I have used xanthan a few times, sometimes successfully, sometimes less so. The one thing I've noticed: it is certainly not enough to just stir it in until it is well dispersed. Sometimes it will not thicken no matter what I do, sometimes it will stay liquid for ages while I'm stirring and then suddenly become one big gloop with no taste left. And sometimes it will get thicker with whisking and then get back to liquid.
Following factors could play a role:
- whisking (actively beating air into it)
- time (maybe I have to leave it to hydrate on its own?)
- temperature: I have gotten it to thicken at room temperature, but does it work better or worse when hot or cold?
- liquid ingredients: How does the percentage of sugar, fat and other solids influence it? What about pH?
Can somebody explain
- How do the above factors affect thickening, and
- What is the most efficient method to get a liquid thickened?