ago and I still have a lot left.

                                                        1. re: MandalayVA

                                                          I've had the same container of xanthan gum for years; mostly I just sprinkle a little on berry cobblers in season to help keep them lower carb, then top with a mostly nut based crunch topping.

                                                      4. funny timing here. i was down to my last can of trader joe's light coconut milk (a deal at 99 cents) and it's out of stock at my local tj's. so i pick up a can (don't read the label. i mean, it's light coconut milk, right? at whole foods, then use it (1 part to 3 parts water) to cook my steel cuts oats, which i notice look a lot creamier than with the tj's.

                                                        take a look at the labels: tj's coconut milk, water. whole foods: organic coconut, purified water, organic guar gum. whodda thunk it.

                                                        1. I have been making home-made gelato with guar, arrowroot and xanthan gum. It has been turning out quite well but I noticed most in the supermarket contain locust bean as well. So I purchased this product http://www.dixiediner.com/thick-carb-...
                                                          as it's a blend of guar, xanthan, locust bean and acacia gums. Any suggestions on how much to use per quart?

                                                          1. Actually bought it at stained glass supply place which was sort of weird. It called for it in an ice cream recipe that I was making. Didn't care for the ice cream and threw the rest of the gum out.
                                                            Not inexpensive either!

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Mother of four

                                                              How much did you put in? Why didn't you like the ice-cream?

                                                            2. I see that the original post is quite old, but this sort of question still comes up from time to time.
                                                              (I might add that I've found that I really dislike the taste of guar gum and prefer xanthan gum when I am considering one thickening agents that are less commonly used by home cooks.)

                                                              This post from bushwickgirl in a different thread links to a great resource for deciding which? and how much of? when it comes to a whole host of thickeners and stabilizers:


                                                              21 Replies
                                                              1. re: racer x

                                                                I just made some chocolate gelato with guar gum.

                                                                - Definitely thickens well; made some nice stretchy gelato just like the gelaterias have

                                                                - Very prone to lumps, even when whisking the guar gum into dry ingredients thoroughly before adding to milk. Had to press through a fine-mesh strainer to get it lump-free.
                                                                - Texture is kind of slimy! Thick and stretchy is good, but slimy is not. I used 2 tsp for 2 quarts of milk. Definitely has a weird sliminess to it, although this is diminished the more frozen it is.
                                                                - Has a bit of an odd flavor. I tasted this way more when the mixture was warm, before I chilled it overnight, but it definitely affects the flavor of the gelato more than I would like.

                                                                I've made a lot of Sicilian-style gelato (cornstarch, no eggs) and after trying guar gum I'm going back to cornstarch.

                                                                1. re: edaly

                                                                  Even when combined with the dry ingredients, it's still important to use agitation when adding guar to liquid. Sprinkle and whisk dry into wet. Time will remove lumps as well, so if you're chilling the mixture overnight, it doesn't need to be flawless.

                                                                  Certain brands of guar have a beanier taste than others. Xanthan has no flavor, and, when combined with guar, has a synergy, so you can use less of both.

                                                                  Gums are slimy, plain and simple. This is why you should never rely solely on gums for stabilization/thickening. As a component of the stabilizing cocktail, though, they work beautifully. Try cornstarch, xanthan and guar- together they will be superior to either cornstarch or guar alone.

                                                                  1. re: scott123

                                                                    Thanks.. I'll get some xanthan gum and try all three. Any recommendations on ratios?

                                                                    Interestingly the taste was more pronounced when the mixture was warm - once chilled and processed in the ice cream maker it was a lot less noticeable. I was using the Bob's Red Mill brand guar gum.

                                                                    1. re: edaly

                                                                      Coldness impairs your ability to taste- hence the typical recommendation to use enough flavoring that ice cream base is too flavorful at room temp.

                                                                      It's going to take some trial and error to dial it in, but I'd recommend starting with:

                                                                      1/3rd your normal quantity of cornstarch +
                                                                      1/4 the guar (1/2 t. for 2 quarts) +
                                                                      equal amount of xanthan gum (1/2 t.)

                                                                      This shouldn't be slimy, but you may have to adjust it a bit for proper consistency.

                                                                      One major advantage that gums have over starch is that they don't mask flavors.

                                                                      1. re: scott123

                                                                        scot123--I have appreciated your posts on this thread and was wondering what your thoughts were on the following. My issue was with the lumpiness of my result:

                                                                        I am new to the use of gums. I was interested in trying a very low calorie (9 cal/serving) low carb dairy-free chocolate pudding. The recipe called for 3 cups water, Sucralose liquid, 1-2 Tablespoons xanthen (or guar) gum sifted into the sweetened water while whisking vigorously (quantity titrated to achieve the desired thickness). Then, once thick enough, 2 Tablespoons pure cacao powder, 2 Tablespoons micronized cellulose, and a little salt.

