People ask What’s a Binder so Here’s a Handy Guide!

While the term seems rather self-explanatory, food binders should be defined anyway. This is because they are typically combined with other ingredients for food to gain a boost in moistness, shape, and texture. There’s also a nutritional value and flavor profile that can be applied to the snacks and meals they’re used in. People ask what’s a binder so here’s a handy guide!

You’ll encounter food-binding agents in one way or another while working in the kitchen. Whether you’re an aspiring chef or just want to whip up tasty meals for the family every time, here’s what you need to know about binders.

Binding Agents: In a Nutshell

As far as the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) is concerned, the question “what’s a binder” can be answered by a broad range of food items. They can be dairy products, vegetables, and fruit but in truth, a number of them aren’t even used in daily home cooking.

For brevity, here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Cracker crumbs
  • Eggs
  • Evaporated milk
  • Gelatin
  • Ground flax
  • Guar gum
  • Oatmeal
  • Milk
  • Potato starch
  • Psyllium husk
  • Rice
  • Tapioca
  • Wheat flour
  • Xanthan gum

Psyllium husk may ring a bell: that’s because it’s fiber from plant husks used in supplements or as a powder. It’s ideal for lowering cholesterol levels, though major amounts can have side effects. A teaspoon can easily be an egg substitute in recipes, at a 1:1 ratio, as it’s what’s widely considered a great binder substitute.

Guar gum is derived from legumes, while xanthan gum is from fermented sugar. They are examples of binding agents not used regularly in your kitchen, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) counts them as “safe and suitable” for food binding use.

What’s a Good Flour Binder?

  • White Flour

As expected, white flour is a widely used binding agent, used in cakes, cookies, muffins, and even savory dishes. Since it doesn’t have fiber, healthy fat, or protein, there are hardly any nutrients in it. However, there are other types of flour (such as wheat flour) that can provide nutrition while serving as food binders.

  • Almond Flour

Almond flour is great for baking and according to a study published by the American Heart Association’s journal in 2015, bad LDL cholesterol could be reduced by almonds. They were also found to serve as protection against cardiometabolic disorders. For the most part, it’s gluten-free, save for when it’s produced in a facility that also handles wheat.

  • Oat Flour

What’s great about using oat flour as a binder is that carb-conscious people will benefit. Made of ground-up rolled oats, all you need to do is grind the oats in a food processor until they render a fine powder. There’s more protein and fiber in this type of flour than what’s found in all-purpose.

  • Coconut Flour

For a binding agent that has plenty of fiber, digestible carbohydrates, and healthy fats, check out coconut flour. It works well for people who have nut allergies as well. That said, when coconut flour is used for baking, more oil or water is added.

Egg Replacement

What’s known by most of us who cook and bake is that the egg is a common food binder in the kitchen. However, some people have an allergy to eggs; others have reasons for being averse to them. Either way, one egg in a recipe can be replaced by the likes of:

  • 1/2 mashed banana (medium)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (or other pureed fruit)
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 3.5 tablespoons of a gelatin blend

What’s a Binder? An Important Part of Cooking!

People ask what’s a binder so here’s a handy guide! Food binders are an important part of the food landscape. Helpful in keeping food moist, shaping it, and boosting its texture, it’s an important feature of cooking effectively. The USDA has a particularly long list of binders, but among the most popular are flour and eggs. Now that you know these food binders, you’ll better understand the dynamics of food as you prepare your family’s meals at home!

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Published By Michael Casciello