Xanthan Gum vs. Guar Gum

April 27, 2009 at 5:26 pm 38 comments

Updates 2012:

Here are some knowledgeable women on this same topic whose advice I respect and trust. I hope you find these sources helpful in this ongoing debate.

Gluten Free Girl said in this great and informative post: Read the whole thing, it’s great! Thanks for alerting me to this post, Stephanie

So far, Danny and I have found that most recipes don’t need any replacements or gums or additives. Cookies, muffins, quick breads, cakes, biscuits, flour for dredging fish or batter for fried chicken? Don’t worry about the gums. Just make sure you are working with the right ratio of flours to fats to eggs to liquid in your batter or dough. So far, everything gluten-free that I have baked uses the same ratio as the gluten recipes.

Karen from Only Sometimes Clever said in the comments below:

Just thought I’d update a little: I’m trying to get away from all xanthan gum. I’m just increasingly uncomfortable with it not being a real, whole food. Guar gum is a ground up seed, and is totally natural.

It is a lot more difficult to work with — it can clump in wet goods, and it doesn’t “glue” things together as well as xanthan. But, when well-combined with dry goods first, there’s no problem. I have also found that guar gum gives better “loft” to the batter, before it is even baked. I haven’t re-tried it in yeast bread yet, but I’ve had good success with using guar in muffins, cupcakes, pancakes, and cookies. :)

There were many other thoughts and experiences expressed in the comments below. Feel free to read through and happy gluten free baking!

**** My original experience below. Was it the weather? You decide.****

I’ve been told that xanthan gum and guar gum are interchangeable in gluten free baking so I bought guar gum last time because the store was out of xanthan gum.  Below are the results…

Guar Gum Loaf

Guar Gum Loaf

I couldn’t even get the bread out of the pan without it falling apart, we made this loaf into french toasts since the egg helped keep it together.  I couldn’t bear to give it to the chickens.
Below is the exact same recipe a week later using xanthan gum…
best-bread
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Entry filed under: Hey What's Goin on Here?, How to become a gluten-free goof!. Tags: , .

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38 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kathryn  |  April 27, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Wow! What a difference. I haven’t used either very much.

    Obviously you do, so it sounds kind of stupid to ask what you think of it. The xanthan gum i have is so coarse (like coarse ground cornmeal) that i’ve not used it much. I have guar gum as well, but can’t think of any time i’ve used it.

    I’ve not followed you all that long, have you written on this before & i missed it? Thanks for letting me ask . . . :)

    Reply
    • 2. glutenfree4goofs  |  April 27, 2009 at 5:41 pm

      I’m new to blogging so no, old posts :) anyways I’m always happy to answer. My xanthan gum is very fine and dusty-like. Does that make sense? I think I’d try getting some new. I know it’s really expensive but you only use approx. 1T at a time. It doesn’t taste good if you over-do it but it sure helps to improve the texture of gf-baked goods. I wish it wasn’t so! :) Lol

      Reply
  • 3. Kathryn  |  April 27, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    I appreciate you so much, & have enjoyed following your blog. I’ve just tagged you at my blog for the “Attitude of Gratitude” award. http://kateekat.blogspot.com/

    Thanks for the info on xanthan gum. Maybe i’ll have to try some others. I think my is too coarse.

    Reply
  • 4. purplemoose  |  April 28, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Wow, that;’s a huge difference!

    Reply
  • 5. Linda  |  April 28, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Wow, that’s interesting. Guar would probably work okay in cookies or muffins. Carol Fenster uses both xanthan and guar together. Thanks for sharing. Now I’ll know not to try guar in a loaf of bread.

    Reply
  • 6. Kathryn  |  April 28, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I thought i tagged you? Did you not want to do it?

