Xanthan gum is the most versatile elastic thickener and easy-to-use hydrocolloid. Xanthan gum can be used in hot or cold applications, is extremely powerful in small quantities, it provides a rich creamy mouth feel and works synergistically with many other ingredients…
Temperature : Will hydrate at any temperature. Yes, it’s that awesome.
Texture: In small quantities, xanthan will add slight body and viscosity to any liquid. Add too much, however, and a xanthan-thickened mixture runs the risk of becoming slimey, with a texture like mucus. For thicker applications such as stews or puddings, we would recommend using a different thickener. In very high concentrations, xanthan-thickened mixtures turn into sticky pastes.
Appearance: Clear, though since xanthan stabilizes emulsions, it’s very easy to trap air bubbles into a thickened mixture that will never escape, which means that your mixture could become cloudy.
Flavor release: Good.
Mouthfeel: Rich, creamy, and smooth in small quantities. Mucus-like at higher concentrations.
Freeze / Thaw stable: N/A, though xanthan can be used to stabilize frozen applications.
Syneresis (weeping): N/A, though xanthan can be used to prevent syneresis in other gelling agents.
Shearing: Shear-thinning. That is, xanthan-thickened mixtures become less viscous when exposed to shear, such as blending. However, it will not produce a fluid gel as some shear-thinning gels will.
Interactions and Tolerance of Xanthan
PH Tolerance: Functions at all reasonable pH’s (1-13).
Other Tolerances: Tolerates alcohol up to 60%, salts, and enzymes. Will not hydrate properly with sugar concentrations greater than 60%.
Synergies with other ingredients: Can be used in practically any modernist recipe to increase viscosity, which in turn can stabilize emulsions, strengthen gels, and fortify foams. Xanthan increases thickening power when used with guar gum and carraggeenan and will form a gel with locust bean gum or konjac.
How to use Xanthan
Concentration Range: 0.05-0.15% to slightly thicken smoothies, 0.25%-0.5% for thin sauces, up to 0.8% will create a syrupy texture. Higher concentrations may be used in baked goods and for other special applications.
Dispersion: Disperses at any temperature. May form clumps if using very cold water, though this will usually resolve itself over time and can be aided with oil, sugar, alcohol, or some mixing.
Hydration: Occurs at any temperature.
Special uses: many, everything from marshmallows to spherification…
Finish reading: Xanthan Gum – The Thickener of the Future