# What is the best way to convert recipes to gluten free, and how much xanthan gum is needed?

I am in the process of converting my boyfriend and myself to a gluten free regimen. I have had a lot of success with gluten free recipes, but I am now wanting to convert my previous recipes to gluten free ones.

My questions are:

1. For the flour portion, is it cup for cup? (one cup of regular flour for one cup of gluten free flour)
2. How much xanthan gum should be added per cup of gluten free flour?
-
Why are you both converting to gluten free? It seems unlikely you both have Coeliac, and gluten is an important part of the texture for many baked products. – BobMcGee Jul 18 '11 at 4:04
Well, my brother was recently diagnosed with being gluten intolerant. So, in the off chance that I have it too, I don't want to wait to being diagnosed to change. Also, since we have been cutting gluten out, we have been having more energy and don't feel tired. So, it is a lifestyle change. – AtlasRN Jul 18 '11 at 10:24
And with the baking, I have had so much success with my gluten free recipes. I have let friends try them, and they have no idea that the food is gluten free. So, I am starting to think that the gluten really isn't as important as one may think. – AtlasRN Jul 18 '11 at 10:25
This was so helpul! I have been looking for a xanthan gum conversion! – AtlasRN Jul 24 '11 at 1:41

A confirmation and two suggestions, although this topic seems quite old.

1) The confirmation: I have been using xanthan in the 1/2 tsp per 1 cup proportion stated above and it works beautifully. If you consider a cup to be 140 g of flour and a tsp to be about 2 g xanthan, that's 0.7% ... often rounded up to 1% because I don't like doing maths when I can avoid it.

2) The first suggestion: bake by weight if you can get used to the metric system. Measuring is more accurate, as you don't have to deal with packing cups, and percentages become much simpler that in volume or imperial.

3) The second suggestion: try psyllium husk. It tends to be cheaper and it makes you regular without adding taste. I have been substituting xanthan by equal amounts of psyllium (by weight) and it works well for most low gluten recipes (pie crust, cakes, etc.). For bread you might want to go as high as 40-50g per loaf but psyllium mucilage becomes strong enough to trap fermentation gasses and allow the dough to rise. Hydrate it first or top the recipe with some extra water.

-

This may not be a great answer, but Bob's Red Mill makes a great all-purpose, gluten-free flour that is 1:1. They also provide suggestions of the amount of xanthan gum to use, depending on the application (muffins, bread, pie crust, etc). Since cake flour has less gluten than all purpose, and bread flour has the most gluten...you can vary the amount of xanthan gum to simulate this without gluten.

-
This mix has a high content of bean flour. I find the taste ruins some baking. For example, while I find it makes good banana bread, it absolutely ruined a batch of sticky buns. They smelled awful before and after baking and had to be thrown out. The flour mix was not spoiled. – Swoogan Jun 14 '12 at 22:34

Found the second answer to my question. Per each cup of gluten free flour, add one tsp of xanthan gum! Woo hoo!

-
Found the answer at allrecipes.com – AtlasRN Jul 19 '11 at 19:49
its ½ tsp per cup. just pointing that out. – user21845 Dec 12 '13 at 12:17

This depends of course on what you are using for gluten-free flour, but according to Khymos' Data (PDF warning) and corroborated by my own experience, 1.5% is about the maximum concentration of xanthan you would ever use, beyond which food starts to get really slimy.

The recommended amount for flour is going to depend on exactly what kind of "gluten free flour" you are using. For example, you'll see at least two recipes in the link above, one using equal parts soy and rice/potato/corn starch and the other using rice flour and corn starch in approximately a 3:1 ratio (with tapioca starch added for what I presume to be heat stability).

However, xanthan gum is pretty forgiving, so you can experiment a little with the quantities and not have to worry too much. Personally, I would recommend starting with 1% as a baseline (that's approximately 1/2 tsp per cup) as well as 0.5% guar gum (1/4 tsp per cup). Guar gum has viscosity synergy with xanthan gum and will give you much more stabilizing bang for your buck.

If that's not stable enough, add up to 50% more (keeping the xanthan:guar in a 2:1 ratio). If it's too sticky/slimy, lower the quantity. Most recipes I've seen use close to a 1% ratio so that should be the best starting point.

-
Anyway to do it without using the guar gum? My friend uses it, and I never really liked it. The recipes that I currently use only call for xanthan gum. – AtlasRN Jul 18 '11 at 10:28
@Atlas: You don't have to use guar gum, it just improves the result a whole lot. I'm not sure what you mean when you say you don't like it; it's completely undetectable taste-wise in the quantities you'd be using, it just makes the mixture behave more like flour. Feel free not to use it if you're sure there's something wrong with it, but don't up the xanthan to compensate. – Aaronut Jul 18 '11 at 16:14
I just didn't like the products that my friend put out when she used guar gum. When she used xanthan gum her recipes were much tastier. Hence will not be using guar gum. – AtlasRN Jul 19 '11 at 19:49