How to create jelly textures in pastry-making?

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To create jelly textures in pastry, it is important to ask yourself some questions beforehand: What kind of jelly consistency do you need for your production? Do you want a gelatine to be used hot or cold? Do you need to freeze the production? Also, if you are vegan, you will be interested in looking for substitutes for traditional gelatine, as this comes from animal origin.

In this article you will find answers to all these questions and you will learn how to make different gelatine textures according to your needs.

What is a gelling agent?

Gelling agents are a group of texturing agents used to produce jellies (or gels, in the strict sense of the word). These are products that can absorb water thanks to their structure, generating a three-dimensional network that converts the liquid into a solid or semi-solid.

The basic characteristics that differentiate gelling agents are:

  • Origin: animal or vegetable.
  • Texture or type of gelling: soft, hard, creamy, brittle, elastic, thermo-reversible, etc.
  • Temperature: activation, gelling and melting point temperatures.
  • Solubility in different media: water, milk, alcohols, citrus fruits, etc.
  • Visual characteristics: transparency, opacity, colour.

Which gelling agent should I choose for my recipe?

Before choosing a gelling agent for a specific use, you should be aware of its possibilities and limitations. The right choice of gelling agent makes all the difference to the texture of your culinary creations.

When faced with choosing the right gelling agent for your recipe, it is essential to understand the different options available and their inherent properties. The first and most significant decision you need to make is between a gelling agent of animal or vegetable origin. This choice affects not only the origin of the ingredients, but also the characteristics and performance of the gelling agent in your culinary preparation.

Origin

The origin of a gelling agent means the source of the raw material. For example, Agar-Agar is extracted from the cell walls of red algae. Depending on the origin, the characteristics of the gelling agent may vary.

Animal origin: collagen is extracted from the connective tissue of mammalian animals and fish. It is composed of proteins and is widely used in pastry making to create jelly textures.

Its main features are:

  • Good resistance to freezing: as they are proteins, they have a high water retention capacity, which means that no syneresis (loss of water) occurs during freezing and thawing processes.
  • Very low gelling temperature; therefore, they are melting in the mouth.
  • They solubilise at low temperature (40 degrees Celsius).

Its different formats are:

  • Gelatine sheets.
  • Granulated gelatine.
  • Instant gelatine powder.
Gelatin hydrated in water. Mix the powdered gelatin with cold water using a ratio of 1 part gelatin to 5 parts water. Hydrate for a minimum of 20 mins to create a gelatin mass. Keeps for 3 days at 40ºF (5ºC).

Vegetable origin: gelling agents of vegetable origin are carbohydrates of various origins (such as algae, citrus fruits or fermented bacteria).

Although we can encompass many of their characteristics, they are highly variable, which is why our range of vegetable gelatines is so wide.

Its main features are:

  • Once they have been gelled, they are resistant to high temperatures.
  • Depending on the type of vegetable gelling agent, different textures can be obtained.
  • They are an alternative to animal gelatine for vegan products.

Plant-based gelatines are usually in powder form and to activate them, they are usually dissolved in cold water and brought to a boil.

We can differentiate them by origin:

  • Algae: Agar-Agar, Gracila Gel, Kappa, Iota.
  • Microbial: from the fermentation of bacteria such as Gellan Gum.
  • Fruits: HM Pectins and LM Pectins.

Sosa’s gelling agents range from pure gelling agents to gelling mixtures formulated for ease of incorporation or for specific uses. For example: Vegetable gelling agent for highly elastic gelatines or Vegan mousse gelatine specifically formulated for the gelling of vegan mousses.

Now you know the different ingredients to prepare the different jelly textures in pastry! If you want to discover other textures we invite you to read: How to create different textures in pastry-making?

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