What is XANTHAN GUM? Corn? Soy?
This is an issue I have researched and can knowledgeably answer. I not only consulted with a lab that makes xanthan gum, but with a UCLA doctoral student in Chemistry who has Crones Disease and a sensitivity to corn.
Here's what I learned….
Xanthan gum is a powdery substance (technically an inactive bacterium) that grows on a starch (either corn or soy) by a fermentation process. Once this powdery substance is scraped off of the starch, it no longer is molecularly corn or soy. With that said, of the people who are sensitive to corn or soy, about one percent reacts negatively to xanthan gum and 99% do not. Current research tells us that those who have negative reactions to xanthan gum are reacting to the fermentation process and not the starch itself.
Xanthin gum works so well to hold gluten free foods together, (as well as to thicken and prevent the separating of liquid mixtures) that it is a viable choice for those of us who eat gluten free. I use less than a quarter of an ounce of xanthan gum in my 13 oz mix or worded another way, about 1% of the mix contains xanthan gum. Without it, the bread falls apart after it cools.
If you find that you are sensitive to xanthan gum, by all means stay away from it. If however you are sensitive to corn or soy (like myself and both my daughters), you might want to see if you have an adverse reaction to it because the large majority of us do not have problems with xanthan gum.
Why didn’t my bread rise as high as yours?
The biggest reason why the bread doesn’t rise as high as expected in the 30 to 40 minute time frame, is heat. You need to get the water really warm (just before it boils) because by the time you add your oil, vinegar, and cold egg, the liquids are the right temperature to begin to activate the yeast. If the water is too warm (boiling), the heat will kill the yeast. If the water is too cool, it won’t activate the yeast. Once the bread is allowed to double in volume, it is ready to be baked. After the bread has risen, the 350º baking temperature will kill the yeast and bake the bread.
Other Possible Reasons Why the Bread Didn’t Rise Properly:
Expired yeast was used
Bread was not put in a warm place to rise