Gelatin is a gelling agent well known to amateur and professional cooks and pastry chefs who commonly use it in all kinds of sweet and savory preparations. However, its use among novices raises many questions. Which gelatin to use? How to do it? How to use it properly? What to replace it with? We answer it in our complete guide on the subject!
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The Different Forms Of Gelatin
Gelatins From Different Origins
Gelatin is a gelling agent of animal origin, which gives consistency to foods. It is, therefore, widely used in pastry to strengthen creams and mousses and in cooking to prepare espumas, aspics, jellies, or terrines. More precisely, it is extracted from pork, beef, or fish’s skin, bones, or loins. Whatever its origin, it is a solid and translucent substance with a slightly yellow color and has neither taste nor odor.
Gelatins In Different Forms
Commercially, it is found in leaf or powder form. Supermarkets are more likely to offer gelatin in sheet form, which is relatively easy to use. Powdered gelatin is more easily found in specialized stores and requires a precision balance to measure it correctly. It is instead reserved for use by professionals or very enlightened amateurs.
Gelatins Of Different Intensities
The bloom is the unit of measurement for the intensity or “strength” of gelatin. So, the higher the gelatin blooms, the stronger the gel will be. When the recipe followed does not indicate the gelatin’s bloom level, we can assume that it is a gelatin with an intensity of 200 Blooms.
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Gelatin, Instructions For Use
Use Gelatin Sheets
To use sheet gelatin, you must:
- Start by rehydrating the gelatin by soaking the leaves in a large bowl of cold water for around ten minutes. If it’s boiling, you can place a few ice cubes in your container to prevent your gelatin from melting. If you must use several leaves in your preparation, place them in water one by one so they rehydrate correctly.
- Once your gelatin sheets have softened, you will need to drain them to avoid adding water to your preparation. To do this, you can simply wring them out in your previously well-washed hands. You can also place your gelatin sheets in a strainer and squeeze them out by tapping them with paper towels.
- Incorporate your gelatin into your preparation, mixing well. Your gelling preparation must have a temperature above 33°C for the gelatin to melt and incorporate correctly. But once the gelatin has been added, you should not bring your preparation to a boil because a temperature above 90°C inactivates the gelling power of the gelatin.
- Let your preparation set at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Use Powdered Gelatin
To use powdered gelatin, you will need:
- Using a precision scale, weigh the amount of gelatin you need in your preparation.
- Weaken it in multiple times its volume of cold water. For example, for 5g of powdered gelatin, you must add 30g of water to rehydrate it.
- Incorporate your dehydrated gelatin mass into your hot preparation, then set it at room temperature or in the refrigerator for the necessary time.
How To Measure Gelatin?
The Recipe Gives You The Number Of Sheets To Use
Most often, the recipe tells you how many gelatin sheets to use. As explained in the previous paragraph, you need to rehydrate the number of gelatin sheets indicated and incorporate them into your hot but not hot preparation.
The Recipe Gives You The Weight Of Gelatin To Use
Some recipes give you the weight of gelatin to incorporate into the preparation. This is the weight of gelatin before rehydration. Simply weigh your quantity of gelatin in sheets or powder using a precision balance (or refer to the previous paragraph to find out the weight of a gelatin sheet).
The Recipe Gives You The Mass Of Gelatin To Use
Specific recipes, generally addressed to professionals, express the quantity of gelatin to use in “gelatin mass.” This is the weight of gelatin rehydrated with six times its volume of water for powdered gelatin and 7g for 1g of sheet gelatin.
Your Recipe Indicates The Bloom Level Of The Gelatin
Exact recipes can go so far as to indicate the quantity of gelatin to use and the bloom level of the gelatin to use. If you do not have gelatin with the level of Blooms indicated in the recipe, simply do a calculation to adapt the amount of gelatin to use using the following formula:
(Weight requested x Bloom requested) / Bloom of your gelatin = weight to use
What To Replace Gelatin With?
Gelatin is very popular with cooks and pastry chefs because it forms soft gels that give recipes a pleasant texture that melts in the mouth and is difficult to replace. That said, if you no longer have gelatin or do not wish to use it, it is possible to use other gelling agents, such as agar-agar. It is a gelling agent of plant origin, which gives gels more brittle than gelatin. On average, there is 1g of agar-agar for 5g of gelatin. Unlike gelatin, agar-agar must be brought to a boil to be activated.
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