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How-To

'Blooming' Gelatin

Fine Cooking Issue 61
Photos: Scott Phillips
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Gelatin isn’t an everyday ingredient, but learning to work with it can give you spectacular-looking desserts, like the glaze on a roulade. Gelatin is what gives that gorgeous sheen to the cake’s glaze.

Working with gelatin (a stabilizer derived from animal collagen) isn’t difficult, but before adding it to a recipe, it must be softened and then melted. For powdered gelatin, the softening process is also known as “blooming.” Follow the instructions in the photo captions.

2. Set the gelatin aside for a few minutes until it swells or “blooms” as it absorbs the liquid
3. Melt the gelatin either in a hot water bath or in a microwave (for about 10 seconds on high) until it becomes translucent. Use your fingers to check that all the granules have totally dissolved.

Gelatin tips

  • For every 2 tsp. powdered gelatin, use about 1/4 cup liquid for blooming.
  • One 1/4-oz. packet of Knox brand powdered gelatin contains about 2-1/4 tsp.
  • Always add softened gelatin to warm or hot mixtures; adding the gelatin to a cold mixture will make it firm up immediately, creating an unpleasant stringy or lumpy texture.
  • Although powdered gelatin is the form most widely used by home cooks, sheet gelatin is preferred by some pros. The sheets are standardized regardless of thickness or dimension, so two sheets equal 1 teaspoon Knox brand powder (other powder brands may differ in their gelling power). Soften sheet gelatin by soaking it in cold water for about 10 min. Squeeze it to drain excess liquid before you melt it  into the liquid ingredients in the recipe.

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