{Introduction to Pastry} – Gelatin – Despre gelatina

 

gelatin sheets

Gelatin is part of a pastry chef’s life as much as sugar, chocolate or vanilla are, especially when you’re making entremets or creams that require a stabilizer. Gelatin is used in many confectionary products, from the very simple marshmallows to jelly bears, gum paste, mousse, cremeux or stabilized whipped cream. It can also be found in many other products, as a food additive – E441 is its code on a product’s label. Yogurt, sour cream or sorbet are just a few of the products that often use gelatin as a way of making the consistency smoother, creamier.

Gelatin is translucent, comes in a dried form and it doesn’t have a particular color or odour. The process of making gelatin is not that complex, but it can take up to a few weeks, depending on the strength of the final product – pork and cattle bones are processed to extract collagen, but this also means that vegans or vegetarians can’t eat gelatin. They have a few alternatives, such as: agar agar which is derived from a seaweed, pectin, extracted from apples or citrus, or guar gums, derived from various beans.

Gelatin comes in two forms:

  • granulated gelatin – also knows as powdered gelatin, it can be found in small (or larger) packages and you simply weight it when using it.
  • sheet or leaf gelatin – it is found in 2g sheets and it has a milder color and taste compared to granulated gelatin, although it is also more expensive.

How to Use Gelatin

After being weighted down, gelatin – both granulated and leaf – needs to be bloomed. The rules are as follows:

  • Always use cold water (or a similar liquid, such as milk or fruit juice, except kiwi, papaya and pineapple juice – these three have certain enzymes that destroy gelatin)
  • 10 minutes is the average blooming time – often, a short blooming time doesn’t allow the gelatin to bloom properly, therefore it won’t melt evenly and you might end up with a mousse that has a grainy texture or a cream that doesn’t set.
  • Once bloomed, gelatin must be melted at about 60C – powdered gelatin absorbs liquid and it’s melted in the water/liquid it’s been bloomed into, while leaf gelatin is squeeze out of water and used in a warm liquid/cream.
  • Gelatin doesn’t set right away and it needs a chilled environment in order to set – usually it takes a few hours for the gelatin to set properly which is why I always say leave the cake in the fridge overnight!
  • Don’t boil gelatin as it might destroy its bloom/gelling power.
  • Keep in mind that acidic mixtures can reduce the gelling power of gelatin.
  • Salt reduces the gelling power, but milk or cream enhance the bloom.
  • To find out how much liquid is needed to bloom the gelatin, all you need to do is multiply the gelatin quantity with 5. For example: to bloom 5g of gelatin, 25ml cold water are needed.

How To Clasify Gelatin

Gelatin is classified by its bloom or better said its gelling power. Gelatin bloom ranges between 125 and 265 and it is being set by a scientific test called simply bloom. The higher the bloom of a gelatin, the higher its gelling powder – in other words, the higher the bloom, the smaller the quantity needed to set your product. The Bloom is crucial in professional kitchens, not so much in households – for that reason, the gelatin packages found in supermarkets don’t have any information on how high the bloom is, but rumors has it that this kind of gelatin has between 200 and 250 bloom power.

Taking the bloom into consideration, gelatin is classified into:

  • Bronze gelatin – with a bloom of 125-155
  • Silver gelatin – with a bloom of 160
  • Gold gelatin – with a bloom of 190-220
  • Platinum gelatin – with a bloom of 220-265

However, the strength of gelatin depends on brand. For instance, Knox brand has a bloom of 225, while Dr. Oetker has a bloom of 250.

Converting between certain types of gelatin is difficult because there’s so many things to keep in mind when doing the conversion, therefore any formula known so far only give an approximation. The best way to use the right gelatin is to just buy the specified bloom, although do keep in mind that the higher the bloom, the less quantity of gelatin is needed to set the same amount of liquid.

If different bloom gelatin can’t really be substituted, not the same can be said about powdered and leaf gelatin. They can be substituted weight by weight without problems so if a recipe calls for leaf gelatin and you only have granulated, just use it without worries.

Interesting enough, gelatin is reversible – once it has set, the gelatin can be heated back up slightly until it melts then placed back in a cold environment to set. This process can be done several times if the product you are re-heating allows it. Also, gelatin is said to never spoil – certain manufacturers claim that the expiration date found on packages it has to do with the degradation of the package and not the gelatin found inside.

