Starch is a natural molecule found in some plants. It is a complex glucose. The agri-food industry processes starches to modify or improve their thickening, binding or gelling action. Modified starches are therefore used as food additives.
Where do the starches come from?
There is not a single source of starch. Native starches, that is starches found in nature, come mainly from tubers and cereals. Cassava and potatoes contain starch, as well as corn, wheat and rice. A modified starch is just transformed. This does not mean that it is extracted from a genetically modified organism.
What are modified starches used for?
Starches are useful for binding, thickening or gelling a food preparation. In the food emulsifiers industry, these additives help to give texture to products. In particular, modified starches of wheat and corn are used for gelled foods. They prefer potato starch for more liquid products. They also allow the frozen products to stand at the time of defrosting.
Where do we find modified starches?
Modified corn starch is present in pastry creams, pie fillings, pastries and biscuits. Modified cassava starch is found in mellow and melting puddings. Modified potato starch is in frozen pastries. Industrial biscuits and pastries may also be modified wheat starch.
What is modified starch?
Starches and modified starches
Starch is a white to slightly yellowish, odorless powder. Starch is a complex carbohydrate derived from plants (corn, potato, cassava, wheat, ..). In the world, starch can be extracted from more than 50 plants. Starch is called “starch” when it is extracted from tubers or roots.
Starches are natural ingredients of human health and nutrition. In addition to their nutritional and energy value specific to carbohydrates, starches have many properties: to bind, to thicken, to texture, to stabilize, to gel …
The starches can be used as it is (native starch) or after modifications: modified starches or pregelatinized starches.
The modified starches are obtained from native starches which have been modified chemically and / or physically to give them particular properties.
Modified starches therefore have nothing to do with genetically modified products (GMOs). To avoid confusion, they are also called “processed starches”.
The consumption of modified starches is not dangerous for health, they are included in Annex I of the additives authorized without restriction in the European Directive 95/2 / EC.
Properties of modified starches
Unlike native starches, modified starches do not need to be cooked to develop their properties. The transformed starches are cold-soluble. They are very handy for binding a cold sauce or salad dressing, or for giving viscosity or binder to a preparation.
Modified starch can be used as corn starch but does not require cooking. It is ideal for “catching up” with a cold sauce that is a bit too liquid.
It is also perfect for frozen fruit: rolling the frozen fruit in a little processed starch, this then prevents the fruit juice from sinking during thawing and the bottom of the pie does not soften.
The modified food starch also has the property of improving the water relation of the starch and thus the stability of the texture of the products in which it is incorporated. Thus, the incorporation of modified starch into a preparation makes it possible to avoid the release of water during a freeze / thaw cycle (syneresis).
The modified starch is odorless and neutral in taste, its addition does not change the flavor of a dish.