How To Make Starch From Corn? | Learn on Making Cornstarch

Are you looking for an easy and efficient way to make your own starch from corn? Making your own starch is not only a great way to save money, but it can also help you reduce the amount of processed foods in your diet. When made properly, homemade starch serves as a wonderful additive or thickening agent and can be used in all types of recipes. In this article, we’ll take a look at why making your own cornstarch might be the right choice for you – plus explore how to make starch from corn.

What is the cornstarch?

Corn starch, also known as maize starch or cornflour (British English), is a type of starch derived from the endosperm of corn (maize) grains. It is a versatile and easily modified food ingredient commonly used to thicken sauces or soups, as well as to produce corn syrup and other sugars. In addition to its culinary uses, corn starch finds various applications in industries such as adhesives, paper products, anti-sticking agents, and textile manufacturing. It can also be used in medical contexts to supply glucose to individuals with glycogen storage disease.

What are differences of cornstarch vs cornflour?

Corn flour is a yellow powder made from finely ground, dried corn, whereas cornstarch is a fine, white powder extracted from the starchy part of a corn kernel. These two substances may have different names depending on your location. While corn flour is typically used in a similar way to other types of flour, cornstarch is primarily employed as a thickening agent.

Different types of the cornstarch

There are various types of cornstarch available, including regular, waxy, and high-amylose corn. The proportion of amylose and amylopectin in corn varieties can vary significantly, ranging from less than 2% amylose in waxy corn to over 90% amylose in high-amylose corn (Owens, 2005). Waxy varieties, depending on the processing, may offer enhanced digestion in certain cattle and sheep diets (Huntington, 1997). It’s important not to confuse high-amylose corn with corn varieties that contain the alpha amylase enzyme, which have been evaluated in recent research on beef cattle with varying results (Jolly-Breithaupt et al., 2016).

How is cornstarch use?

Cornstarch is a versatile ingredient derived from the endosperm of corn kernels. Primarily utilized as a thickening agent in gravies, marinades, sauces, soups, and casseroles, it offers culinary benefits. However, it’s worth noting that while cornstarch finds applications beyond the kitchen, scientific studies may not support all these uses.

Benefits of using cornstarch in cooking

The benefits of using cornstarch in cooking
The benefits of using cornstarch in cooking

Cornstarch offers a range of benefits when used in cooking and baking. It excels at thickening, creating smooth textures, and remains neutral in taste. Additionally, it can enhance the texture of baked goods, resulting in lighter and more tender treats.

The ingredients required to make cornstarch are:

  • Dried corn
  • Blender or food processor
  • Water
  • Cheesecloth
  • Strainer
  • Bowls

How to make starch from corn?

To make starch from corn, follow these steps:

  • Remove the grains from the corn and wash them thoroughly. Soak the grains in water for 2-3 hours.
  • If the grains are hard, you can extend the soaking time.
  • Take half of the soaked grains and add about 1.5 cups of water in a grinding jar. Grind the mixture to a smooth consistency.
  • Repeat the grinding process with the remaining soaked grains. Strain the mixture through a strainer to remove any residue.
  • Allow the filtered part to sit for 2 hours.
  • After 2 hours, filter out the upper yellow layer, and you will see the white cornstarch layer at the bottom.
  • Spread the white part in a flat thali/plate and leave it in sunlight for 4 hours.
  • After 4 hours, gently scratch the cornstarch from the plate. The inner layer may still be wet.
  • Dry the cornstarch again in sunlight for 2 hours until it is completely dried.
  • Grind the dried cornstarch in a grinder to obtain a smooth flour. Your corn flour/cornstarch is now ready.

Can you make cornstarch without using corn?

You can't make cornstarch without using corn
You can’t make cornstarch without using corn

No, cornstarch can only be derived from cornmeal. It is made from the endosperm of corn kernels, which is exclusive to corn and cannot be obtained from other plants or grains. If you are seeking an alternative thickening agent, there are various options available, such as arrowroot, tapioca starch, potato starch, and more.

How to make cornstarch without corn?