When it comes to gelatin, I’ve always said that less is more, therefore I avoid adding too much gelatin to desserts simply because I don’t like the texture of a mousse if it’s set too much or a cremeux that become a jelly. As a rule, keep in mind that 1 sheet of gelatin – 2g –  will set 100 ml of liquid into a soft texture that can be turned upside down on a plate. The same amount of gelatin can set 125ml of liquid into a wobbly consistency that needs to be eaten with a spoon from a glass. But this only applies to liquids – when it comes to a mousse I prefer to reduce it to half because we’re not talking about a liquid anymore, but also because cream enhances the bloom of gelatin (unless it’s an acidic mousse such as berry or lemon – acids reduce the properties of gelatin, therefore more gelatin is needed to get the desired effects).


 ROMANIAN

Gelatina face parte din viata unui cofetar asa cum fac parte si zaharul, ciocolata si vanilia, in special cand vorbim de creme, mousse-uri sau entremets. Gelatina este un ingredient folosit intr-o varietate de deserturi sau alte produse, precum bezele moi, ursuleti de jeleu, pasta de zahar, mousse, cremeux ori frisca batuta, dar si iaurturi sau alte produse care necesita un agent stabilizator (E441 este codul gelatinei pe etichetele produselor).

Gelatina este translucida, uscata si nu are culoare ori vreun gust pronuntat. Procesul de fabricare a gelatinei nu este extrem de complex, insa poate dura chiar si cateva saptamani, in functie de cat de puternica este gelatina finala – oase de porc sau vita sunt procesate pentru a extrage o cantitate cat mai mare de colagen, ceea ce inseamna ca veganii sau vegetarienii nu pot consuma gelatina. Pentru ei exista cateva alternative, incepand cu agar agar, un derivat din alge de mare, pectina, ce provine din mere sau citrice sau guma guar, derivata din tot felul de boabe.

Gelatina se gaseste sub doua forme:

  • gelatina granulata sau pudra – se gaseste in pachetele mici in mai toate magazinele ori supermarketurile.
  • gelatina foi – se gaseste in foi ce cantaresc de obicei 2g si are un gust si o culoare mai putin intense in comparatie cu gelatina granule, dar este si mai scumpa.

Cum se foloseste gelatina

Dupa ce este cantarita, gelatina, atat cea granule, cat si cea foi, trebuie hidratata. Regulile sunt dupa cum urmeaza:

  • Cantitatea de lichid folosita pentru a hidratat gelatina (se aplica in special pentru gelatina granulr) se determina astfel: cantitatea de gelatina dorita se inmulteste cu 5. Asadar, pentru 5g gelatina granule, aveti nevoie de 25ml lichid.
  • Intotdeauna folositi apa (sau alt lichid) rece.
  • Puteti folosi aproape orice alt lichid pentru a hidratat gelatina, mai putin sucul proaspat de kiwi, papaya sau ananas – aceste fructe contin enzime care distrug gelatina si trebuie gatite inainte de a fi folosite. De asemenea, sunt de evitat lichidele acide pentru ca reduc eficacitatea gelatinei.
  • 10 minute e timpul necesar pentru a hidratat gelatina suficient de bine. Daca gelatina nu e hidratata suficient, nu se va topi cum trebuie si veti obtine o crema granuloasa, taiata sau una care nu se incheaga.
  • Odata hidratata, gelatina trebuie topita – gelatina granule/pudra va fi topita in lichidul in care a fost hidratata, in timp ce gelatina foi va fi scursa bine, abia poi topita.
  • Nu fierbeti gelatina niciodata pentru ca s-ar putea sa-i distrugeti proprietatile.
  • Gelatina nu se incheaga imediat si are nevoie de un mediu racoros pentru a se inchega – de aceea un tort sau mousse are nevoie de cel putin 8 ore la rece (abia dupa 24 ore gelatina inceteaza procesul de inchegare).
  • Mediile acide reduc proprietatile de inchegare ale gelatinei.
  • Sarea reduce si ea proprietatile gelatinei, in timp ce frisca sau laptele amplifica aceste proprietati.

