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How to use Psyllium Husk in Gluten Free Baking? Is the most often question asked for new gluten-free bakers. Just keep reading and you will know the answers.
WHAT IS PSYLLIUM HUSK?
Psyllium is a fiber made from the husk of the Plantago ovate seeds. It can be found as a whole or powder, both have different levels of absorption.
It is most commonly known as a laxative or bulk-forming laxative. This means that draws water into your gut making bowel movements much easier. It can be used to ease constipation, by adding it to your diet to promote regularity.
Also, psyllium is prebiotic which is food for the good bacteria in your gut.
BENEFITS OF INCLUDING PSYLLIUM HUSK IN OUR DIET
It helps to maintain a healthy weight, and control blood sugar levels and for some people may help them lose weight. Because psyllium husk absorbs liquid, it gives you that feeling of fullness. This can help you control how much you eat.
Bear in mind while you include this fiber into your diet you should increase your water intake or maintain a good level of hydration, to keep everything flowing, if you know what I meant. Also, not exceeding 10 grams a day for constipation, not always is better to add more fiber. But it is important is to take plenty of water during the day when taking any type of fiber.
It is believed that helps to reduce blood sugar levels, for people with diabetes type 2.
PSYLLIUM HUSK PROPERTIES
Psyllium husk is a water-soluble fiber gel-forming mucilage. The presence of this is higher than in linen seeds (flax seeds) and chia seeds. This mucilage is hydrocolloid which means water glue, so they have the power to absorb a large amount of water and keep it making a thick sticky paste or an adhesive gelatinous substance similar to natural gums. Very similar to when you prepare Chia pudding.
This mucilage gives the capability to psyllium husk to absorb up to 40% water of its own weight, becoming a gel. This is why it is a great addition to gluten-free baking.
HOW TO USE PSYLLIUM HUSK IN GLUTEN FREE BAKING?
As you might know by experimenting with making gluten-free bread, it is not all about swapping flour from gluten-based to gluten-free and calling it the day. Gluten is what makes the bread soft, and spongy with volume, and they don’t crumble up when we cut them and eat them.
For this, we need to mimic that gluten structure by using one of the gluten substitutes Psyllium Husk. Which will retain water and give elasticity and strength to gluten-free doughs that nature doesn’t have. Although, for strength is best to use Xanthan Gum and water retention Psyllium.
WHEN DO WE USE PSYLLIUM HUSK IN GLUTEN FREE BAKING?
We use psyllium husk in recipes that usually should be gluten development like bread mainly, and with high hydration. Helping bread to achieve volume and longevity. It is not recommended to use psyllium husk in doughs that are meant to be crispy like cookies, biscuits, tart, or pie crust.
When using Psyllium Husk in Gluten Free Baking, I highly suggest using a precise kitchen scale, that shows milligrams. Why? Because you might think a 1-gram difference in the recipe won’t be relevant, however, this can definitely ruin the dough resulting in a too-runny or too-dry dough.
You always add the psyllium husk to your dry ingredients and combine well before adding the wet ingredients. After adding the liquids, you must rest the dough between 10 to 15min, this is the time that the psyllium husk requires to hydrate itself and give the consistency that we are looking for. You might be tempted to add more flour or more psyllium before the dough has rested, don’t do it, have patience and wait.
TYPES OF PSYLLIUM HUSK
Above all, you need to make sure to buy the husk, not the seeds. Make sure it is organic and certified gluten-free.
You are going to find two types of psyllium husk on the market, whole psyllium husk, and psyllium husk powder. The latter absorbs much quicker and better the liquids than the former. Always stick to what the recipe suggests using, for better results.
HOW MUCH PSYLLIUM HUSK TO USE IN GLUTEN FREE BREAD?
This will depend on if you use it by itself or with other gums. Between 2 and 4% of the total flour in the recipe. If you use more the crumb will be dense. To avoid this from happening is frequently used along with Xanthan Gum.
Doughs with no fat: 1-2% psyllium husk + 1-2% Xanthan Gum
Enrich Doughs (sugar, eggs, butter, or oil): up to 3% psyllium husk and 3-4% xanthan gum.
If we need the dough to be elastic like pizza dough, we will use 4%, on the other hand, if the bread does not need to be elastic like a bread loaf we will use 2%.
CAN YOU SUBSTITUTE PSYLLIUM HUSK IN GLUTEN FREE BAKING?
In theory yes you can substitute it for another gluten substitute (chia seeds, flaxseeds, guar gum). However, the result won’t be the same.
But if you can’t take it for any reason, you can substitute it for:
- Powder pectin, inulin, or another fiber, using the same amount but no more than 2% of the total flour.
- Flaxseed meal, you can use up 4 times the amount of psyllium, although the dough will be softer.
- Xanthan Gum, gives different results but also helps to absorb water, binds everything together, and gives strength to the dough. However, not always can be a substitute or be substituted. So, if the recipe does not have xanthan gum you can substitute psyllium for the same amount of xanthan gum. On the other hand, if the recipe already has xanthan gum, you can substitute the psyllium for xanthan gum but without going over the 4% of the total flour. If the amount increases over 4% only use 4% and reduce the amount of water in the recipe. Bear in mind all this is trial and error.
To sum up, remember, to use the percentages given to achieve nice baking goods and always stick to the recipe, and follow the directions to the T.
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Disclaimer: This post is based on my research, what I did through the internet, and my personal experience and opinion. The above is for general information only and not medical advice. My intent is not to force you to change your food habits and lifestyle. I am just showing you my food habits. I am just a health passionate. Always consult your doctor before making any big changes in your health/lifestyle. If you like the post then consider sharing it with other fit and healthy lifestyle enthusiasts on social media.