Making cornstarch without corn is possible by using potato starch as a suitable substitute. Potatoes are crushed to extract their starch, which is then dried to form a powder. Similar to arrowroot, potato starch is gluten-free and has a neutral taste, ensuring it does not alter the flavor of your recipes. When substituting cornstarch with potato starch, maintain a 1:1 ratio. For instance, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, simply replace it with 1 tablespoon of potato starch. Additionally, it is recommended to add root or tuber starches towards the end of the cooking process, as advised by many seasoned cooks.

Can you freeze cornstarch?

When it comes to freezing cornstarch, the challenge lies in its contact with moisture during the freezing process. As previously mentioned, moisture is the culprit behind cornstarch spoilage. Therefore, if the goal is to prolong its shelf life, freezing is not the optimal choice. Instead, it is advisable to store cornstarch in a cool, dry location.

How to store cornstarch?

Ways to store cornstarch
Ways to store cornstarch

To store cornstarch properly, keep it in a cool, dry, and dark place, just like other grain-based ingredients such as wheat flour or quinoa. It is crucial to store it in a tightly sealed container to prevent attracting mice, insects, and other pests.

The common substitutes for cornstarch

Potato Starch

A favored substitute for cornstarch, potato starch is a light white powder extracted from crushed potatoes. It can be used as a one-to-one replacement in various applications, such as creating a thickening slurry for creamy Homemade Queso or giving tofu a light, crispy shell like in Saucy Tofu With Garam Masala.

Rice Flour

Rice flour is a good alternative to cornstarch when it comes to creating crispy and crunchy coatings for fried proteins., it may be a bit pricier compared to other substitutes. You can replace cornstarch with an equal amount of rice flour in recipes like Chicken Karaage or Harissa Honey Popcorn Chicken for the same satisfying crunch. Note that rice flour should be used cautiously as a thickening agent.

All-Purpose Flour

All-purpose flour is a reliable thickening agent for sauces, gravies, and stews. While it may not provide the same transparency as cornstarch, it offers a thicker texture. It can be suitable for substitution in situations where a roux is required or when a crispy crust is not necessary.

Tapioca Flour

Tapioca flour, extracted from cassava roots, is excellent for thickening puddings and sweet sauces as a substitute for cornstarch. Take care not to use too much tapioca flour, as it may create a gummy texture. Note that tapioca flour is distinct from cassava flour, which is more fibrous.

Arrowroot Powder

Arrowroot powder, derived from the roots of tropical plants, including cassava, can add lightness to gluten-free and vegan desserts. It can also serve as a substitute for cornstarch as a thickening agent, although it may be a bit more finicky.

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is commonly derived from cornstarch through a fermentation process, making it unsuitable for those with corn allergies. While it can function as a substitute, it is less likely to be found in a pantry compared to cornstarch.

FAQ: Make starch from corn

Can you make starch from corn at home?

To make starch from corn at home, you will need cornmeal. Simply incorporate it into your bowl, ensuring any excess water is removed.

What corn is used to make corn starch?

Corn starch, also known as maize starch or cornflour (British English), is derived from corn (maize) grain. It is obtained from the endosperm of the kernel. Corn starch is a frequently used food ingredient in various applications, such as thickening sauces or soups, and in the production of corn syrup and other sugars.

What happens if you make starch from corn too long?

If cornstarch is cooked for too long, it will result in an excessively thickened sauce, which can make it practically solid. Additionally, extended heating may not completely eliminate the taste of cornstarch, leading to an unpleasant flavor. In such cases, it is recommended to discard the mixture and start afresh.

How long to make starch from corn?

In the process of making starch from corn, the corn is soaked in hot water for 30 to 48 hours to break the starch and protein bonds. This soaking, known as steeping, occurs in a continuous counter-current process using a battery of large steeping tanks. Over this period, the gluten bonds within the corn gradually loosen, allowing for the release of starch. It’s important to note that steeping is actually a controlled fermentation.

What temperature to make starch from corn?

The process of starch gelatinization, where cornstarch granules absorb water and swell, requires heat at approximately 203°F. If the cornstarch is not heated to this temperature, the mixture will not thicken.

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