Cum se clasifica gelatina

Gelatina se clasifica in functie de puterea ei de gelificare, numita bloom in engleza (nu cred sa existe termen perfect trauds la noi, ma gandesc sa-i spun concentratie). Bloom-ul gelatinei urca de la 125 la 265 si este stabilit printr-un test stiintific. Cu cat bloom-ul e mai mare, cu atat puterea de gelificare a gelatinei e mai mare si e nevoie de o cantitate mai mica. In bucatariile profesionale, bloom-ul esteimportante de stiut, insa in cele de acasa nu are o importanta asa de mare. De fapt, gelatina gasita in supermarketuri nici nu are trecuta aceasta informatie pe pachet – ca idee generala, gelatina gasita in pachetele mici in magazinele mari sau mici are un bloom de 200-250.

In functie de bloom – putere de gelificare – gelatina se clasifica in:

  • Gelatina Bronze – cu un bloom de 125-155
  • Gelatina Silver – cu un bloom de 160
  • Gelatina Gold – cu un bloom de 160-220
  • Gelatina Platinum – cu un bloom de 220-265

Cu toate acestea, e doar o clasificare generalista, intrucat puterea de gelificare a unei gelatine depinde de brand. Eu folosesc gelatina Dr. Oetker care, din ce inteleg, are un bloom de 250, adica e gelatina Platinum. Daca voi folositi alt brand de gelatina, e posibil sa nu va iasa cremele mele cum trebuie din simplul motiv ca gelatina ar putea avea o concentratie/bloom diferita si nu se va inchega la fel.

Conversia intre diferite tipuri de gelatina care au o concentratie diferita e destul de greu de facut – formulele gasite pana acum de diversi cofetari sau patiseri nu dau rezultate chiar exacte, de aceea e recomandat sa cumparati gelatina in concentratia ceruta de reteta de la bun inceput.

Ca fapt divers, gelatina este considerata reversibila – asta inseamna ca, odata inchegata, poate fi topita si inchegata din nou. Acest proces poate fi repetat de cateva ori atata timp cat produsul pe care il reincalziti suporta asta (un mousse de exemplu se distruge prin incalzire, dar un cremeux poate fi usor reincalzit fara probleme). De asemenea, producatorii sustin ca gelatina nu expira niciodata si ca data trecuta pe pachet se refera mai degraba la degradarea ambalajului si nu la continutul acestuia.

Intodeauna am crezut ca atunci cand vine vorba de gelatina, mai putin e mai bine. Prea multa gelatina intr-o reteta ditruge textura – practic orice crema ai avea, daca ii adaugi gelatina in exces, devine jeleu. Ca o regula, tineti minte ca 2g gelatina sunt suficiente pentru a inchega 100ml lichid astfel incat sa poata fi intors cu susul in jos pe o farfurie, dar daca crestem cantitatea de lichid la 125ml, nu veti mai putea intoarce desertul pe o farfurie, va trebui mancat din pahar. Aceasta regula e valabila doar pentru lichide. Pentru creme (mousse, cremeux, bavarois) eu reduc cantitatea de gelatina aproximativ la jumatate din doua motive: unul, nu mai vorbim de un lichid aici, ci de o crema aerata, mai groasa si doi, frisca si lactatele in general potenteaza procesul de gelificare (mai putin in cazul in care vorbim de un mousse sau crema acide – acidul reduce proprietatile gelatine, asadar este nevoie de mai multa pentru a obtine efectul scontat – ma refer aici la creme precum mousse de fructe de padure sau de lamaie). As vrea sa inchei acest articol cu un apel catre toti cei care posteaza retete pe bloguri, youtube sau oriunde alt undeva: va rog, nu mai postati retete gresite, nu mai folositi gelatina in cantitati greu de imaginat, nu dati mai departe astfel de retete – rolul vostru este de a educa publicul printre altele, dar asta nu se poate face decat daca va educati pe voi inainte. Cititi, invatati, nu publicati retete la ochi si nu va mai simtiti atacati atunci cand cineva va atrage atentia asupra vreunei greseli in reteta!

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  1. Foarte utila informatia si mai astept si altele.
    Cred ca esti singura si in sfarsit cineva ia atitudine.BRAVO!
    Cei care posteaza astfel de retete cred ca se elimina singuri.Cele mai de succes blog uri sant,cred,ale celor care au retete testate,care citesc,invata cum ai zis si tu,care au facut cursuri de specialitate si care si inteleg procesele din acest minunat domeniu.

  2. felicitari pentru articol! Si eu am observat ca foarte multa lume nu stie sa foloseasca gelatina. Atentie si la ghimbir! Si el distruge gelatina, dar daca este incalzit (infuzat ) inainte se inactiveaza enzimele si se poate folosi.:-)