                                                                        I was using xanthen gum. One T was too loose, tho there were way too many lumps. I was using cold water. Maybe warmer water would have helped the lumpiness. I didn't know that letting it rest would allow the lumps to hydrolyze over time, so I gradually added in more gum. The "proper" thickness resulted in sliminess. I'll try again, but was wondering if using an electric mixer with whisk attachment is recommended? Maybe a powered whisk plus warmer water? (A blender probably wouldn't mix well once it had thickened enough.) The function of the micronized cellulose was to eliminate the sliminess, so maybe I just should have added more cellulose, once I had added too much gum....

                                                                        Since I am not mixing the gum with other dry ingredients first, I am needing to understand the proper method or technique for incorporating the gum powder into the sweetened water in such a way as to not end up with a zillion tiny bubbles of gum. Please share your thoughts as to what I could try to improve this process. Thank you in advance for your expertise!

                                                                        1. re: YankeeLaker

                                                                          YankeeLaker, no offense, but what you're describing to me, even with the lumpy issue resolved, doesn't sound that palatable. As much as it's not something that I'd gravitate towards personally, I'll still try to work within your paradigm.

                                                                          I would normally say that time resolves all gum clumping issues, but your water activity in this case is so low that you might need more than just time. In my experience, if clumps do occur, additional whisking isn't much of a help, so the electric mixer isn't bringing anything else to the table. Xanthan has a special attribute that differentiates itself from other gums- it has excellent resistance to shear. When blended, the molecules elongate and the mixture thins, but when the blending stops, the molecules retangle and the mixture thickens again. I'm not necessarily saying that blending is the answer, but between a blender and a mixture, I'd go with the blender first.

                                                                          Before you blend, though, let's look at the dispersion. When you say 'sift' are you talking about an actually sifter? A typical sifter might let the xanthan pass through at a pretty fast rate. The best way I've found to disperse xanthan in liquids is to measure it with a spoon, and with one handle whisking like crazy, very very gently sprinkle it with the other hand. You're literally trying to sprinkle as little xanthan on top of the liquid as possible- almost like a hand tremor. It takes some coordination to get use to because you've got one hand going like crazy while the other hand is barely moving.

                                                                          Heat does play a role in clumping, although I'm not sure warm water is going to buy you that much better results than cold water. Gums in solution, when brought to a boil, don't gelatinize like starches do, but the additional heat increase water activity and the water activity helps dissolve the clumps.

                                                                          Are you certain that the cellulose isn't clumping? I'm never worked with micronized cellulose, but I did work with carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) once and while it didn't clump like gums do, it did clump (and it also seemed a bit slimy).

                                                                          Since I've never worked with micronized cellulose, I really can't say how much to use. I do know that I tried to prepare a very high ratio xanthan gum solution in advance for use in cooking, and the result, in it's pure form, was unedible slimy goop.

                                                                          Regarding assimilation using time- when I did the experiment above, within about 2 days I started seeing green growth. Xanthan solutions have pretty poor shelf lives. Overnight is fine, but I wouldn't go to far past that. Boiling might help, both from assimilation perspective and shelf life perspective.

                                                                          Out of all the assimilation options, I'd probably try bringing the pre-cocoa mixture to a boil, letting it cool, adding the cocoa and then refrigerating it overnight. If that doesn't work, then I'd give blending a shot- perhaps with a hand blender.

                                                                          One other thing to consider is that, being pure fiber, as you increase the intake of xanthan, digestive issues can occur. As you move into the quantities of xanthan per serving that you're talking about here, you could be seeing some GI effects.

                                                                          Lastly, one other thing that I noticed was your choice of sweeteners. Sucralose does strange things with cocoa/unsweetened chocolate. You basically add a little and it improves a tiny bit, but, as you continue adding sucralose, you hit a wall and the bitterness of the chocolate never really fades. When working with chocolate, combining sweeteners is critical. I'm a big fan of a four sweetener mix- sucralose, acesulfame potassium (ace K/Sweet one), erythritol and polydextrose.

                                                                          At a minimum, combine the sucralose with ace k (using mostly sucralose). Erythritol and polydextrose get into strange areas when it comes to counting calories because they only partially digest. Erythritol's caloric impact is close to zero while polydextrose is a little bit above that but still negligible. The best thing about polyd is that it brings sugary texture- and texturally, your pudding needs all the help it can get. Polyd has also, in the past, been marketed as a fat replacer. I don't completely subscribe to this concept, but, then I've never really put it to the test.

