Gelatin is a protein produced by partial hydrolysis of collagen extracted from the boiled bones, connective tissues, organs and some intestines of animals such as domesticated cattle, pigs, and horses. Gelatin is an unusual protein whereas most normal proteins when heated respond by unfolding and bonding permanently to neighbouring proteins (aka coagulating for example poaching an egg), the proteins in gelatin respond to heat by releasing their bonds to each other. The unusually long protein chains in gelatin, when cold, bind to each other via a triple helix structure, which cross link with others to form a web. This web interferes with the movement of the water the gelatin is dispersed in, thus gelling the liquid into a solid.

Many things effect the final texture of a gelatin gelled liquid, particularly the manner in which it is cooled. The warmed liquid, necessary to release the proteins from their initial web and disperse them, is most often immediately placed in the refrigerator and cooled quickly. In doing this, the protein chains bond to each other immediately, and randomly, causing bulky and weak cross sections. By cooling the gelatin slowly, at room temperature, the proteins are allowed to mingle with each other, forming a tighter, more structured web which produces a superior mouth feel and texture.


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