    Reply
    • 7. glutenfree4goofs  |  April 28, 2009 at 5:55 pm

      Sorry! Oh yes, yes thank you! Somehow wordpress sent your tag to spam but it approved your comments automatically. It took me a while to find it but I’m good now. :) Thanks and I’m Jessie

      Reply
  • 8. donna  |  April 29, 2009 at 6:21 am

    I have only ever used xanthan gum in my recipes…and will heed your wisdom to the other…I love discovering ladies willing to share their gluten free recipes and experiences through blogging…

    thanks for the visit to my blog….

    blessings
    donna

    Reply
  • 9. Brian  |  April 30, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I’ve always thought Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum were interchangeable as well. Now, I know better. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
  • 10. MARIE FECHTER  |  May 1, 2009 at 10:07 am

    not sure who you are “me at a glance” but your ideas are very simillar to mine – gluten free mamma, a dream of a farm and thankful to our Magnificent Maker for his glorious Creation and his wonderful book of instruction and direction.

    I have a g/f sourdough starter that I’m wondering if it has gone off – do you know how to tell? Any help would be great cause I just received some fresh ground brown rice to bake with.

    Reply
  • 11. Gina  |  May 1, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    I’ve never used guar gum. I have what seems to be a lifetime supply of xanthan gum, I use so little in recipes. I’ve always wondered if I should check out guar gum – now I’ll hold off unless I get a clear indication that it’s worthwhile!

    Reply
  • 12. glutenfree4goofs  |  May 4, 2009 at 10:19 am

    I used to be really bothered that xanthan gum is really a non-food and some cannot have it due to it’s often containing corn but I’ve tried and tried to find an alternative to no avail. I guess I should just give in and use it sparingly! :)
    Kathryn- I’m still planning to participate!
    Brian- I wanted to use Guar because it’s cheaper, oh well
    Marie- try my “sourdough starter” posts also I will email you
    Gina- all you need is a little, too much and it tastes bad in my opinion
    Thanks again all for visiting!
    Jess

    Reply
  • 13. Jeanine  |  May 4, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Wow, am I glad that I found this post! I just bought some guar gum because of the price difference, and reading everywhere that it could be interchanged with xanthan gum. Now I know, I’ll save it for things like cookies & pancakes. Thanks for sharing what you learned. :)

    Reply
  • 14. Karen Joy  |  May 5, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Just checking in, Jess… You haven’t posted for a week or so, and I’m wondering if all is OK w/ you. :)

    Reply
  • 15. gfe-gluten free easily  |  May 6, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I’ve steered clear of the guar gum because it can have a laxative effect. I’ve actually experienced that issue with some processed gf treats that contained it. Sorry to bring it up, but you should know. There are a lof of recipes that don’t even need either.

    I just read this elsewhere: “Carol Fenster’s Gluten Free 101 books says that to substitute for Xantham Gum you can use 50% more of Guar Gum.” So there is a difference in amounts. I also read you can substitute buckwheat for the xanthan gum sometimes. I’ve read other substitutions, but can’t remember them right now.

    Thanks for the heads up, Jessie!
    Shirley

    Reply
  • 16. Happi Heart  |  July 24, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Hi I am new to this and went out and bought all the stuff the healthfood store person said I needed to live gluten free. So I have a bag of Guar gum. From what I have read ???? Is there any good use for it?
    Happi

    Reply
    • 17. glutenfree4goofs  |  July 24, 2009 at 4:31 pm

      Yes you can certainly use it, I just wouldn’t try making bread with it right yet!? I’ve heard it works better than what I’ve experienced if you use quite a bit MORE. That would be why it is less expensive. I would use it for things like pancakes, crepes, soup thickener, possibly half and half with xanthan gum in baked goods. Experiment, but just know that if you are converting something that calls for xanthan you will need more guar. Also if you are converting a wheat recipe you could use some of each. I think there are many recipes that call for guar :) I hope I haven’t sent you in a panic!

      Reply
  • 18. Shannon  |  January 5, 2010 at 7:32 am

    I am new to GF baking and keep seeing Xanthan Gum on my recipes but cannot find it anywhere… so I bought Guar Gum and my bread is just plain “squat”. I will go out today and search for the Xanthan Gum. I thought because I didn’t get a good rise, that it meant I needed more yeast (this was a very wrong wrong wrong assumption, as all I accomplished was making a very large mess inside my bread machine)… I will hold off on another loaf until I find the precious Xanthan Gum…. Thanks so much for the info!

