Which carbohydrates dissolve best?


#1

In order to improve the texture (ideally, eliminate the grittiness and silt entirely), I’m looking for carbohydrates that dissolve well in water. Has anybody found one that works well? Could we put together a list of carbs that dissolve well?


#2

Sugar dissolves quite well :sweat_smile:


#3

Problem with dissolving too well, is that you (probably, I haven’t tested this) get something like 1.1.


#4

Haha, yes I probably should have been more specific. But I’ll take it!

Maltodextrin is another good one.

And on my list of poorly dissolving options so far: oat flour, masa harina.


#5

I’m not so sure; although 1.1 was definitely thin, it still had the gritty/silty problem I’m wishing to avoid.

In fact (and this is just speculation as well) it seems reasonable to expect that ingredients which dissolve better would thicken the solution. When something dissolves, it doesn’t just vanish.


#6

Maltodextrin dissolves quite thoroughly, but doesn’t really thicken it. If you want some thickness, psyllium husk works great.


#7

Xanthan gum is a nice thickener that dissolves well. I added it to my 1.1.


#8

Actually, things that truly dissolve do mostly “vanish,” until they are a significant volume compared to the water - like sugar and salt.

Water has a very open structure, so small molecules can fit in between and not add to the total volume.

Things that readily change the viscosity or texture of the water are generally suspensions; they aren’t dissolved at all, and will tend to settle out over time. Some things form a matrix, like a gel (xanthan gun is an example fiber which does that), and will slow or prevent things from settling to the bottom - instead, they just settle where they are.


#9

There’s an inevitable tradeoff between solubility and glycemic index; complex carbs are generally less soluble and have a grittier texture. So you can have a smooth texture using maltodextrin, starch, sucrose, fructose, etc. but the GI will suffer. Or you can use masa harina, oat flour, etc. and have a lower GI with a thicker, grittier texture. The only exception to this rule that I am aware of is isomaltulose.


#10

I think it’s safer to say there’s a strong relationship, not an inevitable tradeoff… Simple things dissolve more readily than complex things, and simple things tend to be digested more easily than complex things, so they go together.

But there are lots of exceptions, beyond isomaltulose - for example, every item that we classify as ‘soluble fiber’ is a carb which is soluble but which results in a glycemic index of zero, because we can’t digest it at all.

It’s easy to forget that everything we call “fiber” is just carbs that we can’t digest.


#11

Fiber is nominally a carb, pointless for this discussion of calorie sources. Name a low glycemic caloric carbohydrate that does not cause gastrointestinal symptoms from being indigestible. The only one in mass production is isomaltulose. I would love to know of any others.


#12

Raffinose, sorbitol… also, the reason beans cause a lot of gas is the oligosaccharides they contain.

All three of these are sugars, all dissolve, and we can’t digest them.

Also, if you’re lactose intolerant, lactose is another example.

All of these are sugars with lower glycemic indexes than isomaltulose (because we don’t digest them at all…)


#13

This is all interesting and helpful. I suppose to narrow down what I’m looking for, I am indeed looking for a non-gritty carb that can be used as a calorie source (so if I’m following correctly, fibers would be ruled out for this purpose, although they could still be useful for improving texture).

@MentalNomad, my curiosity is also piqued by the suspensions you mention. Might it be possible to create a suspension that cloaks the grittiness of an otherwise gritty carb ingredient?

Another point I’m curious about is whether boiling the carbs before mixing them in, as has been discussed in some other threads for improving digestibility, might make them less gritty.


#14

I don’t know if you can mask true grit… but I suppose it will seem less gritty of you make the whole thing really thick.

Longer soaking helps for some things; given enough time, they may break down more. Boiling will probably make them softer, too. I haven’t played with it - luckily for me, I never minded the texture, even in my first very-high-oat-flour version.

Some people have noted that certain brands of the same masa harina result in very different levels of grittiness. You may want to include experimenting with recommended brands.


#15

But you can put an eyepatch on it.


#16

I would have to guess that boiling the carbs would start breaking them down and increase GI, also a big step to add. Gums like xanthan are commonly used to suspend particles, carrageenan is also ubiquitous in food products as it smooths out the texture of gritty protein.

I have literally spent hours doing research into this, the only carb that is widely available that has a low GI (like a complex carb) and dissolves to a uniform texture is isomaltulose. It is a veritable God Carb. Bow down.


#17

I’m pretty much at the same point… but buying in the bulk I do, it will be a while before I have an excuse to buy some to try… I have a lot of materials to burn up.