Expandex: Modified Tapioca Starch for Better Gluten-free Baked Goods

Expandex®, a gluten-free modified* tapioca starch made by Corn Products (though not a corn based product) is promoted as enabling gluten-free bakers to create a gluten-like baked good, similar to using gluten flours. It is promoted as improving the rise, taste, texture, appearance and extends shelf life. In addition, Expandex creates a more moist and better crumb texture to baked goods and improves the crispy texture of deep-fried goods, along with bringing out more of the flavors of other ingredients. Learn where to purchase it, how to use it and more.

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UPDATE: I have used Expandex now. See the Expandex Gluten Free Recipes category.

I have not used it myself yet (see update below), but just ordered some and will keep you posted on how well it works. I have only read positive reviews about recipes using Expandex. Does it work? I can’t wait to give it a try, though I have concerns about how it is produced.

UPDATE: I have tried Expandex. In most cases it improves the baked product, however, in gluten free breads I have been able to achieve the same texture without the use of Expandex. However, with use in dough it creates the perfect dough.

My main question is how is it processed? Modified food starches are processed either by the use of enzymes or chemicals. Since Expandex is a proprietary product, meaning they keep it a secret so that others do not duplicate their idea, we do not have the answer to this question.

UPDATE: The former Expandex website had linked to the various processes allowed for manufacturing modified starches by the FDA. Check it out if you are curious about the chemicals allowed to process it. They also stated that it was non-GMO. What I take from this, is that though it is non-GMO, it may contain all sorts of chemicals, as many other modified starches.

Is Expandex Safe?

Corn Products International stated that Expandex is corn-free, made in a separate facility in order to prevent cross-contamination from allergens such as corn, etc. It is also free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, non-GMO, and does not contain aspartame.

What we do not know is if it is chemical free or not.

If you are already eating many pre-prepared gluten-free foods you are probably already consuming modified food starches. My plan is to use it only for special occasions when we have guests that do not eat gluten-free, and when I cannot achieve close to desire results in a gluten free baked good. If you bake with most Nestle’s chocolate morsels you are already getting chemical. UPDATE: Nestle’s now has natural dark chocolate morsels.

This is definitely an improvement on corn based modified food starch, as corn is something I am trying to eliminate from my diet, or at least consume in moderation. Corn is often GMO (genetically modified organism), also known as GE (genetically engineered).

How to Use Expandex

If you are interested in trying expandex yourself check out Expandex for yourself Carol Fenster’s Expandex Baking Tips and learn how much to use in your recipes.

Where to Buy

7/14/2014 update:

You will now find Expandex that is tested to be under 5 parts per million (ppm) gluten and is manufactured and packaged in a gluten free facility on Amazon. It is available in 15 oz. and 2.5 lb. packages.

Expandex is running on short supply these days, but it is available through Rheinlander Bakery; however, they currently do not test the product for gluten cross-contamination. It arrives at their facility as a safe gluten free product. They then package it in smaller amounts in a closed room in the back of their facility. The main facility processed gluten products.

See Gluten Free Expandex Recipes.

*Modified tapioca starch is not the same as tapioca starch, tapioca flour, or tapioca powder.  One would have to modify it, as described above.

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12 Responses to Expandex: Modified Tapioca Starch for Better Gluten-free Baked Goods

  1. Judee says:

    Gluten Free You and Me now sells Expandex online through Amazon.com prime program. We sell it in 15 oz, 2.5 lb, and 5 lb sizes. The first shipments of the 2.5 lb and 5 lb sizes arrived 6.26.14. The second shipments will arrive 7.10.14 and will be continually in stock after 7.10.14. Happy Baking!

    • Email correspondence to and from Judee of Gluten Free You and Me regarding the Expandex her company repackages in their gluten free facility and sells it on Amazon:

      Q1. Do you or a third party test your Expandex for gluten content? If so, which test do you use? What are the test results? T
      A. The testing is completed by trained employees. Bia Diagnostics, as an outside testing agency, did the tests. All tested <5ppm.