    Reply
    • 19. Jess @ Blog Schmog  |  January 7, 2010 at 5:07 pm

      Shannon, you may want to try doubling the Guar Gum. I have not tried this myself but have read, since this post, (and I belive other commenters have pointed out) that when using Guar, you need to use MORE than with Xanthan. Although, you can purchase Xanthan Gum through Bob’s RedMill (my local Super 1 carries it) or you can google it online. I believe even Amazon.com carries it! Hope this helps.

      Reply
  • 20. Karen Robertson  |  February 4, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    It would be interesting to know why that happened. I use guar gum exclusively now after years of using xanthan gum (and spending three times the money on it). I buy guar gum in large quantity from Ener G foods and it works beautifully for me. it provides for better baked goods since it is less gummy. I use it for everything…bread, cakes cookies etc.

    Your experience is quite unique.

    Reply
  • 21. Karen Robertson  |  February 4, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    I just read a few more comments and I use exactly the same amount of guar gum as I would xanthan gum. this is a mystery.

    Reply
    • 22. Jess @ Blog Schmog  |  February 4, 2010 at 5:01 pm

      Strange Karen. I bake a lot and I’ve tried on more than one occasion in more than one location. :) LOL and it always falls flat for me. Maybe it has to do with elevation. I’ve often wondered if guar is not a good combo with mountain elevations.

      I’ve also read that even within each company the “quality” of the product varies. So maybe I just got a bad batch. The only weird thing is this happened at least three times with two different companies.

      I’ll give er’ another go :) Thanks for your comments.

      Reply
  • 23. chemtotal  |  June 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Guar gum is E412 food additive.

    Reply
  • 24. brook  |  October 23, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Can you send me the info on sourdough bread/starter? Whatever you have asap! I stared a starer and I need to know if its right and recipes to use it

    Reply
  • 25. 2010 in review « Gluten Free 4 Goofs  |  January 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    [...] Xanthan Gum vs. Guar Gum April 2009 24 comments 3 [...]

    Reply
  • 26. Beth  |  February 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Bob’s Red Mill has a great comparison chart for when to use guar gum vs xanthan gum. You got better results with the xanthan because it works better for baked goods.

    http://www.bobsredmill.com/blog/2010/05/14/guar-gum-vs-xanthan-gum/

    Reply
  • 28. Beth  |  February 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Here’s another link from Bob’s that lists some equivalents.
    I hope it helps you to have future success with these food thickeners.

    http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes_detail.php?rid=888

    Reply
  • 29. Susannah  |  March 2, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Interesting! I use both, one for the other or whatever I feel like using that day and they turn out fine. I used guar gum in a loaf of bread today and it was fine. Maybe I should us xanthan in it next time and see what happens :)

    Reply
    • 30. Jess @ Blog Schmog  |  March 3, 2011 at 9:00 am

      Yes, you might try. Beth says xanthan works better in baked goods. Maybe that’s the trick. I also have learned that some baked goods can be made without anything but they need one or the other if you plan to freeze. Hmmm? Hope this all helps. :) I did do a bananna bread the other day with nothing but the banannas help with the texture. We ate the whole thing that day. It was quite crumbly though.

      Reply
  • 31. jules  |  May 8, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I’m a baker – and my goal for every single recipe is to be free of everything . . . so with that said, there are numerous factors in why a recipe doesn’t work – yes, elevation is huge; the ‘type’ of GF flours make a HUGE difference; the type of ‘oil – non-dairy butter – shortening'; then it depends on all the different ‘healthy’ sweeteners and then you still need baking powders and baking sodas and then to just say that ‘all’ breads are better with guar gum – is just not so. And . . . to make it all more crazy – one could use one flour with one oil and it does great but use a different oil and it is a flop. SUCH IS THE CASE WITH COOKING THIS WAY. But I love what I do and it is worth knowing my family is benefiting. I do live in high altitude and when I first started guar gum was not working well in much, but now that I know so much more after 5 years – I am getting ready to experiment with guar gum in cakes – lighter textured items. I know how to use xanthan with everything and also using enough moisture, eggs, egg whites – all critical in binding quality. I realize that back then it was my ‘inexperience’ with all the variables you have to know – not just one ingredient. I hope this helps all in their learning trials.

