Have always been one for all natural ingredients, but starting to sell my products to the public I want a hot sauce that will not separate. Xanthan gum seems to be one of the most common stabilizing ingredients in a lot of hot sauces, is this the most natural and effective way to keep a sauce from separating? Also what is the best way to incorporate it into the sauce. Is xanthan gum frowned upon for people who are looking for an all natural sauce and is it alway necessary to use a stabilizing agent? Thank you guy
Xanthan gum is made by the fermentation of glucose, sucrose, or lactose by Xanthomonas campestris bacteria. It's a fairly recent discovery (sometime in the 1960s) so it doesn't have a long history like yogurt, bread or beer does but it's still a fermentation food product using bacteria or fungi like many other foods.
I have no idea whether everyone considers it natural but it's commonly used in baking gluten-free bread plus it's found in a wide range of food products. In gluten-free bread, it's used to provide the stability maintaining the bread structure (in absence of gluten's ability) for leavening by carbon dioxide from yeast. So a goodly sized group of people on the recent gluten-free fad who want to eat natural should be happy with you using it.
One caution: Although I've never heard of someone being allergic to xanthan gum, the substrate the bacteria is grown on includes corn or wheat. For someone with extreme sensitivity to corn or wheat, it's possible (though extremely rare) that an allergic reaction could be triggered. You can get around this by buying xanthan gum grown on lactose instead. I'm not sure how easy it is to find it as I've only been able to buy xanthan gum with no info on what substrate was used.
is this the most natural and effective way to keep a sauce from separating?
'The most' is subjective, you won't get a definitive answer. Yes, it is natural and effective, but some people may consider there to be better options.
Guar gum is an option. But as you discovered in your research, xanthan seems to be used most. There is probably a reason for that, which I don't know.
what is the best way to incorporate it into the sauce?
You're biggest issue will be to prevent clumping of the dry gum when it meets the liquid (wetting). Here's a video of a large commercial incorporation of guar gum. You can see water turning into goo. Of course, your ratio of xanthan will be much lower.
This video is a less extreme commercial wetting approach. Touted for labs an pilot production plants. Maybe more your size.
A stainless steel stick blender (mounted with clamps onto the pan maybe?) could work for small batch sizes for R&D, or that you will sell. Here is an example:
Counter top blenders and mixers are also viable options.
- remove a small sample from your production batch
- use stick blender to wet the gum into the small sample
- incorporate the small sample into the large batch
Is xanthan gum frowned upon for people who are looking for an all natural sauce?
I don't think xanthan will scare people aware. Any people it would scare away I don't think would appreciate any other realistic options.
Anecdotal: In the US, products sold by Bob's Red Mill have an cachet of naturalness about them. Xanthan is sold by Bob's.
is it always necessary to use a stabilizing agent?
IMO, yes. Hot sauces on a store shelf or in a distribution channel will separate. They will look unappealing.
Maybe the most natural way is to not stabilize, with instructions to shake well before use. That works for the oil and vinegar dressing market. Name your product Shake Well Before Use Sauce.
- Please wear a hairnet, glove and eye protection.
- Here are US regulations for using xanthan. Check the regs for wherever you are selling. Your xanthan purchase order should have words to the effect of "Product must meet the requirements of 21 CFR §172.695."
- Your most economical method is to make gallon(s) sized test batches at home, recording your recipes by weight only. Then subcontract out when you have a final formula. There are many places that can bottle a sauce at very low cost. They will sign non-disclosures.