Gelatin is derived from partially hydrolyzed collagen, which is a protein that is found in animal skin and bones. It is used as a thickening agent in many different desserts that are normally served cold. These desserts include jellies, mousses, and other such popular delights. This article gives you the basic tips and techniques that you will need to know when using gelatin in making gelatin desserts.
1. Types of Gelatin
Gelatin can commonly be found in two forms, namely powdered or granulated gelatin and sheet or leaf gelatin. Both of these different forms of gelatins can be substituted into each other in a recipe, weight for weight. Granulated gelatin, as the name mentions, is found in the form of small granules. Sheet gelatin is in the form of thin, transparent gelatin sheets. Sheet gelatin is more popularly used than granulated gelatin, though it is the more expensive.
2. Preparing the Gelatin
Before using any type of gelatin, it is necessary to let them sit in cold water first for several minutes. This is in order to let the gelatin molecules be separated so that they do not clump together later on when placed in a warm liquid, and this process is commonly called the ‘blooming’.
When using granulated gelatin, let it sit in about four time its weight in cold water. After it has bloomed, which may take five or ten minutes, you will notice the water will have been absorbed and the granulated gelatin will appear to have expanded in size. Then you need to melt the gelatin over a double boiler. It is important to use a double boiler, as you should never bring it to a boil or the gelatin will scorch.
When using sheet gelatin, separate the sheets and let them sit in a large bowl of cold water. They may take longer to bloom, so make sure you soak them in the cold water until they are very soft. After they have bloomed, squeeze out all the water, and then place them into your warm liquid.
It is not necessary to melt the sheet gelatin beforehand like you do for the granulated gelatin, as the sheet gelatin melts much more easily.
It is important to make sure all your molds and other equipment are prepared beforehand. You don’t want your mixture to set while you are busy getting out the mold and pans.
As mentioned before, gelatin is derived from protein. It is important that you be careful of using certain fruits that contain the enzyme protease, which is a protein cutting enzyme. If your gelatin comes into contact with this enzyme, its molecules will be cut down until they are far too small for your mixture to set.
Fruits which contain this enzyme include the kiwi, pineapple, papaya, pawpaw, and figs. When using such fruits, it is important that they are cooked or canned, as this will cause the enzymes to be denatured and thus rendered inactive.
These are the basic tips and techniques which you need to know when making your gelatin dessert. If you follow these rules, then you’ll have to problem whipping up a jelly delight.