Xanthan Gum

It’s hard to know where to start with an ingredient as incredibly versatile as xanthan gum. Yes, it’s a thickener, but really it’s much, much more than that. Add water and it becomes an elastic goo that works as a thickener, an emulsifier, a gluten replacer for gluten-free breads, a foaming agent, a fat replacer, a moisture enhancer, the list goes on. Notice I said “add water” and not “heat” for xanthan gum will thicken a liquid of any temperature, hot or cold. It doesn’t clump, so it can simply be whisked into a cold salad dressing or a hot sauce. A few seconds later — presto chango — you have an increase in viscosity.