What is Tapioca Starch?
Tapioca starch, also commonly called tapioca flour, is a baking ingredient that is made from the roots of the cassava plant. The cassava is a plant native to South America that has some similarities to a potato. This starchy root became popular all over the world, particularly in nations like Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Tapioca starch has a significant amount of carbs and calories which makes it a favorite staple in tropical countries for use in bread and other baked goods. When tapioca starch is cooked, it can be used as a flour substitute. This nut-free, grain-free powder is also a popular choice for vegetarians and those with gluten intolerance. Tapioca starch is made from the starchy part of the cassava root which is extracted why washing and pulping the plant. When the pulp is squeezed, a starchy liquid comes out and as the water evaporates, the dry tapioca starch remains.
What is Tapioca Starch Used For?
Tapioca starch is a popular ingredient used in gluten-free baking recipes. It can also be used to help thicken liquid-based foods like soups or puddings. The starch maintains its consistency when frozen so that items like pudding are still thick and delicious after they thaw. Tapioca starch is also used in baking to make chewy, fluffy, and crisp items without the use of gluten. You can use it as a substitute for white and wheat flour to make anything from bread and brownies to waffles and pie crust. It's important to use the right amount of tapioca starch when baking to make sure that it produces the right texture. Tapioca starch is added to boba tea in the tapioca pearls to give them a chewy texture, too.
Tapioca Starch vs Flour
Many brands use the terms tapioca starch and tapioca flour interchangeably. Overall, there is not much difference between the two products, and it usually comes down to how the manufacturer chooses to label the product. In the United States, most brands use the term tapioca flour, while the term tapioca starch is more common in Asia. Whichever name it has, tapioca starch or flour is a wonderful substitute for traditional white flour and is a great addition to gluten-free recipes.