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HELP! I need a starch free replacement for flour to be used as a thickener.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I am trying to live a low carb, low sugar lifestyle.  Therefore, I am trying to avoid refined grains which include all flours.  By trying to be low carb I would think that would include trying to cut out starchy foods so I also want to avoid cornstarch, arrow root, etc.  Can I use unflavored gelatin to thicken sauces and soups instead of flour and cornstarch? If so, does anyone know the conversion ratio of flour to gelatin? If gelatin is not advisable what alternatives could I use? Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 17

I would suggest not cooking stuff that requires thickening.  I know it's not what you wanted to hear.  For sauces you can use simple reduction sauces, for soups make broth soups, etc.

post #3 of 17

Stock reduction will allow you to thicken sauces and soup with the natural gelatin released by the meat bones in your stock. 

post #4 of 17


Your talking apples and oranges here.

     You can't use gelatin as a thickener  for a hot sauce as it will turn into a thin liquid when reheated so will pectin. You best shot is making things that the sauces can be reduced naturally by cooking down.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #5 of 17

Normally, I'd suggest using cooked rice (NOT Uncle Ben's perverted) as a flour-free thickener, but then again, rice is considered a starch--so would mashed potatoes.

 

However, you can use purees of vegetables like squash, peas, carrots, mushrooms, turnips, etc as a sorta/kinda thickener.  It won't "Bind" or "thicken" liquids, but if substituted for part of the overall liquid in the dish, it will be reasonably thick.  This method will work well in soups and stews, but for more delicate applications, not as ideal.

 

Hope this helps

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #6 of 17
Thicken your soups with your avatar! Tomato paste, its a good sauce thickener also.

Yoh said food that you are avoiding, but what are you trying to eat more of? Some of them foods may be natural thickeners also.

Its funny, they are both kindof right but FF says use gelatin, Ed says gelatin wont work because its liquid when hot. It still makes does make liquid " thicker".

Pulp might be something youd be interested in. If you juice, the pulp left over in the machine (Im thinking carrot pulp etc) can be used in place of flour in many applications
post #7 of 17

If you are not adverse to adding a little fat into your diet, most pan sauces are thickened to the consistency of a sauce by reducing the sauce as necessary and then "mounting" the sauce with a pad of butter once you've cut the heat. So you can have nice sauces including herbs, mushrooms, garlic, etc. and some of the jus from whatever protein you're working with.

 

As for soups, I've only ever seen gelatin used when you are working with store bought stock/broth and you want to recapture that mouth feel of the natural gelatin. Is it thicker, yes. Is it thickened.. no. At least not on the level of say thickening a beef stew into the consistency of a gravy.

 

Raw spice mixtures that are ground can thicken. Indian curries and even American chili take some of their thickness from the spice mixture. The problem there is you cannot decouple a change in the flavor from a change in the texture. More thickness = more spice..

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks, everyone, for all of the interesting ideas.  

post #9 of 17

Have you tried chia seeds?  They thicken beautifully.

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi, I haven't tried Chia seeds.  Would they make the sauce or soup crunchy? (I don't have any experience with them.)  I did try ground flax seeds, which worked, but left my sauce a little mealy.

post #11 of 17

No, not crunchy.  They are more like the consistency of tapioca, soft and small round beads.  And, huge bonus, they are off the charts in anti-oxidents.

post #12 of 17

Along with what is already stated, you might wish to try nut flours/butters or egg yolks or cream/sour cream or vegetable gums (guar gum and xanthin gum) as they are used in the paleo world as a low carb.

 

I use xanthin gum myself for thickening sauces/soups or if I do not want to do a reduction or add dairy. A wee little bit goes a long way! You can buy this at your larger grocer chains.

 

I use egg yolks for my mayonnaise style products (of course...lol) however I do occasionally use it for thickening my shakes....avocado works too!

 

I use nut butters for special sauces like a thai peanut sauce or baking (with coconut or nut flours) in general for bars and stuff (yes, believe it or not you can bake low carb stuff!)

 

I hope you get it all figured out and I wish you well on your health journey!

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by lattegal View Post
 

No, not crunchy.  They are more like the consistency of tapioca, soft and small round beads.  And, huge bonus, they are off the charts in anti-oxidents.

 

Chia seeds are a grain though, which the OP does not want to use.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks!

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

Since they are called chia "seeds" I would not have known they are a grain.  Interesting!

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post
 

 

Chia seeds are a grain though, which the OP does not want to use.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post
 

 

Chia seeds are a grain though, which the OP does not want to use.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fablesable View Post
 

Along with what is already stated, you might wish to try nut flours/butters or egg yolks or cream/sour cream or vegetable gums (guar gum and xanthin gum) as they are used in the paleo world as a low carb.

 

I use xanthin gum myself for thickening sauces/soups or if I do not want to do a reduction or add dairy. A wee little bit goes a long way! You can buy this at your larger grocer chains.

 

I use egg yolks for my mayonnaise style products (of course...lol) however I do occasionally use it for thickening my shakes....avocado works too!

 

I use nut butters for special sauces like a thai peanut sauce or baking (with coconut or nut flours) in general for bars and stuff (yes, believe it or not you can bake low carb stuff!)

 

I hope you get it all figured out and I wish you well on your health journey!

I haven't seen too many low carb bake recipes so I will definitely look into this... thanks!  I will also have to check into nut flours.  :)

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post
 

 

Chia seeds are a grain though, which the OP does not want to use.

 

 

FDA considers "whole seeds" as "grains", but technically they are not.  Quinoa is a seed and very good for you as are chia seeds.  There are forces at work to challenge that.

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