You can use various thickeners for your baking and cooking needs. Of course, most of these are starch-based thickeners. They could come in the form rice starch, cornstarch, potato starch, corn flour, and arrowroot. Among these, my two favorites are cornflour and cornstarch.
But which is better? There is a constant debate in the cooking community about this. Both of these thickeners have their respective advantages and disadvantages. But these don't change the fact that they are both great to have in your kitchen.
However, for the purpose of this article, let us explore the pros and cons of these thickeners. After all, I do think that knowing their differences will help improve your cooking. Understanding is the first step to becoming proficient in the kitchen! Let’s examine the differences between these two.
- Tip: Do you also want to know the difference between corn flour and cornmeal? Then check out this little feature I made!
The Difference Between Corn Flour And Cornstarch
It is important to know that the flavor of these two thickeners isn’t the same. Corn flour has a notably weaker taste than cornstarch. Some other nuances also identify these thickeners from one another. In some British and Australian recipes, the term "cornflour" is used as a synonym of cornstarch, which adds to the confusion. For this reason, digging into specifics can help reach a higher level of understanding.
Corn Flour Characteristics
The corn flour is like the fiber-ground version of corn. Specifically, it is produced by milling the corn and breaking it apart. The remaining byproduct would be the endosperm which is in the form of tiny particles. Unlike other thickeners, however, flour is not a pure starch.
I learned this when one of my acquaintances (who is a baker) told me that I should not use a corn flour when preparing a polenta. She told me that the fine texture of the corn flour would ruin the creaminess of the dish.
Moreover, you have to know that corn flour is very different from wheat flour. It would be essential to note that if you want to make delicacies that are gluten free, the corn flour is the best choice. Cornflour has a high protein content and comes with traces of sugar and fat.
Because of these differences, you need to use more cornflour if you want to get the same thickening result as when you use cornstarch. The thickening of flour happens around 130 degrees Fahrenheit. It will escalate until 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook the flour for 30 minutes, otherwise it will give your sauce a distinctly unpleasant taste.
On the flipside, cornstarch is a thickener made from industrial corns. Specifically, the process of producing cornstarch requires comprehensive grinding, milling, and sifting. It also involves a centrifuge that separates the starch from other elements. Because of this, cornstarch becomes a pure thickener.
Because of its innate thickness, there is no need for you to add too much cornstarch for a given amount of liquid. This is the biggest distinction between corn flour and cornstarch. But to compensate, you will need to crank up your device to higher temperatures before the cornstarch thickens.
The starch will start to thicken around 145 degrees Fahrenheit. However, you won't realize its full potential until the heat goes up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher the temperature of the liquid, the faster the cornstarch will thicken. Approximately, it will only take around two minutes before the cornstarch arrives at its optimal texture.
I always use cornstarch when I have an unexpected visitor, and I need to prepare something quickly. Just pour the right amount of cornstarch, and it will thicken instantly. I just love the clearness of sauce that has been treated with cornstarch. This is the reason why I use cornstarch for fruit pie sauces and fillings.
However, I should mention that cornstarch doesn't freeze at all, so use it or lose it.
There is no winner between the matchup of corn flour vs. cornstarch. Both of these have specific applications where they perform well. As much as possible, I always pack my kitchen with these two ingredients. They aren't unhealthy, and they enhance the flavors in your food at a low cost.
Did you learn from this article? If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, just ask me in the comment section below! I’d love to hear from you.