What is Expandex and How Should I Use It?

By Carol Fenster, Ph.D.

Typically, modified starches have not been available to the home cook, but that changed in 2005 with the introduction of Expandex modified tapioca starch by Corn Products International. It offers many benefits to the gluten-free home cook and I use it extensively in my cookbooks and in my personal baking.

Some of the particularly important benefits of Expandex for gluten-free baking include:

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  • Enhances the appearance, texture, and flavor of baked products
  • Creates a moist and expanded crumb, with a texture similar to regular bread
  • Improves crispy texture in thin baked foods such as cookies or crackers
  • Reduces the amount of xanthan or guar gums needed
  • Extends shelf life as compared to existing gluten-free foods

What this means is that Expandex can make our gluten-free baked goods look and taste more like the food we ate before we started avoiding gluten. As with any product, we are constantly learning how to use this ingredient.  I have done a lot of experimentation with Expandex since it became available and it is now an important part of my gluten-free pantry.

Here is a brief summary of how I use it:

Role of Expandex Modified Food Starch in Baking

Amount What Expandex Does
Bread
French Bread Replace 2 tablespoons of the flour in a recipe that has 3 cups flour Produces a crispier crust and more rounded loaf with a higher rise.
Muffins Replace ¼ cup of the flour in a recipe that has 2 cups flour Rises higher, produces more normal looking and less dense texture, and improves shelf life. Crust is crispier.
Corn Bread Replace ¼ cup of the flour in a recipe that has 2 cups flour Rises higher, produces more normal looking and less dense texture, and improves shelf life.
Desserts
Biscotti Replace ¼ cup of the flour in a recipe that has 2 ¼ cups of flour Produces crispier, crunchier texture especially in recipes where the dough is patted or rolled thinly.
Cream Puffs Replace 2 tablespoons of the flour in a recipe that has ¾ cup flour Produces a crispier texture and higher rise
Graham Crackers Replace 2 tablespoons of the flour in a recipe that has 1½ cups of flour Produces crispier, crunchier texture.
Shortbread Replace ¼ cup of the flour in a recipe that has 2 ¼ cups of flour Produces crispier texture, especially in recipes where the dough is patted or rolled thinly.

By Carol Fenster, www.CarolFensterCooks.com, author of 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes (Wiley, 2008)

Learn more about Expandex and where to buy it at Expandex Modified Tapioca Starch for Better Gluten Free Baked Goods.

This entry was posted in Carol Fenster Gluten Free Recipes, Cooking Tips. Bookmark this blog post.

10 Responses to What is Expandex and How Should I Use It?

  1. Deborah says:

    If sensitive to tapioca as I suspect I am is there a modified corn starch that performs like Expandex?

    • Deborah,

      I am in the same boat, as it turns out. The only other modified starches are not available to consumers. You will find modified potato starch in many gluten free products on the market. I suspect it will be available to us consumers eventually. As the gluten free market further expands I believe more and more people will learn about tapioca’s toxic reaction, especially in those already allergic to other foods.

      Carla

  2. Lasaundra Bies says:

    When you say to replace 1/4 cup of flour in a recipe with 1/4 cup expandex, do you mean take out 1/4 cup of the whole flour blend (i.e. rice, potato, tapioca) or to replace a 1/4 cup of just the tapioca flour when making your blend? Thank you.

    • Hi Lasaundra,

      I did not write this article. You can Carol Fenster this question on her blog at http://www.carolfenstercooks.com/.

      If a recipe includes tapioca flour, I usually substitute Expandex for the tapioca. If it doesn’t include it, and I am using a blend, I substitute Expandex for 1/4 cup of the mix. If the mix includes a gum, that is okay to substitute part of it with Expandex as you do not need as much gum when using Expandex.

      I hope this helps.

      Carla

  3. Karen says:

    Where can I buy Expandex?

  4. Verna Rotz says:

    Is there any health risks to Expandex? I know that genetically modified foods are not good for us. I was just wondering about this modified tapioka. I would like to understand this product before adding it to my food. Thanks. Verna

  5. Amy says:

    Is Expandex different from any other brand of tapioca starch? Do you have any suggestion on ratios when using just potato starch and tapioca starch in baked goods, such as in Passover baking?

    • Hi Amy, Expandex is very different from regular tapioca starch. It is a modified starch, similar to those used in commercial baked goods. The ratio of potato starch and tapioca starch will depend upon what you are baking and what other flours you are using. I find it all to be an experiment. If you have a particular recipe you are trying to convert I’d be glad to help. Just email me through our contact form: http://glutenfreerecipebox.com/contact. ~ Carla

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