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UPDATE: Ultra Tex: Not Your Grandmother’s Tapioca

Tapioca typically brings to mind an old-fashioned dessert of sweet pearlescent pudding studded with starchy spheroids. But you probably eat tapioca just about every day without realizing it. 


Extracted from the root of the cassava plant, tapioca is cultivated in tropical areas worldwide, with a high concentration in Southeast Asia and South America.  It can be precooked or pregelatinized to make instant or cold-water-swelling starches and modified in accordance with FDA regulations, and is not known to be an allergen, making it a favored choice as a texturizing or stabilizing agent in specific food markets (especially gluten-free).

cassava root


Because it possesses high viscosity and clarity, a very bland, clean flavor profile, a high freeze/thaw rate and good mouth melt-away characteristics, tapioca exhibits the properties that are most desirable for a modified food starch. Therefore, tapioca starch can be found in many industrial food products, including frozen french fries, canned soups, processed cheeses, bakery fillings, dairy products, sauces and gravies. 


Although tapioca has been utilized for centuries in traditional cuisines, and prominently in industrialized food manufacturing, its qualities are also a boon to the modern creative chef.  Ultra-Tex 3 and Ultra-Tex 8 are great examples of tapioca-derived products that can be used in all sorts of fun gastronomic endeavors. 


Ultra-Tex 3 provides an exceptionally smooth, glossy texture for a wide range of instant food applications, while also imparting a rich creamy mouthfeel.  It’s excellent for producing ideal textural stability, even in cold temperatures or under refrigerated storage, and compared to conventional pregelitinized tapioca starches Ultra-Tex 3 boasts improved tolerance in heated and acidic conditions.  As soon as it comes into contact with hot or cold water, Ultra-Tex 3 develops viscosity and texture.  To aid its dispersion in the liquid, it’s a good idea to blend Ultra-Tex 3 with other dry ingredients (particularly sugar) or disperse it in oil before adding it to water or water-based ingredients such as fruit puree. 


cassava plant


Ultra-Tex 8 is ideal for use in sauces, pastry fillings, instant puddings, Bavarian creams, and cheese sauces, as it imparts a smooth, glossy texture and superior rich, creamy quality to these preparations.  Perfect for frozen or baked goods and useful in myriad neutral formulations where a smooth, short texture and clean flavor profile are desired, Ultra-Tex 8 as your go-to starch for such creations.

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