When baking and cooking, you may come to find that your sauces, dips, and combining ingredients aren’t thick enough, and the runny texture ruins the look and texture you were hoping for!
However, all is not lost, for this is where food thickeners come in to save the culinary day. They can be easily added to almost any substance to give it the perfect consistency and texture of your dreams. But how exactly do you use a thickener?
Which Thickening Agents Are Best?
Finding the best thickener for your food can be tricky and requires a lot of trial and error. However, there are a set few that most kitchen lovers swear by,
Corn starch is one of the most known and popular types of food thickener.
- It’s easy to use and doesn’t leave any bad taste in your mouth, so it won’t ruin the rest of your dish. Plus, it’s also one of the easiest to blend, meaning there won’t be as many lumps.
- While it is easy to use, you can also overdo corn starch. You can certainly over-whisk or even overheat corn starch so much that it will lose its thickening qualities, and the texture will end up the same as before you even used it.
Flour is another frequently used food thickener, and it’s readily available and cheap at almost any store or supermarket.
- Everyone has a packet of all-purpose flour in their cupboards. It is a very common household item – and it would be surprising to find any house that doesn’t have a least a half-empty bag of it! Overall, flour is excellent for thickening food – not merely for the fact that it’s cheap and sold everywhere, but because it’s easy to blend and will keep your food’s texture nice and thick.
- You have to use a lot of flour if you want it to take effect! When it comes to using flour as a thickener, more isn’t enough, and it can take some time to figure out how much you need. You are best adding small amounts at a time so you don’t overdo it. However, once you have figured out how much, it is easily blended and doesn’t leave a discernible taste.
There are thickening agents made specifically for getting the perfect thickness and texture to almost any food. They tend to be purpose-made for thickening, rather than being a multi-use food ingredient, like flour and corn starch, for example.
- Special thickening agents, like SimplyThick Easy mix, are an excellent way to help people who suffer from conditions that make swallowing food difficult, like dysphagia. These kinds of thickeners are regularly tested in order to maintain the best formulas suited for those who have difficulty swallowing.
- You probably won’t already have such specialist types of food thickener in your cupboard, so you will have to order some. Plus, it may take a few attempts at trial and error before you find the perfect mix for your baking and cooking.
This one is commonly used in baking, especially in sweet goods like ice cream and a wide range of other delicious desserts.
- Xanthan gum is mainly used in gluten-free food, so if you suffer from a gluten allergy, this could be the best food thickener for you. It can also make the shelf life of food last longer, which means you don’t have to worry about it spoiling too quickly – especially if you are making a large amount of whatever food item or dish you’re planning to prepare.
- If you are looking for something quick, it isn’t likely that you have a spare packet of xanthan gum in your kitchen. It’s also not as commonly found in smaller grocery shops, but it can be found in large ones if you know where to look.