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.
UPDATE: I have used Expandex now. See the Expandex Gluten Free Recipes category.
UPDATE: I have tried Expandex. In most cases it improves the baked product; however, in gluten free bread recipes, I have been able to achieve the same texture without the use of Expandex. When used in dough, it creates the perfect elasticity. Check out this recipe for Gluten Free Teff Tortillas.
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, but that manufacturer no longer exists. However, I do link below to the FDA’s article with an important quote. The former manufacturer 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?
When the first brand of Expandex that was available to the general by Corn Products International, they stated that Expandex is corn-free, made in a separate facility in order to prevent cross-contamination from allergens such as corn, etc. It was also free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, non-GMO, and does not contain aspartame. That brand is no longer available.
What the FDA States
Food starch-modified as described in this section may be safely used in food. The quantity of any substance employed to effect such modification shall not exceed the amount reasonably required to accomplish the intended physical or technical effect, nor exceed any limitation prescribed. To insure safe use of the food starch-modified, the label of the food additive container shall bear the name of the additive “food starch-modified” in addition to other information required by the Act. Food starch may be modified by treatment prescribed as follows:
(a) Food starch may be acid-modified by treatment with hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid or both.
(b) Food starch may be bleached by treatment with one of the following… (Reference)
What we do not know for certain 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 mainly when I cannot achieve close to desired results in a gluten free baked good. If you bake with most Nestle’s chocolate morsels you are already getting chemicals. 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). However, you can purchase non-GMO cornstarch such as Bob’s Red Mill brand.
Where to Buy
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.
How to Use Expandex
Article coming soon.
*Modified tapioca starch is not the same as tapioca starch, tapioca flour, or tapioca powder. One would have to modify it, as described above.