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Old 06-21-2010, 05:51 PM   #1
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As God is my witness, my guar gum will never lump again!

Thanks to Madam De Leon again for suggesting this. I want to make sure you all see it. It's brilliant.

You know how you have different techniques for thickening with flour or cornstarch? Well guar or xanthan gum have their own technique. You can do the "shake it in slowly with a saltshaker" or something like that, but you always risk lumps. This WORKS.

Mix the guar or xanthan with OIL and then stir it into the hot mixture that needs thickening. It doesn't need to be very much oil, probably about 50/50. Just make sure it's all "dissolved" in the oil. (I put that in quotes, because it doesn't really dissolve, it's held in suspension. But you shouldn't see lumps of gum in the oil.)

If the mixture is hot and I stir it right in, I've never had a whisper of a lump.

This is so liberating. Compare the price of Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum to the proprietary thickening products. Xanthan is more expensive, but it only takes about 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan to thicken as much as maybe a half tablespoon of guar. Xanthan is also better in cold applications, in my experience. Guar needs to be heated to release its full thickening potential.

I also suggest that these gums, though a miracle of low carb thickening, somehow leave things tasting a bit flat. I usually add an extra shake or two of salt and a TINY bit of vinegar to things thickened with guar or xanthan to counteract that flatness.

I haven't tried the oil technique with my glucomannan powder, but I see no reason to think it would behave differently. Of course the main advantage of glucomannan is that it doesn't lump so much, so I think I will go with guar and xanthan in the future.

Last edited by ravenrose; 06-21-2010 at 05:53 PM..
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:01 PM   #2
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Wow! Thank you, I wish I would have read this before I made dinner, I needed to thicken a white sauce for a pot pie and had a terrible time with the guar gum! You say Xanthan is better?
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:28 AM   #3
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wow! Awesome idea! I haven't used my guar gum in forever because of the lumps and, like you said, the odd flavor when you have to use too much. I think I'm going to make some sausage gravy for eggs soon. I miss that stuff...
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:41 AM   #4
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That's a great idea; maybe we could just keep a suspended mixture by the stove to use at any time.

With regard to the "flat" taste that gums can give to food, my theory is that while the smoothness that their use can give is desirable in a lot of foods up to a point--if your stuff becomes too smooth (even short of becoming gloppy), the food will start to slip over your taste buds, instead of "locking in" with them. How's that for half baked?

Last edited by CreekWatcher; 06-22-2010 at 08:42 AM..
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:41 PM   #5
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That's a great idea; maybe we could just keep a suspended mixture by the stove to use at any time.

With regard to the "flat" taste that gums can give to food, my theory is that while the smoothness that their use can give is desirable in a lot of foods up to a point--if your stuff becomes too smooth (even short of becoming gloppy), the food will start to slip over your taste buds, instead of "locking in" with them. How's that for half baked?
interesting
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:46 PM   #6
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interesting
very
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:24 AM   #7
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Wow- thanks ravenrose.........I'm copy/pasting your entire post and putting it in my recipe file.

I have all of the gums and powders you've mentioned, but have been fearful until now.
B
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:30 AM   #8
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Ravenrose, that is a breakthrough method. Thanks! Lately, I've been taking to putting some of the liquid and my Thickening Agent in the blender, blending - then add to the sauce, soup or stew; no lumps either!

Your method doesn't dirty the blender, so that's a big plus.
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:55 AM   #9
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I haven't had a chance yet to try cooking with xanthan gum using your method, ravenrose. However, I just took about a 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum and mixed in 1/4 teaspoon of oil and it was amazing how it just sort of melted into the oil. I think you're a genius to come up with this, ravenrose. I wonder why no one else has ever come up with this idea in all these years??? I'm thinking that this method will be great for making gravy if you just blend the xanthan gum with the meat drippings and then add liquid instead of trying to whisk in the xanthan gum later.
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:02 AM   #10
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Linda, I actually noticed that when the liquid I was adding my Thickening Agent (basically a mixture of guar gum, xanthan gum and a tiny amount of cornstarch) to had significant fat in it - no lumps formed even if I sprinkled it on and didn't blend it first. I didn't put two and two together though. I'll try this new method of Ravenrose's one of these days soon. Brilliant!
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:05 AM   #11
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Oops, I posted something here that was meant to go elsewhere.
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:26 PM   #12
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I'm thinking that this method will be great for making gravy if you just blend the xanthan gum with the meat drippings and then add liquid instead of trying to whisk in the xanthan gum later.
Possibly, but I'm not sure why you would want to. The mixture of oil and gum doesn't need to be cooked to remove the raw taste like flour does with this technique. Try it both ways, but I really think you will prefer adding it later in the process. Tell us!
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:28 PM   #13
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That's a great idea; maybe we could just keep a suspended mixture by the stove to use at any time.
Later it came to me why this is probably not the best plan--it would be really hard to tell how much of the gum you are using, because it just sinks to the bottom. I think it's better to measure the gum first, if you are the type to follow recipes. If you cook by look and taste, go ahead and try your idea. Just add bits of the oil/gum mixture till it's thickened to taste.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:27 AM   #14
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Raven, your title of this post made me laugh out loud

