Michelle Fuller uses Expandex™ modified tapioca starch to produce a range of glutenfree products, including angel food cake.
She began baking gluten-free products in her home, but requests were coming in faster than she could handle in the small space. The market was obviously there, and Fuller knew she either had to move into a bakery or stop altogether. In June 2003, Fuller opened her gluten-free bakery, Celiac Specialties Bakery & Coffee House in Chesterfield Township, Mich., near Detroit.
Celiac Specialties produces a wide range of products including pumpernickel, cinnamon/raisin, cheddar/herb and buckwheat/flaxseed breads; hamburger and hotdog buns; angel food and carrot cakes; chocolate chip, peanut butter and sugar cookies; donuts; blueberry, raspberry, pumpkin and lemon poppy muffins; and apple strudel, coconut crðme, pecan, and pumpkin pies. The bakery also offers a range of gluten-free baking mixes, as well as casein-free (dairy-free) products.
Sourcing and finding ingredients for gluten-free bakery products is always a struggle because nothing performs the same as gluten, Fuller says. She uses a mix of rice, potato starch and tapioca starch along with xanthan gum and guar gum.
About 18 months ago, Corn Products International approached Fuller to experiment with its new product, Expandex™. Expandex is a modified tapioca starch that reduces the amount of gum needed for gluten-free baking. It replaces wheat in formulas and also enhances leavening agents used in gluten-free baking, Corn Products International officials say.
Bakers use it to help create a product structure that closely emulates a structure produced by wheat, or gluten. The starch also helps create a moist and expanded crumb in products. Expandex helps retain stable product structure in the absence of gums and improves the flavor, texture and consistency of glutenfree products, Corn Products International officials add.
Fuller first tried Expandex in one of her bakery mixes, and it worked well. Corn Products then wanted her to produce some cookies for a trade show. While working to formulate the cookies, she started to experiment with Expandex in other products, Fuller says. She now produces brownies, cookies, cakes, hamburger buns and pumpernickel-style rolls.
"I use Expandex as an enhancer for my products," Fuller says. "It has a lot of potential. It enhances certain characteristics, such as browning and flavor in some products while it helps retain moisture in other products."
Fuller is still in the research and development stage of using Expandex and is still "playing with it" to find the right ratio of Expandex to her other gluten-free ingredients.
For other bakers, Fuller advises taking a trial-anderror type approach. "With gluten-free baking, everyone's formulas are very different," she says. "Start sparingly, and gradually increase the usage amount as you monitor the results."
For more information on Expandex™, including formulas and baking tips, visit www.expandexglutenfree.com.