                                                                          Be aware, though, if you look at calorie tables, both erythritol and polyd will clock in with the same calories as sugar. This is because, if you take a bunsen burner and burn erythritol or polyd, you'll get out the same calories as sugar, but the calorie tables fail to incorporate the lack of digestibility of these items.

                                                                          1. re: scott123

                                                                            Scott123: Thank you for your detailed reply. A lot to "digest"! I am thinking that I should probably create a slurry with a small amount of oil and the xanthan, then whisk that into warm/hot sweetened water. That would increase the calories only a little, should help with the lumpiness issue, and probably help the texture, too. Thanks as well on your thoughts regarding combining sweetening agents. I have erythritol on hand, but not ace K or poly dextrose. Will have to see where I can buy those.

                                                                            WRT "sifting"--I was using a fine mesh cup-shaped strainer. I loaded it with the gum, and gently tapped as I whisked like mad. It took maybe 20-30 seconds to get a tablespoon sifted into the mixture.

                                                                            I can't say with certainty the micronized cellulose is not contributing to the clumping, but I don't think so. It seemed to be incorporated into the mixture as well as the cocoa.

                                                                            This may all turn out to not be worth the effort. But, I enjoy experimenting and I am learning things along the way. Thank you again for your detailed and thoughtful reply!

                                                                            1. re: YankeeLaker

                                                                              If you haven't already, you might want to take a look at that booklet linked to in the thread I linked to above. It contains a bunch of recipes incorporating the various gums. Might give you some more ideas.

                                                                            2. re: scott123

                                                                              Scott, seems like you know a lot about gums. I'm new to the world of cooking, but I was wondering if you can explain the difference/simiarities between guar, xanthan, and locust bean gums. Are they interchangeable? What are the benefits/cons of using each of them? I'm looking to replicate a frozen desert that is popular in Asia here in the US. Which gum would you suggest (or a combination of some)? Thanks!

                                                                              1. re: chiweichiu

                                                                                Chiweichiu, I've been studying and working with gums for a few years and feel like I understand them a bit, but when it comes to ice cream chemistry, I could probably spend the rest of my life studying it and only scratch the surface.

                                                                                The different insoluble fiber gums tend to thicken food in similar fashion, but there are differences. As discussed, xanthan has a much better resistance to shear than the other gums. All gums hydrate at different rates and have different assimilation strategies (some respond better to heat and/or time). Locust bean gum can get a bit beany in flavor. It can also form gels with xanthan.

                                                                                Here are some good articles on gums:


                                                                                Gums can occasionally have strange interactions, but, generally speaking, the greater the variety, the better. Xanthan + guar is better than either by themselves, and, conversely, xanthan + guar + locust bean is better than two. It really depends on the application, though.

                                                                                Can you be more specific about the frozen dessert you are attempt to replicate? Do you have an ingredient list?

                                                                          2. re: scott123

                                                                            scott123 wins again! I tried out your ratios of cornstarch + guar + xanthan and they worked great (For 2 quarts / 2L of milk, 1.5 tbl cornstarch, 1/2 tsp guar gum, 1/2 tsp xanthan gum) . I now have gelato with a perfect commercial-quality texture at home, and no slimyness!

                                                                            I posted a video showing the texture of a batch coming out of the ice cream maker here. It also includes the full recipe:


                                                                            1. re: edaly

                                                                              Edaly, that's some really nice looking gelato. I was expecting that you might need to tweak my suggested amounts, but it looks great the way it is. I was watching a food show where Ciao Bella gelato was featured and your gelato looks better than that.

                                                                              1. re: edaly

                                                                                I checked out your video - your Choc Gelato looks fantastic. I left a comment on youtube. How did it taste? As you might have seen way above in this "chat" I have been fiddling with guar as well. I discovered when I use Guar for Sorbet that I should mix it with very well with very hot water and blend vigorously with my stick blender - it soon mixes up a little like egg whites. Then I add the sugar and more hot water - age the mix over night in the fridge and use it with raw fruit the next day. I wonder if Scott123 has any comments on this method? PS - did you use cocoa powder or real choc for your Gelato - I would love the recipe,

                                                                                1. re: manningnz

                                                                                  Manningnz, xanthan is renowned for it's resistance to shear (blending), but not guar. Vigorous blending might very well be slicing up/damaging the guar molecules, and, if that happens, you're losing it's stabilizing benefits. Hot water helps guar dissolve, as does overnight aging. You should be able to nix the blending and still avoid clumping- assuming that you incorporate the guar carefully (sprinkle very gently while whisking).

                                                                                2. re: edaly

                                                                                  Wow, the texture and your recipe both look fantastic. Based on this thread, I went out and bought both xanthan and guar and am going to start using them in my Ice Creams and Gelati.

