Gelatine & How to Use it

This post is in reply to the question posted by reinolf: 

What is the recipe for a gelatine solution, and how you use it in a recipe then?

What is Gelatine?
Gelatin/Gelatine is a translucent, colorless, brittle (when dry), flavorless foodstuff derived from collagen which is obtained from various animal products like skin, cartilage, and bones. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography & cosmetic manufacturing.
It is available in sheet, granules or powder form. It helps us stabilize, thicken or texturize our creations.
So, the properties of a gelatine can be summoned as:

  1. Gelation.
  2. Binding of water.
  3. Formation of textures in applications.
  4. Thickening agent.
  5. Formation & stabilization of emulsion (as in a mousse).
  6. Formation & stabilization of foam.


Kinds of Gelatine:
Gelatine can be classified on the basis of how its extracted (Type A.B…their molecular weight etc.). For us, what is important is the ability or the strength of the gelatine.
‘Bloom Value’ determines the gelling power(The measurement of firmness of a standard gel under precisely determined conditions). The ‘Bloom Value’ ranges between 80-280. So, when we prepare desserts we should pick & stay consistent to the bloom strength of the gelatine. “Using/changing gelatine without knowing its bloom strength/value is not a good idea”. This will affect the texture of your desserts.
Gelatine is also available as:

                              Bloom Value
Bronze:            125-155
Silver:               160-190
Gold:                 190-220
Platinum:       225-265

Working with Gelatine:

  1. Once again make sure you know the bloom value of the Gelatine. Higher the bloom value, stronger the gel formation.
  2. To activate gelatine it has to be soaked in cold water (bloomed) & melted (dissolved) into the application.
  3. To melt gelatine, heat this gelatine solution to 60°c & add it to the application or add it to a hot application at around 60°c. Stir to make sure its well dissolved & melted.

Note: It is best to WEIGH the water as well as the gelatine. That way, one is sure of how much water is going into your recipe.I have seen sheets being soaked in a bowl with a lot of cold water & then the sheets are taken out & put into an application. This is not the best way as the rate of hydration is inconsistent every time & a different quantity of water is entering your recipe affecting the texture of your dessert.

A good idea would be to soak your gelatine in 5-6 times its weight in cold water for large production one can refrigerate this gelatine solution. It’s then good for 3-4 days. You can take this gelatine solution & use it in any recipe that needs gelatine.

For e.g.:If I use 180 bloom value (Silver) gelatine, I would take 100 gm. gelatine powder/sheet and 500 gm. cold water, mix the two & refrigerate it.If my recipe asks for 5 gm. of gelatine, I would take 30 gm. of this gelatine solution from the refrigerator & use. (5 gm. of gelatine & 25 gm. of water).
For, higher bloom value gelatine (Gold, Platinum) dissolve the gelatine in 6 times its weight in water.

Keep in mind:

  • Heat, acidity & enzymes affect the gelling ability of gelatin.
  • Do not boil the gelatine.
  • The enzymes in some fruits like Papaya, Kiwi, and Pineapple etc. may affect the gelling ability. Heat these purees before adding the gelatine.
  • Check the bloom value of the gelatine before substituting.
  • Check with your supplier for specific info & product specification sheets.

Next post:        Mysteries of the Macaroon.