Hmmm that was interesting

Joined Oct 19, 2009
So about a week ago I made a frozen lemon souffle; I thought it could use a sauce and decided to make one with some frozen blueberries I had laying in the freezer. I decided to thicken the sauce with Tapioca Flour (I used Tapioca because I heard it gels clear when cooled). I combined the berries, some water, a little lemon juice, honey, and sugar in a sauce pot and simmered the berries for a couple minutes. Then I strained out the berries, returned the juice to the pan, eye-balled in some Tapoica flour slurry, and brought it back up to a boil briefly to thicken. When the sauce cooled it was nice and clear and about the proper thickeness. But something strange happened. When cooled, the sauce was stringy. It tasted fine and was uniformly thickened but formed long gooey strings, like melted mozzarella when you spooned it out. :confused:

Anyone else have this happen or know the right way to handle Tapioca?

Thanks in advance
Joined Jun 21, 2007
sorry Dave but I have no clue for you.
I'm answsering because it annoys me no end when a person posts and gets so many "viewed" but not one person responds.
I know it's dumb of me to even write that but how hard is it to say I don't know, sorry.
anyway, in Pittsburgh today and was in a asian supermarket. great things in there, one of them I picked up by the bag and it was tapioca flour, I also picked up a package of pearl tapioca just because I want it in my pantry.
hope you get your answer. we passed by the Corden Bleu school and I asked the driver about it. He says so far, people can't go there to eat, it's strickly a school, darn < > I thought
Joined Oct 18, 2007
I myself would feel silly responding to general requests for help with merely a "I don't know".
I also would feel let down to see that my request had 94 replies, all of them saying "I don't know".

Maybe it's just me, I don't know.
Joined Dec 20, 2008
I'm not a chef or even a great cook, but I can google. I found, many references, that essentially said the same thing, don't let tapioca flour mixtures boil, the result will be stringy. Plus you don't want to stir very much.

In the Joy of Cooking, said once tapioca starts to simmer, remove from heat, while setting only stir once or twice.

Another source:
Cooked it forms a quite clear gel with a long and slightly stringy texture. Upon cooling, it sets to a soft gel. It loses most of its thickening ability during prolonged heating and under acidic conditions. The cooked gel resambles that of potato, but the texture is less stringy and the flavor i more neutral, making it a preferred thickener in delicate foods and desserts.

Found this chart

So maybe you allowed to boil, over stirred, and finally the acidic lemon.
Joined Oct 19, 2009
LuvPie - Well, thanks for your response anyway. Haha. The title to my thread was fairly obscure and I don't think many people work with tapioca starch too much so I wasn't surprised I didn't get many replies

Deltadude - very interesting info. I did know that high acidity and prolonged heat weaken starches thickening power-I only brought the sauce to a boil briefly and only added a splash of lemon juice. Based on your info though I think I should have heated it gently just until thickened and that I over-stirred. Thanks for the info :peace:
Joined Apr 3, 2006
I think the tapioca looks thinner than it actually when the liquid is boiling hot. Especially with honey (which will also harden when cooled down...), kinda doubling the thickening effect.
Joined Nov 6, 2004
Hi there :)

I have read that you're not supposed to let tapioca boil or it will get stringy. Heat it up and bring to simmer, remove from heat, add tapioca and stir.

*Hi LuvPie. I understand with what your saying and have even had it happened to me on occasion. But I don't when people force answers either.

Please don't take offense. But to be of the reasons I like ChefTalk so much is because people know their place. They don't normally step outside of their knowledge base or experience zone.

Here, at ChefTalk, I give answers far fewer times than I take advice or ask questions. The reason is a direct reflection of the company I keep. There's a good number of people who know food and how to prepare it here...and I'm not helping anyone out trying to pretend I'm one of them.

Take this instance for example. I've worked with tapioca only a few times...I've got very little knowledge or experience with it. But I did find the answer online. Personally I would rather have someone with either more knowledge or more experience help this person out.

I do see your point...but that's my view on it.

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