Are you excited to learn how to make cornstarch? Not only is it an easy and affordable way to enjoy the nutty and versatile flavor of this popular ingredient, but baking with it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Whether you’re cooking up some fried chicken or thickening up a stew, having homemade cornstarch in your pantry adds new possibilities when it comes to exploring recipes. Best of all, making your own cornstarch means that you get all the goodness without added preservatives or unnecessary ingredients – what could be better than that? Read on for our simple guide to creating delicious cooked cornstarch at home.
- 1 What Is Cornstarch?
- 2 Different Types Of Cornstarch
- 3 Cornstarch Vs. Cornflour: What Are Their Differences?
- 4 The Benefits Of Using Cornstarch In Cooking
- 5 What Is The Main Ingredient Of Cornstarch?
- 6 How To Make Cornstarch?
- 7 How Long Does It Take To Cook A Dish Made With Cornstarch?
- 8 Tips For Making Cornstarch At Home
- 9 What Can You Do With Cornstarch?
- 10 How To Store Cornstarch?
- 11 FAQ: Cornstarch
What Is Cornstarch?
Cornstarch, sometimes also known as cornflour, is a fine white powder made from ground corn. This ingredient is often used as a thickening agent in cooking and baking, giving dishes a silky smooth texture without altering the flavor. It’s commonly found in recipes for sauces, gravies, soups, and desserts such as pudding or custard. Cornstarch is also great for dusting pans and surfaces when baking, as it prevents sticking and creates a nice crispy crust on fried foods. And while cornstarch is available in most grocery stores, making your own at home offers a fun and cost-effective alternative.
Different Types Of Cornstarch
Cornstarch is generally made from either white or yellow corn, and there are a few different types available on the market. The most common type is regular cornstarch, which is versatile and works well in most recipes. However, for those with dietary restrictions or preferences, there are also organic and gluten-free options available. Organic cornstarch is made from organic corn and is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Gluten-free cornstarch is made from non-GMO corn and is ideal for those who are sensitive to gluten or following a gluten-free diet.
Cornstarch Vs. Cornflour: What Are Their Differences?
Cornstarch can be made by finely grinding and processing the starchy portion of a corn kernel into a fine, white powder. This powder is primarily used as a thickening agent – once it’s combined with liquid and heated, it forms a gel-like consistency that thickens sauces, soups, and pies. Cornflour, on the other hand, is also made from corn but goes through an additional process of being finely ground into flour before being turned into a powder. This results in a much finer texture than regular cornstarch and is often used as a substitute for wheat flour in baking. While cornstarch and cornflour are made from the same main ingredient, they serve different purposes in cooking and cannot be used interchangeably.
The Benefits Of Using Cornstarch In Cooking
Cornstarch is utilized in various recipes for cakes, cookies, pie fillings, and shortbread to achieve a delightful texture that is both crumbly and tender. In commercial applications, cornstarch functions as an effective anti-caking agent. When heated, cornstarch causes the starch in a recipe to thicken making it useful for thickening sauces and soups. It also makes these dishes translucent, adding visual appeal to your presentation. Cornstarch is naturally gluten-free which makes it an ideal substitute for flour when cooking or baking for people with gluten sensitivities.
What Is The Main Ingredient Of Cornstarch?
Cornstarch is derived from corn grains and is processed by grinding them into a fine powder. This powder is obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel, which serves as the primary energy source for the seedling. Growing into a new plant, the endosperm contributes to the kernel’s bulk. Usually ground to a fine powder, cornstarch is an incredibly versatile ingredient and can be used in a variety of dishes. And with just one main ingredient, making your own cornstarch at home couldn’t be simpler.
How To Make Cornstarch?
“How to make cornstarch?” To make cornstarch, follow these steps:
- Remove the grains from corns and wash them.
- Soak the grains in water for 2-3 hours. If the grains are hard, you may need to extend the soaking time.
