Modified Starches

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Food manufacturers have not been content with the starches available in nature, mainly because the consistency they create isn’t stable throughout the cycle of production, distribution, storage, and use by the consumer. They’ve therefore engineered a variety of starches that are more stable. Plant breeders have developed so-called “waxy” varieties of corn whose seeds contain little or no amylose and are nearly all amylopectin, which doesn’t form networks as readily as amylose. Waxy starches therefore make sauces and gels that resist congealing and separation into a firm solid phase and watery residue, a problem to which high-amylose starches are prone.