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Old 05-16-2012, 04:14 AM
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Best way to thicken packet-mix ranch?

Awhile back I discovered the sheer deliciousness that is old-fashioned Hidden Valley ranch dressing. Quite simply, there isn't a bottled ranch on the market that matches up to the flavor of mixing it up at home with buttermilk and mayonnaise. (I add some garlic powder in too for an extra kick.)

The only flaw is that, compared to bottled dressings, it always comes out too thin. The packet claims it thickens in the fridge, but i've never been able to get any to come out with a consistency other than "congealed milk", and all the ways I know of thickening a sauce involve heating it, which I assume would probably ruin the pure deliciousness.

Anyone out there know a way to make this stuff thicker?
Old 05-16-2012, 04:22 AM
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This article mentions using yogurt and sour cream to thicken. If you try it then report back and let us know if it works.
http://discusscooking.com/forums...g-69364-2.html

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-16-2012 at 04:23 AM.
Old 05-16-2012, 05:24 AM
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Xanthan gum is the most popular salad dressing thickener. You can buy it at Whole Foods, health food shops or online. Add while blending, 1/8th of a tsp at a time until you get the desired consistency. You should only need about 0.5% max to thicken so a little bit goes a long way.
Old 05-16-2012, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shalmanese View Post
Xanthan gum is the most popular salad dressing thickener. You can buy it at Whole Foods, health food shops or online. Add while blending, 1/8th of a tsp at a time until you get the desired consistency. You should only need about 0.5% max to thicken so a little bit goes a long way.
That's what I was going to say. Xanthan gum is your friend in this situation.

Heating the dressing on its own would probably do nothing; milk does not thicken very much without some sort of thickener added, and if you're going to add a thickener, why not add something (like Xanthan gum!) that doesn't involve heating to activate.
Old 05-16-2012, 08:27 AM
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Since the question's been answered (change your mayo/sour cream/yogurt/milk ratio, or use xanthan gum), I'll just share this: http://food.com/recipe/ranch-dre...ning-mix-47249

If you go through as much ranch dressing as this household does, that recipe can save you a lot of money. Plus you can fiddle with the proportions of spices and customize it to your taste. If you like your dressing thick, ignore her 1 cup mayo to 1 cup milk ratio - start with the mayo (actually, I use a mix of one part mayo, one part lowfat Hellman's mayo and 2 parts nonfat greek yogurt) and the powder mix, and then add milk while whisking it until you get to the consistency you like.

Last edited by WhyNot; 05-16-2012 at 08:27 AM.
Old 05-16-2012, 09:22 AM
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Leave it out, uncovered and unrefrigerated, overnight. Repeat as needed.
Old 05-16-2012, 10:55 AM
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Mix it with some Ranch Dressing.
Old 05-16-2012, 11:19 AM
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Try 1 packet unflavored gelatin proofed with 2 tbls water per 2 qts of dressing.

You may have to experiment with the proportions so you don't wind up with "Ranch Jello"
Old 05-16-2012, 05:33 PM
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Xantham gum sounds like the way to go. The store I work at sells xantham gum in bulk, so next time I need ranch dressing i'll pick up a teaspoon or so and give it a shot.
Old 05-16-2012, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
Xantham gum sounds like the way to go. The store I work at sells xantham gum in bulk, so next time I need ranch dressing i'll pick up a teaspoon or so and give it a shot.
Perfect. Xantham gum goes far, but is fairly expensive in a pound bag, which is how I have seen it around here.

Really, just a teeny tiny bit. It thickens far more than the flour or cornstarch you're probably used to.
Old 05-17-2012, 01:30 AM
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My PERSONAL preference is to forgo the mayo and buttermilk altogether and just dump a packet into a 16oz tub of sour cream (as high fat as you are comfortable with.)

BTW the best BOTTLED ranch I've ever come across to date is Paul Newman's.
Old 05-17-2012, 05:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
Since the question's been answered (change your mayo/sour cream/yogurt/milk ratio, or use xanthan gum), I'll just share this: http://food.com/recipe/ranch-dre...ning-mix-47249

If you go through as much ranch dressing as this household does, that recipe can save you a lot of money. Plus you can fiddle with the proportions of spices and customize it to your taste. If you like your dressing thick, ignore her 1 cup mayo to 1 cup milk ratio - start with the mayo (actually, I use a mix of one part mayo, one part lowfat Hellman's mayo and 2 parts nonfat greek yogurt) and the powder mix, and then add milk while whisking it until you get to the consistency you like.
I'm gonna have to try that one. I prefer using sour cream in place of some or all of the milk in the brand name version, so I'll make this version according to recipe the first time (leaving out the pepper), and then fiddle. My first impulse is to add more dill, but then, I love dill and I put it on a lot of veggies.

I like ranch dressing on a lot of veggies, not just salads.
Old 05-17-2012, 08:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
I'm gonna have to try that one. I prefer using sour cream in place of some or all of the milk in the brand name version, so I'll make this version according to recipe the first time (leaving out the pepper), and then fiddle. My first impulse is to add more dill, but then, I love dill and I put it on a lot of veggies.

I like ranch dressing on a lot of veggies, not just salads.
I long ago stopped actually measuring when I make up a batch of the stuff, but I think I probably do go a little more heavy on the dill, too.

I've been experimenting with another variation: I thin it out fairly thin with more milk, and add some lemon juice and a bit of sugar. I was attempting to copycat Sweet Tomatoes' in-house ranch, and failed, but it's a tasty variation nonetheless. And since there's so much more milk than gloppy stuff, it really cuts down on the calorie/fat load.
Old 05-17-2012, 01:46 PM
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Adding a spoonful of nonfat "mayo" is an easy way to thicken up runny homemade dressing. That stuff seems to be pumped full of thickeners.
Old 05-17-2012, 10:43 PM
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Just use less liquid?
Old 05-18-2012, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by rowrrbazzle View Post
Just use less liquid?
Shh! Don't make it easy for them.
Old 05-18-2012, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by rowrrbazzle View Post
Just use less liquid?
From a packet? Too salty if there's not enough dairyish carrier.
Old 05-18-2012, 03:02 PM
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Use 2% or whole milk vs. 1% or skim milk.

Of course, it goes without saying (I hope) that this will increase the calories and fat.
Old 05-18-2012, 04:01 PM
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I keep seeing this thread and thinking "why on earth would you want to thicken it?" I love how the packet Ranch is runny-thin so it coats every leaf in creamy deliciousness.
Old 05-19-2012, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Sattua View Post
I keep seeing this thread and thinking "why on earth would you want to thicken it?" I love how the packet Ranch is runny-thin so it coats every leaf in creamy deliciousness.

Oh! It hadn't occurred to me people were looking to use it as a SALAD dressing.
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