      Q2. Is the Expandex packaged individually in a gluten-free facility; or is it packaged in a separate room which is in a gluten-containing facility? A. Our facility is a dedicated gluten free facility. It is repackaged in our facility. Further, the Expandex is manufactured in a gluten free facility.

      Q3. If there is anything else you think may help those highly intolerant to gluten be rest assured your product is safe for them to consume, please pass it along. I assume you are aware of the FDA’s gluten-free labeling rules going into effect on August 5, 2014.
      A. I am a diagnosed celiac since 1993. In approx. 1997, I worked on one of the first gluten free manufacturer listings published by CSA. I was also the head of a support group in San Diego, CA for 3 years. I too am very sensitive and believe in dedicated gluten free facilities. I am fully aware of the FDA’s gluten -free labeling rules.

  2. Katherine says:

    I have recently had some quite severe intolerance reactions to Expandex including prolonged nausea, swollen liver and uncomfortable feeling of fullness (days after eating it). Some web searches revealed that I am certainly not alone in this – including among people with gluten allergy.

  3. Terri says:

    I live in Australia, and was wondering if this product is exported to us here? I tried to send an email to the company, but because it doesn’t recognize that I’m not in the US, it keeps telling me I have an error and to go back and try and fill out the “form” to send them an email. So I’m not able to ask them if they have this product available in Australia. Would you (or anyone else) know if they do?

    Thanks for your help.
    Terri.

    • Leopoldine says:

      Yep most store-bought soups, GF or not are full of sodium. Right now my favtrioe soup that I make is butternut squash. I use butternut squash and a little bit of carrots, garlic and onions. Optional ingredients include pepper and/or earth balance (or other butter substitute to make it creamy). I’m milk-free (at least for this first year of diagnosis) so all my soups are all milk-free too. I store them in the fridge in mason jars. I’d like to take your kudos, but it is really all the vitamixer doing the work! I just make-up my recipes based on what I have in the fridge/freezer!

  4. KE says:

    What exactly do you mean by this statement?

    BTW, I do not work for Nestle….. I’m just a consumer and gluten free baker trying to use more whole foods and less artificial stuff.

    “If you bake with Nestle’s chocolate morsels you are already getting chemical.”

    • HI KE,

      Nestle’s is known for adding lots of chemicals to their regular morsels. I learned about this when I interviewed the Executive Director of the Feingold Association. When you have a lot of food allergies, like me, it’s best to avoid anything artificial: coloring, flavoring, preservatives. Sometimes I have allergic reactions to food and I cannot figure out what triggered it. After the ED stated that “Nestle’s was the worse offender” in regards to chocolate chips containing chemicals, I noticed that was the trigger when eating ice cream containing them. Now they have the Natural Dark Chocolate Mosels and I use them instead. Though I haven’t figured out all of my food allergies, which seem to be growing in number (heard that may be a adrenal issue), I believe I am not reacting to the natural ones. I believe the ingredient in most chocolates that the ED of the Feigngold Association was referring to was artificial vanillin. She mentioned that Godiva contains it, as well. I read that artificial vanillin can bring on a migraine.

      It’s great that you’re watching out for you health. Keep up the great work!

      Carla

  5. GFRB Staff says:

    Here is a successful gluten-free bread recipe using 1/4 cup of Expandex which turned out an incredible texture! – just like real bread!!! Low-Sodium Gluten-free Bread Made with Expandex http://glutenfreerecipebox.com/low-sodium-gluten-free-bread-expandex

  6. Caryn says:

    We have used it but don’t have any on hand at the moment. In my experience it did make a better product. My kids are chemically sensitive and so I like to use organic as much as possible in my kitchen. If it isn’t organic at least it should be chemical free. I often wrap gf baked goods in a damp paper towel or baker’s towel and microwave it for just a few seconds to replace moisture. If you don’t like to use a micro with your food you can just micro the wet towel and then wrap your day old GF bread in it and leave it on the counter about 10 minutes. It works great to replace moisture and make that crumbly bread taste good again.

    • GFRB Staff says:

      Hi Caryn,

      What a wonderful suggestion! I was recently thinking what to do besides steaming the bread slices in a colander or strainer. Thank you so much for sharing this idea with us all!

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