    Reply
    • 32. Jess @ Blog Schmog  |  May 9, 2011 at 9:26 am

      Thanks for your tips and sharing what you’ve learned.

      Reply
  • 33. Stephanie  |  January 1, 2012 at 9:00 am

    thanks for directing me here Jess. hopefully this will be helpful in the great debate. i claim to know nothing regarding GF. i’m just beginning my journey and was directed to this article.
    http://glutenfreegirl.com/chia-seeds-and-flaxseeds/

    Reply
    • 34. Jess @ Blog Schmog  |  February 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks Stephanie. Yes Gluten Free Girl is an excellent and much more accurate source than I am for sure! This posts was written within the first two years of my going gluten free so take that into consideration. :) I still prefer the outcome of xanthan gum but have learned a lot in the last 5+ years.

      Reply
  • 35. Rit  |  January 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Read your story before I switched from xanthum to guar… gotta say there was a slight difference in texture but not the catastrophe you experienced. The jury is still out on the ‘gas’ issue but no rumblings yet. I made the same Sorghum bread recipe I’ve used many times and would use guar gum again, no problem.

    Reply
    • 36. Jess @ Blog Schmog  |  February 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Great! Thanks for commenting. I may just have to try this again. I’ve heard again and again that each batch of guar and/or xanthan is different so I might have gotten a bad (or less potent) batch of guar.

      Reply
  • 37. Karen Joy  |  February 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Just thought I’d update a little: I’m trying to get away from all xanthan gum. I’m just increasingly uncomfortable with it not being a real, whole food. Guar gum is a ground up seed, and is totally natural.

    It is a lot more difficult to work with — it can clump in wet goods, and it doesn’t “glue” things together as well as xanthan. But, when well-combined with dry goods first, there’s no problem. I have also found that guar gum gives better “loft” to the batter, before it is even baked. I haven’t re-tried it in yeast bread yet, but I’ve had good success with using guar in muffins, cupcakes, pancakes, and cookies. :)

    Reply
    • 38. Jess @ Blog Schmog  |  February 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      Wow! Thanks Karen, you are always full of great health conscious advice. Anyone who would like more from Karen go to http://www.onlysometimesclever.com!

      Thanks! I truly appreciate the advice. Now I really might have to go back and edit this very old post as it keeps getting much traffic. :)

      Reply

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MATT - Food Creativity Consultant, Joyful Partner in Crime JESSIE - Photographer, Amateur Food Critic, Blog Author CAPTAIN OBVIOUS - formerly Thing 1 Thing 1 SCARFUNKLE - formerly Thing 2 IMG_3466 LOUD KIDDINGTON - formerly THE BUBBA 3 PEE WEE MINI ME BORN March 8, 2011

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Sourdough Update

Many of you have been checking back for results on my sourdough creation. At the moment it is still a science experiment, but a happy, bubbly experiment. Never fear, recipes will be here! I did make a beautiful, moist and delicious loaf of sourdough using yeast and a myriad of other ingredients but I'm still trying to create something more user friendly. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a starter on the counter that you could add 4 things to and have a loaf of bread by dinner? Mmmm! Attempt #1 - rose well but resulted in a dense chewy blob Attempt #2 - rose ok but was thin and lifeless then fell and another dense (not so chewy) blob Attempt #3 - to the dogs! Attempt #4 - A sourdough pancake success see post under what's for breakfast gluten-free goof? Ongoing - I've tried several more times and am going to try a completely different approach on the bread starting this week. (Mar 18). My sourdough is still happy on my counter and it makes great pancakes but it's a lot of work just for pancakes. Keep checking! April Update: She is still kickin and I'm still workin on a yeast free, gluten free sourdough loaf! May Update: My sourdough "pet" has been dried and retired until next baking season. I've traded her in for a hotter model, the BBQ! :)
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