Full Bloom: How to Use Sheet Gelatin

An alternative to powdered gelatin, sheet gelatin provides more consistency and stability

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Powdered gelatin may be the go-to for home-cooked recipes like our moscato and peach gelée, but the standard in professional kitchens is the translucent rectangle known as sheet (or leaf) gelatin. Both varieties must be bloomed—soaked in water to soften—so the gelatin can dissolve with other ingredients, but powdered gelatin produces a less clear product. According to Kierin Baldwin, pastry chef at The Dutch in Manhattan, sheet gelatin is also a more consistent thickening agent, and it helps maximize flavor by minimizing dilution. "After you soak sheet gelatin, you can squeeze out excess water," she says. "But with powdered, you add water to your final product." If you'd like to substitute one for the other, the ratio is 1 tbsp. powdered gelatin to 4 gelatin sheets. As in gelées, it can provide texture to pastry creams and puddings, and help stabilize whipped cream so it doesn't weep after sitting.