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Information about cornflour and cornflour recipe collection




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Although there's not that much to say about Cornflour in terms of history etc., we feel this ingredient still merits a page of its own due to its  unique properties in cooking.


Cornflour, also known as cornstarch,  is the starch which has been extracted from maize (Indian corn). Used primarily as a thickening agent, among its qualities are that its easy to use, tasteless and contains no wheat or gluten.




When purchased, cornflour is usually a fine white, powder although is is also available with a yellowish tinge to it. However, don't confuse cornflour with the finely ground "cornmeal"  which I believe Americans call cornflour.


Cornflour is milled from maize (corn) from which the outer hull, germ and gluten are removed. The corn wet milling process separates corn into its four basic components: starch, germ, fibre and protein.


There are primarily four processing steps necessary to obtain cornflour:-


1. The corn is soaked for 30 to 40 hours which starts the process of breaking the starch and protein bonds.


2. The resultant mixture is coarsely ground  to separate the germ from the rest of the kernel.


3. The remaining slush is then finely ground and  separated into fibre, starch and protein.


4. The starch is further screened in hydro cyclones (machinery which works on a centrifuge basis)  after which it is dried.


Cornflour in Cooking 


Unlike most other flours, cornflour blends to a smooth cream or slurry when combined with cold liquid. It therefore cuts the need for fats when used to make sauces and eliminates the hazard of lumps forming. Because it is tasteless, it can be used in delicate sauces and recipes which call for a thickening agent although if a totally translucent effect is desired, then arrowroot would be a better ingredient to use. A couple of drawbacks are that it doesn't stand up to freezing or prolonged cooking.


Cornflour is also used, usually with other flours, in the making of cakes and baked goods,  either to create a lighter texture or  to maintain a gluten/wheat free status as well as in certain desserts/puddings in particular in fruit pie fillings.


When adding to liquids, always blend cornflour with a little cold liquid (any cold liquid will do be it wine, beer, water, stock etc., depending on what liquid is being used in the recipe) before adding to the remaining mixture. In general use twice as much cold liquid as cornflour and mix to a thin paste in a small cup or glass then stir into recipe to be thickened. Keep stirring gently until the mixture comes to the boil, by which time it will slightly clear and thicken. Avoid further cooking.  In general 1 tablespoon of cornflour will thicken between 240ml/8fl.oz and 480ml/16fl.oz. liquid depending on the recipe .


Always store cornflour in a cool, dry, dark place where it will last indefinitely.



Happy Cooking!



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