                                                                                  One thing to try, if you have a food processor: you can whip up all the dry ingredients together, which should evenly disperse the various thickeners and should avoid clumping. I do this with regular ice creams all the time. Then you can pour the simmering milk and/or cream through the feed tube while the machine is running. Never had a lump or a scrambled egg.

                                                                                  I'll admit it takes a bit of practice to not end up with boiling milk running down your legs.

                                                                                  1. re: acgold7

                                                                                    I made some grapefruit sorbet with the same cornstarch + xanthan + guar combination. I always find my fruit juice sorbets turn out very icy so I was interested so see if I could get that smooth, stretchy quality you get from sorbets bought at a gelato shop.

                                                                                    Overall I'd say it was a success, although I bumped up the thickener quantities a little bit too much, and I churned a bit too long (too much air) so the first batch was a little bit on the foamy side coming out of the machine.

                                                                                    Video showing the texture is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96rL_d...

                                                                                    Recipe listed has the same quantities as the chocolate gelato above (1.5 tbl cornstarch, 1/2 tsp xanthan, 1/2 tsp guar for 2 quarts juice).

                                                                                    1. re: edaly

                                                                                      Edaly, without the fat and milk protein and with the generally lower pH, sorbet has a very different chemistry to gelato. Without these extra components, there's a greater propensity for larger ice crystals and harder sorbets. You're also talking about a much more delicate flavor profile. Stronger flavored gelatos can generally handle the flavor masking qualities of a little starch, but I think you might want to scale back the starch even further for sorbet.

                                                                                      This particular commercial sorbet stabilizer


                                                                                      incorporates gelatin (and also a greater variety of gums).

                                                                                      "Ingredients: Gelatin, locust bean gum, cellulose gum, guar gum, whey protein concentrate & standardized with dextrose."

                                                                                      I think xanthan and guar are a good one two punch, so more gums probably aren't necessary, but the addition of gelatin might be worth a shot.

                                                                                      A big part of achieving a smoother sorbet/smaller ice crystals is freezing point depression. Your current stabilizer mix is giving you plenty of freezing point depression, but, should you decide to dial back the starch, you should be able to lower the freezing point by switching up your sweetener.

                                                                                      Monosaccharides such as glucose are superior freezing point depressors than sugar. Most Asian grocers carry packets of glucose (labeled dextrose). I wouldn't rely solely on glucose as your sweetener, but you might want to try swapping out some of the sugar with glucose. You can also use glucose to play with your sweetness profile, as most sorbets tend to be a bit overly sweet and glucose is only 60-75% as sweet as sugar by weight.

                                                                                      1. re: scott123

                                                                                        Thanks for the tip Scott.. I ordered that sorbet stabilizer (and their ice cream stabilizer). I'm really curious to see how it turns out compared to the cornstarch + xanthan + guar combo.

                                                                                        If all that works out, I'll start experimenting with the glucose.

                                                                                        1. re: edaly

                                                                                          Edaly, I posted that link, not as an endorsement, but as an example of how the commercial entities are approaching stabilization. I have no idea how well that product works or if that company is on the level. I do know, for certain, that none of the ingredients liste in the product are worth $30/lb.

                                                                                          Here's the background as to how I found the link- I thought I had read an article in Food Product Design that mentioned sorbet stabilizers, so I googled "Food Product Design" +sorbet +stabilizers, and, while the article didn't seem to show up, the link to that product did. I saw the gelatin in the ingredients and thought "hey, wouldn't it be nice to try gelatin?"

                                                                                          While I'm not that familiar with this particular stabilizer, stabilizers are pretty popular. I also looked through the different products they have on that site, and I have to admit, the technical baking/molecular gastronomy stuff looks tempting and seems to reveal a certain technical level of knowledge from the proprietors. In other words, I don't think you've spent 30 (60?) bucks on garbage, but at the same time, I think this is most likely at least triple the cost of the single ingredients so if you can cancel your order, I might suggest doing so.

                                                                                          Or not :) You seem really passionate about this. For something that you're really passionate about, $30 is not that much of an expenditure, and, who knows, it might bring your sorbet/gelato game to an even higher level.

                                                                                          1. re: scott123

                                                                                            No worries man, $30 seemed reasonable given that it doesn't take much to thicken a batch of gelato/sorbet, and if it all works out I can start experimenting with buying the raw ingredients and making my own version.

                                                                                            1. re: edaly

                                                                                              Ok, update on the sorbets using Cremodan 64 sorbet stabilizer:

                                                                                              Recap of ingredients: Gelatin, locust bean gum, cellulose gum, guar gum, whey protein concentrate & standardized with dextrose.

