Recipe Research Using Cornstarch

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by chef107, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. chef107


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    Professional Chef
    I am part of a research study and wondering if anyone has replaced a good amount of grains in a baked good with cornstarch.  I understand the cornstarch is made from the endosperm of the kernel and corn meal/ flour is the entire grain, thus resulting with different structures.  I am looking for any experience with a concentrated amount of cornstarch in baked goods.  Anyone?
  2. norcalbaker59

    norcalbaker59 Banned

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    Cornstarch is widely used as an alternative flour in gluten free baking. Cup4Cup, Thomas Keller's gluten free flour blend, lists cornstarch as the first ingredient. The ingredients in Cup4Cup are: Cornstarch, White Rice Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Milk Powder (*rBST-Free), Tapioca Flour, Potato Starch, Xanthan Gum.

    I'm celiac, so gluten free. I've used Cup4Cup; have a bag in the pantry. But I'm not a big fan of the high starch blends. They produce a tasteless, light as air, hollow like texture. It's like eating styrofoam. I don't like the high starch blends for any bread like applications. They work best in cookies and cake where additional ingredients round out the odd texture and blandness.

    My gluten free shortbread recipe contains 25% cornstarch. I've served it to family and friends without the "gluten free" disclaimer. No one thought they were gluten free.

    Cornstarch has to be used with some restraint given its binding characteristics and high absorbency. Of the starches, it's the one I use the least. Starches don't have much to offer nutritionally. And as I mentioned, they impart a styrofoam texture in high amounts. While they are necessary in gluten free blends, I prefer to create blends with a higher percentage of grains to starch. Usually 60% to 70% of brown rice flour, sorghum, millet to 30% - 40% total starches. I never use just one starch because they impart different characteristics.

    Cornstarch adds softness and binding. Tapioca aids browning. Potato starch for a bit more density. Arrowroot for binding.

    Most corn is GMO, which I try to avoid. So unless the cornstarch specifically states it's non-GMO cornstarch, you can assume it is GMO.
  3. Jain Daugh

    Jain Daugh

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    home cookin' for 60+ years
    Great insights norcalbaker59! I too have been gluten free for about the last 5+ years with happier body for it too. I've pretty much managed to convert all my previous recipes to GF ingredients with cornstarch used in some, but overall I don't like using it or even tapioca either. Just too 'structure-less' results and flatter taste too. The GF recipes that I do make use of cornstarch in are for Russian Teacakes (rolled flat into bar cookies instead of classic 'snowballs'), german spatzle and tempura batter.

    I don't like the flavor created by tapioca and even sorghum and have found that GF oat flour makes a more 'wheat' like taste. The GF oat flour helped me to make a home made biscuit that I now enjoy. One thing that continues to evade me is making my own GF bread. I too live in CA, but the northernmost part. I mention this because it seems that our water is very alkaline which is hard on yeast risen baked goods. My adaption has been to instead of making bread in loaf form, to bake it in 'slice' (mini-pans) form. That works well enough, but real 'bread' taste has yet to come from any recipe I've tried. (and yes I add vinegar to counteract water ph.)