When comparing between guar gum vs agar agar, the first thing to note is agar agar is not as common as guar gum as it is about 50 times more expensive than guar gum.
Agar-agar is gotten from seaweed and is similar to guar gum. Both are vegan-friendly and can be used as a gelling agent. They can also be used in place of each other in situations of scarcity.
But is guar gum the same as agar agar? The simple answer is no.
The difference between guar gum and agar agar is that guar gum is gotten from guar plants, while agar is made from a particular species of algae but they can both be used as a stabilizer or thickener.
Now, let’s look at how guar gum differs from agar agar in details!
What Is Guar Gum?
Guar gum, also known as guaran, is a polysaccharide extracted from guar beans used to thicken and stabilize foods.
Their seeds are usually dehusked, hydrated, and milled mechanically. It provides health benefits, including digestion, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and weight maintenance.
What Is Agar Agar?
Agar-agar is a jelly-like substance gotten from red algae. It is recommended that it should be taken with a lot of water because it can cause inflammation of the esophagus. At low temperatures, agar gel has an opaque texture, which is chewy.
Guar Gum Vs Agar Agar: Notable Differences
Below are the major differences between guar gum and agar agar:
Guar gum is 50 times cheaper than agar as it is readily available in grocery stores, especially in countries like China and Japan.
As gelling agents, the ingredient from seaweed, agar, has properties that are very similar to guar gum, but they are better in binding food particles together. Agar is valued as an essential ingredient because it helps create pliable textures.
When the agar is mixed with water, it forms a gel-like substance used by bakers to make bread chewier and increase the doughs’ elasticity. But excessive use of it can make loaves of bread soggy, so they need to be used in precisely the same quantity stated in the recipe.
Can I Use Agar Agar Instead Of Guar Gum?
Yes, agar can be used in place of guar gum, but guar gum is considered the best vegan alternative because it thickens naturally and does not require heat, however, it can still retain its thickening properties when still heated.
It is also beneficial for gluten-free recipes apart from being only valuable for vegans. It is suitable for pasta, bread, cakes, and baked food recipes. Guar gum is also convenient for chefs because when compared to the cost of getting agar and most vegan thickeners, it is relatively cheaper.
Also, when gluten-free flour is infused with guar gum, it keeps the products firm and prevents them from losing shape. So, if you’re on the lookout for a vegan food stabilizer and thickener, guar gum is one of the best you can find.
Is Xanthan Gum and Agar Agar the Same?
Xanthan gum and agar are not similar, but xanthan gum can be an excellent substitute for the agar. Xanthan gum will not harden your recipes the way agar will, but it certainly keeps the particles together and prevent them from separating.
Can I Use Guar Gum Instead of Gelatin?
Guar gum is a good substitute for gelatin because it looks similar when blended with water. It is very effective in vegan and gluten-free recipes because the dough becomes pliable and more accessible to shape without cracking. After all, guar gum has solid binding abilities.
Another paramount importance of guar gum that gives it an edge over other substitutes is converting a non-vegetarian dish to a vegan dish within seconds of usage. It improves the feel of vegan dishes giving it a creamy mouthfeel even when no dairy product is used.