Is it not impressive that a foodstuff with such a long tradition as gelatine plays an important role in the modern food industry? We live in a time when the consumer is confronted with food that has been genetically modified and contains a large number of additives and E numbers. None of this applies to gelatine, the pure collagen protein. It offers many features unmatched today.
The following infographic gives an overview.
Other hydrocolloids do not have this property.more
Gelling, thickening and stabilizing
Gelatine belongs to the large group of hydrocolloids. These are substances that are made of vegetable or animal proteins or complex sugars. They have the capacity to swell or bind water. Hydrocolloids are used to thicken, gel and stabilize food. No other hydrocolloid provides all of the properties, gelatine combines all in one ingredient.
Gelatine is a thermo-reversible hydrocolloid
Distinction is made between two different gelling types of hydrocolloids. Thermo-reversible gels are formed by cooling a warm solution. The gel can be melted again at any time. The other group comprises hydrocolloids soluble in cold or hot water and need the addition of salts or acids to form a gel. However, these gels cannot be melted again.
Gelatine is unique
It melts at body temperature and this property is unique among the hydrocolloids. Foods using gelatine therefore melts in the mouth and generate that unique “great mouth feel” and an intensive flavour release. That “great mouth feel“ is decisive for many consumers in their decisions about what to buy.
Moreover, gelatine is the most versatile of the hydrocolloids in the modern food industry. Gelatine is suitable for gelling, thickening, binding water, foaming and stabilizing and it is highly elastic.
A special form of gelatine is leaf gelatine. This specific form is used for household, catering, cooking, catering, bakeries, confectioners, butchers and other non-industrial applications. Cut into rectangles with the typical net-shaped pattern resulting from the manufacturing process and elastic in its movements, at first glance it looks more like a work of art. The big advantage for the use of leaf gelatine is it can be easily portioned according to the recipes and is easy to handle during the cooking process.
Cold soluble (instant) gelatines were specially developed to prevent temperature-sensitive final products from heating for the gelatine dissolution. It is often used to stabilize foodstuffs such as gateaux, desserts and other sweet and cold dishes.