- Take half of the soaked grains and put them in a grinding jar.
- Add about 1.5 cups of water to the grinding jar and grind the grains until they reach a smooth consistency.
- Repeat the grinding process with the remaining soaked grains.
- Filter the mixture and leave it for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, you will notice that the liquid has separated into two layers – a thick layer of cornstarch at the bottom and a watery layer on the top.
- Carefully pour out the watery layer and discard it.
- Let the remaining cornstarch dry completely before storing it in an airtight container.
How Long Does It Take To Cook A Dish Made With Cornstarch?
To prepare cornstarch, continue cooking the mixture while stirring constantly until it comes to a boil and thickens, which typically takes about 1 to 2 minutes. Cornstarch requires heat, usually around 203°F, for starch gelatinization to take place. This scientific process involves the swelling of starch granules and their absorption of water. Once the dish has reached the desired consistency, remove it from heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes before serving. Keep in mind that cornstarch continues to thicken as it cools, so be careful not to over-thicken your dish while cooking.
Tips For Making Cornstarch At Home
- Always use clean, dry corn and grinding equipment to avoid contamination.
- The finer the ground corn, the smoother your final product will be.
- For a gluten-free option, make sure to use non-GMO corn in the grinding process.
- Be patient during the drying process – it may take a full day or longer for your homemade cornstarch to completely dry.
- Store cornstarch in an airtight container to prevent moisture from affecting its texture.
- Experiment with different types of corn and grinding techniques to find the perfect consistency for your homemade cornstarch.
What Can You Do With Cornstarch?
As mentioned earlier, cornstarch is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Use it as a thickening agent in sauces, soups, and gravies.
- Create a crispy coating for fried foods by dredging them in cornstarch before frying.
- Make homemade playdough using cornstarch, water, and food coloring.
- Use it as a substitute for wheat flour in baked goods such as cakes, cookies, and bread.
- Create a natural facial mask by mixing equal parts of cornstarch and honey – apply to your face, let it dry, then gently rinse off with warm water.
- Use it as a dry shampoo – sprinkle cornstarch on your roots, let it sit for a few minutes, then brush it out to absorb excess oil and add volume.
How To Store Cornstarch?
Cornstarch can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 18 months. However, it’s essential to check the expiration date on the package and use it before that time. Exposure to heat or moisture can cause cornstarch to clump, so make sure to store it properly. You can also extend its shelf life by keeping it in the refrigerator or freezer, but make sure to bring it back to room temperature before using it. Alternatively, you can make smaller batches of cornstarch at a time to ensure you always have fresh homemade cornstarch on hand for your cooking and beauty needs.
Can I use baking soda or powder instead of cornstarch?
Cornstarch is not a suitable substitute for baking soda. While baking soda acts as a leavening agent, cornstarch serves as a thickener. Despite their similar appearance, these ingredients have distinct roles in cooking and cannot be used interchangeably.
Is it better to use cornstarch or flour to make gravy?
To achieve a smoother texture and eliminate the raw flour taste, cornstarch can be used as an alternative to flour when making gravy. While a flour-based gravy typically maintains its consistency and reheats well, cornstarch becomes an ideal option for individuals with gluten-free dietary requirements.
What happens when you add cornstarch to all-purpose flour?
Cornstarch can be used in combination with other flours to achieve a softer texture in desserts. To incorporate cornstarch into a dessert batter, it is recommended to first convert it into a slurry.
Harmony Saunders is the CEO and founder of Bamboo Wok, a family-owned and operated Chinese restaurant that has been serving the Manvel, Rosharon, and Alvin communities for more than nine years. Our delicious dishes are made from scratch with the best ingredients, vegetables are fresh cut daily in our kitchen, and poultry is delivered every two days.
So whether you’re craving Chinese food for the family or need catering for your next event, please give us a try! We know you won’t be disappointed with our fresh, authentic Asian fare.