Corn flour and corn starch: Are they the same?
Posted: Mar 30, 2020
Those who love to spend time whipping up new dishes in the kitchen may have faced this conundrum while trying a new recipe: why do some dishes require corn flour and others mention corn starch? Aren’t they the same?
Corn Flour and Corn Starch are NOT the same…
Both corn flour and corn starch are made from corn. However, they differ from each other quite significantly.
Corn flour is made by finely grinding whole kernels of corn. It contains all the nutrients that the kernel has, since it is made from the whole kernel. Thus, it contains starch, protein, iron, potassium, vitamins, magnesium, fibre and minerals, among other nutrients. It is yellowish in colour and fine to the touch. It is also slightly sweet to taste. Corn flour powder is often used like other flours in cooking, though most people use it as a thickening agent for gravies and sauces.
Corn starch is also a powder, but it is made using only the starchy portion of the corn kernel. The other parts containing the protein and fibre are discarded, while only the endosperm is retained to make the corn starch. It is often finer and whiter in colour than corn flour powder, and must be used only as a thickening agent. It contains significantly less nutrients than corn flour. It is quite bland and tasteless and is used more for its textural quality than the taste it imparts.
How to use Corn Flour
- Corn flour powder is often used like other flours in a recipe. Ideally, it should be mixed in warm or hot water to remove lumps. Corn starch may be mixed in cool or cold water since it forms a paste more easily.
- It is used most commonly in making waffles, cookies, biscuits, pancakes and pastries.
- It is sometimes used as a substitute for wheat flour, especially when cooking gluten-free dishes. It lacks gluten, which is important for adding elasticity to baked products. However, corn flour is better for baking gluten-free dishes, though the baked product might be crumblier and slightly denser.
- If the recipe requires a thickening agent for a gravy or sauce, then you should use corn starch instead. A pinch of corn starch is also added to baking recipes to prevent sugar from clumping during mixing, or to fried products to make the dish crispier.
- However, corn flour and corn starch are not interchangeable because of their different nutrient profiles. It is best to follow the recipe diligently to know which of them you are supposed to use.
Try Corn Flour Powder in your Cooking
Corn flour is a versatile ingredient that imparts sweetness and denseness to your recipes. It can be used for a variety of dishes, from meringue pies to stuffed vegetables. We recommend keeping a box of this powder in your pantry to use whenever needed. It is especially recommended for those with gluten allergies.
Seal it in an airtight container after opening the box.
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