Why should I take gelatin

What you should know about gelatin

Gelatine is pretty inconspicuous on its own: it tastes like nothing and has no real color. When used correctly, gelatine ensures that strawberry cakes have a nice, luminous coating, cakes have a stable filling, and sheet cakes have a solid topping. Gelatin is found in many foods. It is used for sweets such as gummy bears, marshmallows and wine gums, but also in desserts, drinks and light products. And when baking - be it as a cake topping or as a binding agent. But: Gelatine is taboo for vegans and vegetarians (more on that later). And you have to know how to handle it - otherwise creams and mousses may get unattractive lumps or won't even start to gel.

Gelatine is available in sheet form and as a powder, undyed and colored red. There are also special “cake glaze” products that look similar, but mostly made of carrage instead of gelatine and already contain sugar. Unsweetened gelatine can also be prepared with sugar alternatives such as sweeteners. 1 packet of leaf gelatine with 6 pieces corresponds to one packet of ground gelatine and is sufficient for 500 ml of liquid such as water or juice.

Gelatin: avoid lumps

Leaf gelatine must first be soaked in cold water for around 10 minutes, where it swells and becomes soft. Then squeeze out the leaves lightly. Then heat the leaves in a small saucepan and dissolve while stirring. Under no circumstances should the mass boil because the gelatine will then no longer work. For a cold cream - for example a cake filling - you first have to add a tablespoon of cream to the lukewarm prepared gelatine and stir in well so that the temperature adjusts. Then this mass is slowly added to the rest of the cream while stirring. If you add the warm gelatine to the cold cream all at once, lumps will form. The prepared cream will start to gel in the refrigerator. After a few hours, depending on the recipe, it will be firm. If the cream is to be enriched with whipped cream, do not fold it in immediately, but only when the cream has already started to slightly gel. Ground gelatine is also mixed with cold water (6 tablespoons are needed for one packet), but it only takes around 5 minutes to swell.

Because gelatine is often used for fruit cakes and tarts, the following note: Some fruits do not go well with gelatine; Fruits such as kiwi, pineapple or papaya contain enzymes that inhibit the effect of gelatine. The fruits can only be used with gelatine if they are heated. Or you can use a vegetable gelling agent such as agar-agar for the raw fruit.

Gelatine alternatives for vegetarians and vegans

Gelatine consists of animal protein, more precisely from collagen, which is obtained from pig skin, bones and hides of pigs, among other things. Because gelatine is made from slaughterhouse waste, vegans and vegetarians need alternatives (luckily there are plenty of them). The best-known herbal gelling and binding agents include agar-agar, locust bean gum, guar gum and pectin. Ready-made cake glaze with carrage is also vegan.

Agar-agar, which can now also be bought in many normal supermarkets, consists of algae and, like gelatine, is tasteless. The processing works in a similar way to gelatine; So agar-agar must first be boiled and then allowed to cool. Three quarters of a teaspoon of agar-agar is enough (like 6 sheets of gelatine or 1 packet of ground gelatine) for 500 ml of liquid. You can try it right away - for example with a cake topping for my low-calorie strawberry cake that I recently posted here.

Kathrin Runge