In honor of Potato Chip Day today, (yes, it really is a holiday!) we’re going to discuss potato starch today. If you’ve been reading labels to avoid gluten, you may have noticed that many ingredient lists include potato starch. While a potato is familiar to most people, they may not realize exactly what potato starch is, how it’s extracted, or what it’s used for in their favorite commercialized gluten-free foods. Today, we’re going to unveil that mystery and provide a list of our recipes that include it.
Potatoes contain starch grains. By crushing the potato’s cells, the starch is freed. It’s collected and dried. This is the starch that you buy and use in many recipes. Potato starch is neutral in flavor and hardly has any protein in it (as opposed to eating a fresh potato, which contains about 2 grams).
While the exact date potato starch was discovered is unknown, ancient Andrean Indians left evidence of smashing the tubers to a pulp, soaking them in a jug, and filtering out almidón de papa (potato starch). They used it similarly as our modern society does, in baked goods and to thicken stews, soups, and sauces. (Keep in mind that any meals made with it need to be served quickly because potato starch doesn’t hold its texture as well as flour or corn starch.) Potato starch works alongside yeast to further swell dough as it bakes. It’s also used in egg replacers, and can be an alternative to corn starch or arrowroot powder.
Here is a short list of recipes we offer here on gluten-free-bread.org that contain potato starch:
Be sure to let us know what you think if you try any of them out or have in the past. What recipes do you use potato starch for? Please tell us in the comments below!