What is cornstarch anyway?
The scientific explanation of what cornstarch is a bit longwinded so I’ll just say here that it’s a by-product of the wet milling process in which corn is soaked in water and then processed to remove the starch. The starch is then dehydrated into powder form. It’s a pretty cool substance to play around with, as you may remember from this The Big Bang Theory episode:
Is it corn or is it wheat?
Cornstarch is traditionally made from maize but it’s also possible to put wheat grain through the same process to produce a similar product. Unfortunately this wheat derived starch is still called cornflour or cornstarch by manufacturers which gives some people the impression that it’s wheat-free. If you are gluten intolerant, please check the ingredients list. If the cornflour is maize based, then it’s fine to use for GF cooking.
Is Corn Flour and Cornflour the same thing?
The reason why I refer to cornflour as cornstarch, even though I’m Australian, is to avoid confusing it with corn flour, which is regular milled flour from maize. That flour is also called maize flour but it is not the same as cornflour which is cornstarch.
Confused? Let’s get on with checking out what uses there are for cornstarch!