                                                                                              The Cremodan instructions recommend using 0.5 grams per 1000g of sorbet mixture. They recommend adding it to the simple syrup, heating it above 180F for safety, and then adding it to the sorbet mixture.

                                                                                              0.5g seemed really tiny so I made two batches of Lemon Sorbet testing different ratios of the Cremodan.

                                                                                              1st Batch: I kept adding Cremodan 1/2 tsp at a time to ~1 quart/1L of lemon sorbet mixture (lemon juice, simple syrup, water) over medium heat (steaming) until the mixture appeared to thicken. It took a LOT - I'd say about 1.5 tbl to give it a thicker / gelatinous texture.

                                                                                              Chilled overnight, processed in ice cream machine, etc.

                                                                                              The flavor was GREAT. It had an awesome creamyness to it which mixed really nicely with the tart lemon.

                                                                                              The texture however, was pretty poor. Gums seem to create a lot of air bubbles in sorbets (or maybe allow more air to be churned into the mixture?), so the overall texture was very foamy. It was very stretchy which was nice, but all the air bubbles made for a weird mouth feel. It also seemed to take up a lot more space in the stomach and kind of back up in the esophagus, kind of like when you drink a milkshake too quickly.

                                                                                              2nd Batch: I tried reducing the Cremodan to a much smaller amount and adding the 'ol standard of cornstarch as the main thickener. Quantities were 1.5tbl cornstarch + 1.5 tsp Cremodan for 1 quart / 1L of sorbet mixture.

                                                                                              This batch had neither great flavor nor great texture. The flavor was OK, nothing special - just tart, but without the creamyness of Batch #1. The texture was a bit icy.. not as bad as a totally virgin fruit juice sorbet without any thickener (which I find tend turn out very icy), but not stretchy and smooth.

                                                                                              At this point I'm not exactly sure where to go with my sorbet thickeners.

                                                                                              In moderate quantities, Cremodan it doesn't seem to be doing enough for the texture, but at higher quantities it kills the texture with way too much air. I should also note that I had the same problem (foamy texture) when I tried thickening some tangerine sorbet with a lot of guar gum.

                                                                                              I feel like I might try going even heavier on the cornstarch for these thin/watery sorbet mixtures like lemon, and keep the Cremodan low. Or maybe even buy some separate whey protein to get that awesome creamy/tart flavor going but without all the air bubbles.

                                                                                              Any advice appreciated!

                                                                      2. OMG it doesn't take much!!. I had a mouse get into a bag in my cabinet and after cleaning it up, washing hands and then repackaging the bag, I brushed what little had gotten on my hands into a pot of sausage gravy, and it was almost too much.

                                                                        Be careful of the amount.

                                                                        1. Really interesting thread. My daughter can't eat dairy so I have made ice cream and whipped cream out of canned coconut milk. However, to avoid BPA I have stopped using canned foods. I have been making ice cream in my Vitamix (with a stainless steel container.) I mix 3/4 cup water with 1/3 cup coconut butter and strain through a nut milk bag (this yields 1 cup thin coconut milk) then blend with frozen strawberries. I am about to experiment with making ice cubes out of the coconut milk I make to try other flavors of ice cream.

                                                                          So, we now have BPA free coconut ice cream. However, we don't have whipped cream. The coconut milk I make isn't whippable. I'm wondering about mixing gums with the homemade coconut milk to try and make ice cream. edaly's ratios for gelato seem like a good starting point. Before I do this, does anyone have experience with this?

                                                                          1. Wow, I know I'm late to the party, but I use guar in place of xantham gum for my GF baking (I have clients that are both celiac and allergic to corn) but I've also had luck mixing it into dry oats before microwaving them (I like them stovetop ideally but some mornings!). Only takes 1/4-1/2 tsp for a big bowl of thick, stick to your ribs porridge!

                                                                            1. I was having a problem with gg until I found a site that sells "Perfected Guar Gum". Now, no aftertaste. I've only used it to make ice cream and I use 1/4 tsp to my finished hot mixture, and let the "breeze" from the whisk on my KA mixture incorporate it. I add it very, very slowly. I would say (I have about 42 oz milk/cream amounts to 1/4 tsp gg..)

