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Corn starch, cornstarch, cornflour or maize starch is the starch derived from the corn (maize) grain. The starch is obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel. Corn starch is a popular food ingredient used in thickening sauces or soups, and is used in making corn syrup and other sugars. 
Until 1850, corn starch was used primarily for starching laundry and industrial uses.
Corn starch is used as a thickening agent in liquid-based foods (e.g., soup, sauces, gravies, custard); it is mixed-in with a lower-temperature liquid to form a paste or a slurry. It is sometimes preferred over flour because it forms a translucent mixture, rather than an opaque one. As the starch is heated, the molecular chains unravel, allowing them to collide with other starch chains to form a mesh, thickening the liquid (Starch gelatinization).
It is usually included as an anti-caking agent in powdered sugar (10X or confectioner's sugar). Baby powders often includes cornstarch among its ingredients. Heated corn starch raises the blood glucose levels even faster than sugar, and like pure sugar, white bread and potatoes, it easily leads to excessive weight gain.
Corn starch can also be used to manufacture bioplastics.
The corn is steeped for 30 to 48 hours, which ferments it slightly. The germ is separated from the endosperm and those two components are ground separately (still soaked). Next the starch is removed from each by washing. The starch is separated from the corn steep liquor, the cereal germ, the fibers and the corn gluten mostly in hydrocyclones and centrifuges, and then dried. (The residue from every stage is used in animal feed and to make corn oil or other applications.) This process is called wet milling. Finally, the starch may be modified for specific purposes.
Names and varieties
- Called corn starch in the United States and Canada.
- Called cornflour in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Israel and some Commonwealth countries. Not to be confused with cornmeal.
- Often called maizena in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Finland, Austria, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Norway, Denmark, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, South Africa, Latin America, and Indonesia, after the brand.
- Amylomaize, high amylose starch
- Bird's Custard, the English custard based on cornstarch, invented in 1837
- Waxy corn, waxy maize starch
- Corn syrup
- Corn ethanol
- Modified starch
- Potato starch
- Tapioca starch
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- Ragnar Hanas Type 2 Diabetes in Adults of All Ages p.45
- Richard W. Wrangham Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, pp.60-1
- "Ingredient Substitution". JoyofBaking.com. 2007-09-11. Retrieved 2011-06-12.
- "International Starch: Production of corn starch". Starch.dk. Retrieved 2011-06-12.
- "Maizena". Maizena marca registrada. Retrieved 2013-17-04.