Great idea, thanks for sharing!
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:25 AM   #15
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Possibly, but I'm not sure why you would want to. The mixture of oil and gum doesn't need to be cooked to remove the raw taste like flour does with this technique. Try it both ways, but I really think you will prefer adding it later in the process. Tell us!
Because once you add water to the meat drippings to make gravy, you might end up with clumped up xanthan gum if you sprinkle it in dry the usual way. If you blend the xanthan gum with the fat drippings first, you'd avoid that. The trick would be guessing how much xanthan gum to use. Another idea would to set aside a tiny bit of the grease/drippings just for mixing with the xanthan gum to add later to thicken the gravy. Of course plain oil would also work and it's such a tiny amount that it wouldn't affect the flavor of the gravy anyway.
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:28 AM   #16
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When I make gravy I usually put equal amounts of the fat from the drippings and flour, then whisk until the flour turns golden brown then add in the reserved drippings and stock and simmer until thick. When using the guar gum you would mix it with some of the fat from the pan drippings, mix the drippings and stock together in the pan then add the guar/fat mixture and simmer until thick right?
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:42 AM   #17
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Later it came to me why this is probably not the best plan--it would be really hard to tell how much of the gum you are using, because it just sinks to the bottom. I think it's better to measure the gum first, if you are the type to follow recipes. If you cook by look and taste, go ahead and try your idea. Just add bits of the oil/gum mixture till it's thickened to taste.
Yes I think you're right.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:03 AM   #18
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Because once you add water to the meat drippings to make gravy, you might end up with clumped up xanthan gum if you sprinkle it in dry the usual way. If you blend the xanthan gum with the fat drippings first, you'd avoid that. The trick would be guessing how much xanthan gum to use. Another idea would to set aside a tiny bit of the grease/drippings just for mixing with the xanthan gum to add later to thicken the gravy. Of course plain oil would also work and it's such a tiny amount that it wouldn't affect the flavor of the gravy anyway.
Got it. That's actually what I was thinking, to use a bit of oil in addition to the fat already in the gravy. The gum is SO sensitive to any moisture at all, I wouldn't try to use the drippings, or even melted butter, come to think of it. Olive oil or canola, perhaps coconut oil. It really is a tiny amount.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:07 AM   #19
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When I make gravy I usually put equal amounts of the fat from the drippings and flour, then whisk until the flour turns golden brown then add in the reserved drippings and stock and simmer until thick. When using the guar gum you would mix it with some of the fat from the pan drippings, mix the drippings and stock together in the pan then add the guar/fat mixture and simmer until thick right?
Feel free to try that. I really would suggest, though, that you just heat the mixture you want to thicken, and TOTALLY SEPARATELY mix the gum with some oil that's liquid at room temp (we are talking a teaspoon or less) and stir that into the hot food.

There is a tradeoff between the purity of avoiding that extra oil vs. the possibility of lumps, and I for one am so SICK of those lumps I will just use the oil.

Even the old sprinkle and whisk method worked mostly, most of the time, if you were adept enough at it. I was just looking for something that didn't require any finesse.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:12 AM   #20
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Oh, so heat the gravy first then add the guar/oil mixture. Sounds easy enough!!
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:28 PM   #21
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Gotta love your take on Scarlett in your heading, Ravenrose!
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:29 AM   #22
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I have only been using these thickeners in cold applications. I have had to use the blender or hand held blender, which is a pain. I am gonna try this method using coconut oil. I never know how much thickener to use. It's always a guessing game for me.
Thanks for the helpful tip!
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:46 PM   #23
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Thanks so much Ravenrose!

Ravenrose, you're a guar gum genius!!! I just made onion gravy and if my husband had gone on any more about how much he loved it, I was going to suggest they get a room! It was smooth and fantastic on the first try, thanks to you!
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:06 PM   #24
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Amazing! So glad I read this. Thanks
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:16 PM   #25
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Wow so glad this was bump up. Very good info.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:31 PM   #26
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Definatly going to try this
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:39 PM   #27
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RAVENROSE you are the new Scarlett of Guar.
"As God is my witness, I shall never be hungry again"
Scarlett in "Gone with the Wind:
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Old 10-11-2012, 02:12 PM   #28
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RAVENROSE you are the new Scarlett of Guar.
"As God is my witness, I shall never be hungry again"
Scarlett in "Gone with the Wind:
Haha Barb, I was wondering what that reminded me of.
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:12 AM   #29
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onion gravy!!??

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Ravenrose, you're a guar gum genius!!! I just made onion gravy and if my husband had gone on any more about how much he loved it, I was going to suggest they get a room! It was smooth and fantastic on the first try, thanks to you!
Can I have your recipe for Onion gravy please? sounds wonderful!
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:16 AM   #30
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Oh my gosh, what a good tip! My xanthan gum has been sitting there since the first three times I tried so hard to whisk it is quickly. Amazing!
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