                                                                              For this recipe (I am constantly experimenting), I mix 2 T flour, 2 T dried egg yolk, I T GMS, and 1/2 CMC together well and add 1/4 cup water. To this mixture I add 1 1/2 cups of of evaporated milk (or cream) slowly and 1/3 cup of fructose and 1/3 cup pf Splenda; and cook on med heat, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture coats back of spoon, gently simmering for 5 min to cook the flour.
                                                                              Then strain mixture through a medium colander to remove any small lumps that may have formed.
                                                                              Then pour hot mixture in KA mixing bowl with the whisk and beat for about 2 min on 1 or "stir". Increase speed to 2 and very slowly and carefully add the Perfected Guar Gum into the breeze of the whisk. Beat for a couple min on 2, then strain again. There may be tiny lumps on the whisk. Remove them with brush and running water.
                                                                              Pour mixture into the mixing bowl again and add another can of evaporated milk and 1/2 cup of water. (You can use cream and water). I just happen to love the taste of evap milk. It's a childhood thing. This is where I add 15 drops vanilla concentrate and 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/8 tsp salt.
                                                                              I chill this mixture a couple of days, but 24 hrs would probably be sufficent.
                                                                              I have a KA freezer attachment and it freezes in about 20 mins. The end result is excellent. When it had frozen 24 hours, it was a little hard to scoop out, but it wasn't full of crystals--it was creamy. I think next time I will add 3-4 tsp of vanilla extract, as the alcohol will keep the ice cream from freezing rock hard.
                                                                              Note: I tried using Zylitol and had major tummy upsets. I want to try Erythritol next, but I'm not sure how to prepare it. I wonder if I could melt it as I did the Zylitol? Do I have to use Stevia with the Eryth????
                                                                              Thanks, guys.

                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                              1. re: cimraLT

                                                                                CimraLT, first of all, I would steer clear of fructose. It's insignificant blood sugar impact makes it appealing for low carbers, but it's connected to a host of other health issues (such as diabetes),


                                                                                health issues that far outweigh it's low glycemic impact, so it's best to avoid at all costs.

                                                                                Fructose does provide a considerable amount of freezing point depression and sugary mouthfeel, though, which is going to be hard to compensate for in a sugar free formula.

                                                                                Just about anything that adds sugary mouthfeel/bulk is going to potential mess with your tummy (aka gastrointestinal distress). Erythritol is generally far better tolerated than other sugar alcohols, but, in order to prevent it from re-crystallizing in desserts (and tasting odd because of it's cooling effect in it's crystallized state), you can't use much of it, and, in small amounts, you don't get much textural benefits, if any. From a quality of taste perspective, though, erythritol has a beautiful synergy with splenda, so, no matter what sweeteners you end up going with, I highly recommend always adding some erythritol (maybe 1 T. in this recipe).

                                                                                Beyond erythritol, all the other sugary bulking agents are potential tummy troublers. I have found that a tolerance to these types of ingredients can be developed if you consume a little each day and work your way up. This kind of acclimation works well if it's just you consuming the ice cream, but acclimating a family gets a lot harder and acclimating party guests is out of the question. If it's just you, I would try consuming a little xylitol each day and see if you run into any issues. Like erythritol, xylitol can have crystallization issues as well, but you should be able to use a bit more before you run into them.

                                                                                While you're acclimating yourself to xylitol, I highly recommend acclimating yourself to one of the polysaccharides as well. Polysaccharides kick major butt in sugar free ice cream. Polydextrose is the key ingredient in carb smart, but inulin (far more expensive, but a bit easier to track down) will work just as well. Polydextrose and inulin provide all the textural benefits of sugar, without the carbs/glycemic impact, along with the probiotic health benefits of fiber. Like xylitol, though, they can be laxating, so a tolerance has to be built up over time. Polysaccharides can be a bit tricky to work with, because they tend to be sticky/hygroscopic and don't dissolve well, but if you can master guar, you can master polysaccharides. It's been a few years since I've checked, but I believe Trader Joe's has inulin. If you find that you like the inulin, polydextrose, in bulk, is probably 1/20 the price.

                                                                                While there are some pretty good tasting stevias on the market, I'd avoid stevia, as splenda + erythritol + a tiny bit of a third sweetener (such as ace K) will give you a quality of sweetness that will put stevia to shame.

                                                                                1. re: scott123

                                                                                  Thanks, Scott123. Very interesting and helpful info. I will certainly check out Inulin and polyd.
                                                                                  I read the info about Fructose and the studies were conducted with and for men. lol. I've been using Fruct. for about 20 years with no ill affects. I'm borderline hypogycemic and it work so well for me in that respect. Splenda by itself sets me up for a crash. I only know how my body responds to different sweetners. I do like your idea about using small amounts of the Xylitol, etc to get my blood chemistry to accept them. I don't have good results with stevia--it makes me feel "strange" mentally.
                                                                                  I'm fairly new to this site and thoroughly enjoy all the helpful info that you and the others have posted! Perfect ice cream is what I'm after and I keep a journal of all my "experiments--" both successes and flops!

