Cornstarch: properties, secrets and recipes for using it

The cornstarch , also known as corn starch , is an ingredient that we should always keep in our pantry because it lends itself to the realization of different recipes. Let’s find out all the secrets to use it best in the kitchen and beyond.

Known especially as a thickener or ingredient that makes sweets softer and fluffier, cornstarch comes in the form of a very fine white powder. It is obtained by wet grinding the endosperm of the corn, that is the internal part of the grains which are particularly rich in starch. The difference with corn flour is in fact very evident and this is due to the fact that the latter is obtained from the cereal grain in its entirety.

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Index

  • Cornstarch, property
  • How to use cornstarch in the kitchen
  • Cornstarch, recipes
    • Hot chocolate
    • Catalan cream
    • Gluten-free bechamel
    • Margherita cake
    • Peach pudding
    • Gluten-free crepes
    • Chantilly cream
    • Gluten-free pastry cream
    • sponge cake
    • Cookies with chocolate chips without eggs
  • A little secret
  • Alternative uses of cornstarch

Cornstarch, property

Corn starch does not actually have many properties since it is an ingredient consisting mainly of starch. However, let’s see its main features:

  • Nutritional values:cornstarch is mainly composed of carbohydrates even if there are small quantities of minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium.
  • Gluten-free: one of the greatest advantages that cornstarch offers is undoubtedly the fact that it is a gluten-free product that can therefore also be used by those who are intolerant to this protein or those suffering from celiac disease.
  • Positive effects on diabetes and blood sugar: a few years ago research showed the possible positive effects of corn starch on blood sugar and diabetes provided that this ingredient is associated with green tea rich in epigallocatechin-3-gallate, an active ingredient capable of to keep blood sugar levels at bay.
  • Soothing and emollient: corn starch proves useful as an ingredient of beauty and well-being thanks to its softening and soothing qualities.
  • Versatile in the home (not only in the kitchen): other practical and alternative uses of corn starch see this ingredient protagonist of home care, for example in the cleaning of glass, carpets or silverware.

How to use cornstarch in the kitchen

The cornstarch in the kitchen lends itself to the realization of many preparations. Thanks to some of its particular characteristics, corn starch is in fact fundamental for obtaining good results in certain recipes. You can use cornstarch as:

  • Thickener: in the preparation of sauces, velvety, puddings, creams, hot chocolate, bechamel and much more.
  • In place of eggs:if you cannot eat eggs for allergy reasons or because you have excluded animal derivatives from your diet, an excellent alternative is to use cornstarch. In this case, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of corn starch to the recipe instead of each egg.
  • To make cakes soft: cornstarch is an important ingredient also for those who enjoy preparing some types of desserts as it contributes to making them softer. It is therefore often added to donuts and to all those types of cakes that must be high, well leavened and soft.

Cornstarch, recipes

The recipes in which cornstarch is used are really numerous. Here are some of them:

Hot chocolate

Both the recipe for traditional hot chocolate and its many variations use cornstarch as a thickener to make the preparation creamy at the right point.

Catalan cream

The Catalan cream , according to the original recipe, is prepared with egg yolks, cinnamon, brown sugar, corn starch, cream, sugar, milk and lemon juice. However, there are also lighter or vegan versions.

Gluten-free bechamel

The famous sauce used as a condiment for different dishes is generally made with flour, but there are numerous variations to make it lighter and suitable for particular choices or food needs. The gluten-free bechamel , for example, involves the replacement of the classic flour with corn starch.

Margherita cake

The classic margherita cake recipe involves the use of potato starch to make it soft and fluffy. However, this can be replaced in the same quantity with corn starch.

Peach pudding

In the recipe of peach pudding or other variants, cornstarch is used to thicken the preparation that would otherwise be too loose.

Gluten-free crepes

Those who must exclude gluten from their diet can still prepare excellent crepes by replacing the classic flour with corn starch.

Chantilly cream

Different variations of Chantilly cream , for example those without eggs, gluten-free or vegan, include among the ingredients to thicken the cornstarch.

Gluten-free pastry cream

To make a gluten free custard instead of the classic flour you can use corn starch.

sponge cake

Some sponge cake recipes to make this cake base softer and fluffier include the use of potato starch or corn starch.

Cookies with chocolate chips without eggs

The recipe for biscuits with chocolate chips without eggs provides for the replacement of this ingredient with rice flour or corn starch in order to allow the dough to bind better.

A little secret

Remember to always dilute the cornstarch in a little hot water or milk before using it in the chosen recipe. If you add it as it is, there is in fact a higher risk of forming lumps.

Alternative uses of cornstarch

Even outside the kitchen, cornstarch is a natural and inexpensive ingredient that can be useful. Among the practical uses of corn starch for home or personal care we can include:

  • Carpet cleaning: itmust be placed on the stain and left to act for about 20 minutes before brushing it away or vacuuming it
  • Cleaning the silverware:add a little cornstarch to a drop of water to form a batter that you will pass on the silverware with the help of a sponge, rubbing gently.
  • Instead of shampoo:corn starch lends itself to becoming a dry shampoo capable of cleaning hair by eliminating excess sebum. Just add a small amount to the hair, leave it on and then brush.
  • Sunburn or stings:to relieve the discomfort in these cases it is possible to prepare a baby food with corn starch and water leaving it on the inflamed area until it is dry. Then wash it off.
  • To relieve redness and itching in children: dissolve one or two tablespoons in the bath to replace or in addition to rice starch .

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