Which Thickening Agent Should You Be Using?

Thickening Agent
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If you are ever baking or cooking, you may find that your mixture may be too runny and you have ruined whatever it is you’re making. This can be the combination of ingredients, a sauce, or even cream or frosting.

A thin, runny consistency can ruin your dish and your mood, leaving you to question where you went wrong in the baking or cooking process. However, there is help out there; it doesn’t take a Gordon Ramsy to know that thickeners play an integral part in food. These handy food additives can make your creations’ thickness and texture so much better and can also improve your culinary skills at the same time.

Before you get excited at the prospect of being a genius in the kitchen, it’s worth noting that there are so many different kinds of food thickener out there. So, to help you pick the right ones for your cooking and baking, this article dives into the different variations of thickening agents and the pros and cons of each.

Flour

Flour is one of the most common kitchen items in every household around the world. Most people with an ounce of kitchen experience will already know to use it as a thickener. And of course, thanks to its cheap price tag, wide availability, and ease of use, it might be the best option for you if you are new to cooking and baking.

Other advantages of flour include its flavor and texture; there is hardly any taste and it certainly doesn’t bring about any unpleasant textures or consistencies.. This makes it perfect for almost any recipe since it won’t affect the taste or overall condition of your cuisine masterpieces.

Unfortunately, despite how perfect it sounds, using all-purpose flour does have its disadvantages. As a thickening agent, you have to use a huge amount of it to make any difference to your food’s consistency. Plus, this may also mean you’ll have to spend a lot of time mixing it in and monitoring it as you stir your mixture to your desired thickness.

Artificial Agents

Artificial agents sound scary, but they are really no different from any other thickeners discussed in this article – they are simply made for the sole purpose of thickening food. Agents are often used by those who suffer from a swallowing condition called dysphagia – the people that have this illness can use thickening agents to add the right texture and thickness to their food, which can make swallowing and eating easier, more comfortable ordeals for them.

Special thickening agents, like SimplyThick Easy mix, are made specifically for such people who suffer from swallowing issues. These kinds of purpose-made food thickeners are a huge advantage for people with these conditions, allowing them to consume their favorite foods with ease and maintain their weight and health without worry.

What’s more, it doesn’t mean those who don’t suffer from swallowing conditions can’t use thickening agents – they certainly can! However, the only disadvantage of these specialist, purpose-designed thickeners is that you probably won’t have them lying around your house – so you will likely have to buy them online and keep them stocked up in your kitchen.

Starch

The two main starches used for thickening food are potato starch and corn starch. They are easily used, and you may already have them in your kitchen – if not, they aren’t hard to find in your local store or supermarket. In general, these two common starches are both tasteless and very easy to mix in, and unlike flour, you will only need half as much to see a difference in consistency.

However, despite how commonly available and easy to use they are, it’s important to note one key difference between the two. Corn starch is slightly inferior to potato starch; you can easily over-whisk or overheat it, which can cause it to lose its thickening properties. In contrast, potato starch is easier to whisk and heat and is difficult to ruin, which makes it the preferred choice over corn starch – especially amongst beginner bakers and budding chefs.

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