                                                                                  Thank you thank you thank you!!! CLT

                                                                                  1. re: scott123

                                                                                    I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned carrageenan with all this talk about thickeners. It's another one with an odd sounding name but it's natural; it's made from a seaweed called Irish moss. Many or all of these thickeners can be had from Amazon these days.

                                                                                    The following is a link to a pdf book that is a wonderful collection of recipes using almost every natural thickener known.


                                                                                    1. re: lumpynose

                                                                                      I avoid carrageenan. It's an intestinal irritant and possible carcinogen.

                                                                                      1. re: SundayCrepes

                                                                                        Please provide some links to substantiate those claims.

                                                                                        1. re: lumpynose

                                                                                          Ya, I was curious about his post too. Did a quick search, and I'm not convinced it's a problem. I'm going to continue using mine, as well as all my other additives.

                                                                                            1. re: SundayCrepes

                                                                                              Thanks for the links. My takeaway is that, not surprisingly, none of the gums and emulsifying agents--carrageenan, guar, locust, etc.--are particularly easy on the bowel. I would use these substances in moderation, in food preparations that really require their special properties. Though I wouldn't go so far as to demonize them or avoid them entirely, these are not substances I want in my everyday diet.

                                                                                              1. re: LorenzoGA

                                                                                                True, they are all used in small quantities, and not everyday. I use a scale that goes to .01 grams to measure them correctly.

                                                                                    2. re: cimraLT

                                                                                      Hi Cimra,

                                                                                      Thanks for the Guar Gum tip...
                                                                                      I am a novice here so bare with me when I ask what GMS and CMC stands for.

                                                                                      Also, I am very interested in the results you can share on your experiments with sugar free ice cream.


                                                                                      1. re: AusTxGal

                                                                                        Might be glycerol monostearate and carboxymethylcellulose, but who knows?

                                                                                    3. Whats the best "blending" agent to make my smoothie ingredients hold together? guar gum? carrageenan? xanthum gum? eggs? my clients basically don't like odd ingredients...so i can add 1 gum, but probably not 2. just bought some guar, but based on what i'm seeing here, it may not blend well or it will taste "beany"

                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: halleyscomet

                                                                                        Some brands of guar taste beanier than others. Smell the jar, if it smells beany, it'll taste beany.

                                                                                        How are your smoothies not holding together? What's in them?

                                                                                        If your clients have issues with more than 1 odd ingredient, you can tell them you're adding 'vegetable gum' and add both guar and xanthan.

                                                                                        1. re: scott123

                                                                                          "Smell the jar"

                                                                                          And having opened and smelled and noticed 'beans,' put it back on the store shelf. ;-)

                                                                                          1. re: scott123

                                                                                            Scott, believe it or not, it's the cocoa that's not blending. I tried tempering it with hot water first before blending it. Now I'm going to try french pressing it. Any thoughts?

                                                                                            I keep the ingredient line exactly the way the govt requires it (as best as I can) Ideally, I'd like to avoid gums altogether, unless I can use just one safe one and it's really worth using -- the difference in blending is really significant. I bought guar gum from Bob's Red Mill, but now I'm looking at Perfected Guar Gum...probably should have bought that instead, but I don't know what's in it besides the guar gum or what kind of chemical processing took place that makes it "perfected"

                                                                                            1. re: halleyscomet

                                                                                              Halleyscomet, I'm still not getting a clear idea of what you're trying to do.

                                                                                              Over the years, it seems like chocolate ice cream has lost a lot of it's chocolateyness, so I've been adding cocoa to shakes. I don't even use a blender- I add it just with a spoon.

                                                                                              I also make a homemade hot chocolate where the cocoa will have a tendency to sit on the top of hot milk, but some quick whisking tends to resolve that. If I let it sit for a while, the cocoa butter will have a tendency to rise to the top, but I've never seen this happen in cold settings.

                                                                                              As far as blending goes, as long as you're blending the right quantity of liquid for your blender and maintaining a good vortex, I see no reason why cocoa shouldn't incorporate just fine.

                                                                                              Could you describe the problem in further detail?

                                                                                              1. re: scott123

                                                                                                Scott - my smoothies are pretty basic: protein powder, fruit, some base liquid, fruit, flavor, ice. I'm not reinventing the wheel. The only ones I make that don't really blend together are the ones with cocoa. All the others do. Even when I temper the cocoa I still see cocoa particles and the mouthfeel is not one of a blended drink. If you regularly add cocoa to cold milk shakes, then it probably just doesn't bother you. It does me, though.

                                                                                                  1. re: halleyscomet

                                                                                                    What about reformulating your recipe to use baker's chocolate (e.g., semisweet) instead of cocoa? You'd need to make a chocolate syrup I'm guessing, and then use that in your smoothies.

