As kids, we probably all remember making and eating Jello. It was colorful, jiggly and just plain fun!
In the pastry world, unflavored gelatin is a staple. The task of making many of our favorite sweets would be much more difficult without it. Whether preparing mousses, Bavarian cream or panna cotta, gelatin is the gold standard for properly setting those desserts.
Powdered, Sheets and Bloom Rate
Gelatin is available in both powdered form and sheets. The sheets are available in gold, silver and bronze strengths, also referred to as bloom rate. The bloom rate of powdered gelatin can vary between manufacturers. So, while bloom rates can vary; basically, the higher the number, the firmer the final product will be. Generally speaking, the bloom rate of gold sheets and powdered gelatin is approximately 200.
To bloom powdered gelatin, it must be hydrated with 5 times the weight of the amount of gelatin used. For example, 5 grams of gelatin would require 25 grams of liquid for proper hydration.
When blooming gelatin sheets, soak in cold water until softened, about 5-10 minutes and then squeeze out excess water.
Substituting One for the Other
If a recipe calls for gelatin sheets, but all you have is powdered, you can easily interchange the two by using the weight in grams. If a recipe calls for a gold sheet, which usually weighs two grams, use two grams of powdered gelatin instead.
Since gelatin is made from animal collagen, it is not used in vegetarian or vegan recipes. Agar Agar, a red seaweed based product, can be substituted 1:1 for gelatin in most recipes.