Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hydrocolloids- Gelatin

Gelatin may be the most common of the hydrocolloids. It is a protein derived from the collagen and connective tissue of animals. Gelatin can usually be found in 2 different forms; powdered or leaf. Gels made using gelatin are characterized by there transparent appearance and are also thermoreversible. Gelatin forms a soft elastic gel that gives a melt in your mouth feeling. When using gelatin as your main gelling agent you have to take into consideration the bloom strength of the gelatin (the gelling strength). Most leaf gelatins are classified by their bloom strength and given names; Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Bronze being the weakest and Platinum being the strongest. Gelatin is a very useful hydrocolloid because it can be used synergistically with other gelling agents to give a variety of different textures and properties. To use gelatin you must first hydrate or bloom your gelatin in cold water. I usually throw in a couple ice cubes as well. After a few minutes the gelatin leaf will become elastic and soft. To add your gelatin to your mix you must heat a small portion of the mix and dissolve your bloomed gelatin leaf in the heated mixture. You can then add your heated gelatin mix to your original mix and leave to set. Gelatin is a very versatile hydrocolloid with many uses in the kitchen. It is one of my favorite gelling agents because of its ease of use, the soft elastic texture it gives to your product, and the fact it can be used in conjunction with other gelling agents to form a variety of different textures.

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