                                                                                                    1. re: lumpynose

                                                                                                      Hmmm..that's a good idea, maybe I'll try baker's chocolate. Callebaut as a cocoa is better, but just for texture, let me play with Baker's. Thanks!

                                                                                                      1. re: halleyscomet

                                                                                                        Baker's chocolate contains more fat than cocoa. When you pour melted chocolate into a cold smoothie, it will immediately set up, and you'll have little hard chips.

                                                                                                    2. re: halleyscomet

                                                                                                      Ah, okay, I think we're getting somewhere. It sounds like your cocoa isn't hydrating properly. It could be that there isn't enough available water in your smoothie to hydrate it or that it hasn't seen enough heat.

                                                                                                      One piece of good news :) As long as these undissolved cocoa particles are relatively evenly distributed throughout the smoothie, I can pretty much guarantee you that a gum will do nothing to solve the problem.

                                                                                                      How are you tempering the cocoa with water? I looked at DIY Hershey's syrup recipes and they all involve bringing cocoa and water to a boil. This leads me to believe, much like dissolving peanut butter in water, cocoa, a fatty dry particulate, requires heat. You want to be really careful when bringing cocoa/water mixtures to a boil, as cocoa is really easy to scorch, not to mention, high heat will most likely drive away some desired volatile flavor compounds. You could probably avoid boiling altogether by exposing the water/cocoa mixture to some heat, but letting time do the work- maybe leaving it at 150 for a couple hours.

                                                                                                      I would also, just as a test, give Hershey's syrup a try. the sugar most likely won't work for your formula, so you most likely won't be able to use it in production, but, for testing, it should show you that cocoa + water is feasible.

                                                                                                      Btw, there's no chance that your cocoa is gritty, right?

                                                                                                      1. re: scott123

                                                                                                        Thanks, this is very helpful!! I'm using a fine grain powdered cocoa -- callebaut -- but I think you're right, it's the size of the fat molecules...and what I'm mixing it with...kind of like oil and water, oil and vinegar. Hersheys syrup is mostly corn syrup and gums, so I can't use that. But I will try tempering it again. Online it says to use cocoa butter, but not water. Yikes. Sounds very complicated. I've attached a picture of my shake so you can see the lack of blending.

                                                                                                        1. re: halleyscomet

                                                                                                          I think I found the problem. Callebaut is around 20% fat. That's double the fat of Hershey's cocoa. The fat is clumping and giving you textural issues.

                                                                                                          Work with a fat free cocoa- you should be fine.

                                                                                                          1. re: scott123

                                                                                                            Callebaut's fat content is in line with other good, dutch process cocoas. I prefer Droste or Callebaut...not Hershey's. So I'm not going to give up on my favorite cocoa! I'm going to call callebaut tomorrow and see what they tell me. I can't believe I"m the first person to have this problem and that the only solution is switching to fat free cocoa...otherwise a lot more people would be using ff cocoa. But I think you identified the issue, Scott -- the fat molecules -- mixing "oil" and "water". Also, lumpynose, I tried the ghiradelli baker's chocolate and it didn't work at all. More solids in the drink than with cocoa. Thanks, all will let you know what I find from callebaut.

                                                                                            2. I use Red Mill Gar Gum offten in my deserts, sauces, and dressings. Make it ahead, cold or hot h20 doesnt matter. Then strain it. I keep a jar in my fridge always..

                                                                                              1. Scot, for ice cream, and indeed hot chocolate, you don't need to add guar gum to act as a thickening agent. You can get the exact same result by reducing the mix through heating. This reduces the water content and increases the total solids content. It does take a bit of work but I think keeping to only natural ingredients is never a bad thing.


                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: jounipesonen

                                                                                                    Guar Gum is derived from a natural product but the processing involved in making it means that it is not a natural ingredient.

                                                                                                    1. re: RubenPorto

                                                                                                      These days that's probably true for almost everything we eat.

                                                                                                      1. re: lumpynose

                                                                                                        Very true, sadly in most occasions.

                                                                                                        1. re: RubenPorto

                                                                                                          No doubt that's the reason I sprouted this 3rd eye in the middle of my forehead.

                                                                                                      2. re: RubenPorto

                                                                                                        Processing and processing - shouldn't we restrict our concerns where the 'processing' involves toxic chemicals, etc.?

                                                                                                        Tomato juice is made by 'processing' tomatoes - coffee beans are 'processed' (roasted) - milk is pasteurized - cheese is a 'processed' food - incl. the finest roquefort.

                                                                                                        Getting the coagulant out of a bean surely can't be any kind of problematic 'process.'

                                                                                                        There are obsessions and there are obsessions.