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Does xanthan gum prevent gelatin from setting, or vice versa?


MarkV
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I was playing around with various formulations of sugar-free jam and tried three times to combine xanthan gum and gelatin. It failed to set every time. Hot water, gelatin (Jell-o actually), xanthan gum, fruit pulp.

 

Is there some interaction that prevents it from setting?

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4 minutes ago, gfweb said:

And why not use pectin? Does that violate sugar-free in some way?

 

one issue with pectin is that you have to use a special low-methoxyl class of pectins. traditional pectin requires sugar to set. the gel isn't the same as normal jam, but it's not bad.

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1 hour ago, gfweb said:

can you give the recipe?

There isn't really a recipe. I was looking to make jam without adding sugar and saw this and this and I had both jell-o and xanthan gum and I've used gelatin and XG together in ice cream so I thought I'll try them together. It didn't work at all. The result is just totally a flowing liquid. This seems to indicate the prevent each other from gelling.

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46 minutes ago, btbyrd said:

What fruit are you using? Many fruits contain enzymes that can interfere with gelatin setting. Overly acidic fruits can do the same.

I have tried fresh strawberries and canned pumpkin puree.

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27 minutes ago, gfweb said:

And why not use pectin? Does that violate sugar-free in some way?

Common pectin doesn't set without sugar, and I didn't have any of either kind anyway, and in principle either gelatin or XG should work (but differently of course).

Edited by MarkV (log)
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With the disclaimer of a sometimes unreliable memory, there was a point in time when I played around and experimented with pretty much every gelling agent I could get my hands on and I don't recall any incompatibility between gelatin and xanthan. Both gelatin and agar work well with xanthan as far as I remember with (in my opinion) gelatin having a better mouthfeel and agar having better stability for storage and warmer temps.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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23 hours ago, MarkV said:

There isn't really a recipe. I was looking to make jam without adding sugar and saw this and this and I had both jell-o and xanthan gum and I've used gelatin and XG together in ice cream so I thought I'll try them together. It didn't work at all. The result is just totally a flowing liquid. This seems to indicate the prevent each other from gelling.

 

unfortunately it's hard to troubleshoot a cooking issue without knowing the proportions of ingredients you used. when you try this again, be sure to write down how much of each thing you used.

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On 3/8/2021 at 9:38 PM, jimb0 said:

 

unfortunately it's hard to troubleshoot a cooking issue without knowing the proportions of ingredients you used. when you try this again, be sure to write down how much of each thing you used.

It was one box of jello and one tablespoon of Cooking Illustrated's pre-prepared xanthan gel. What proportion of jello/gelatin to xanthan gum could cause it to fail entirely to set?

 

I'm wondering if maybe it was somehow too much liquid. Are gelatin hydrocolloids a thickness continuum, or is there a tipping point where it suddenly goes from somewhat set to not set all?

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Strawberries and pumpkin shouldn't be causing setting issues with gelatin. The only thing I could find in my notes about combining gelatin and xanthan is xanthan helps with syneresis issues, I don't have anything noted about there being negative issues. I can imagine xanthan possibly helping the gel be more spreadable without breaking but I don't have any evidence to back that up. Not that I'm an expert on the subject by any means, I just invested a lot of late nights and ingredients in learning what various gelling, thickening and stabilizing ingredients do. How much base are you trying to gel? One box of gelatin in 2 quarts of liquid will produce a thickened but drinkable texture. The reason I know that is, an elderly lady my mom used to send me and my brother to help with yard work when we were kids used to dissolve a box of lime jello in 1 cup hot water then fill the pitcher with pineapple juice and keep it in the fridge as a drink. She claimed the gelatin was good for our blood. It was tasty but I didn't enjoy the thick texture... and that was at 4x the amount of liquid called for on the box to make the standard jello gelatin. For a jam-like texture, I'm thinking 5 - 6 cups might be doable with the much higher solids percentage in the purees. If xanthan gum is doing something to interfere with the gelatin creating a gel, that would be extremely interesting to me because I don't remember ever seeing that be the case.

 

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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On 3/12/2021 at 12:48 PM, MarkV said:

It was one box of jello and one tablespoon of Cooking Illustrated's pre-prepared xanthan gel. What proportion of jello/gelatin to xanthan gum could cause it to fail entirely to set?

 

I'm wondering if maybe it was somehow too much liquid. Are gelatin hydrocolloids a thickness continuum, or is there a tipping point where it suddenly goes from somewhat set to not set all?

 

yeah this is what i mean, how much liquid / fruit did you add to the gelatin and xanthan? one small box of jello, for example, will only make two cups of jello - and jelly isn't much less firm than jello. so if you were using much more than 2 or 3 cups of liquid, total, it probably wouldn't set properly. generally, you'll feel it go from something akin to a free-flowing liquid, to something like a really sticky stock, to something more like jello. how long did you leave the jellies in the fridge for?

Edited by jimb0 (log)
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