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I've been trying a simple recipe I found on the internet, which is a simple recipe consisting mostly of gelatin.

The problem is that the end result is basically just a fruit-flavoured jelly (Jell-O?), rather than the more chewy gummy-bears (Haribo) style of jelly confectionery.

Can anyone suggest what I need to do to make them less springy and more chewy. It's all difficult to articulate!

Here's what I used for the first test-batch:

  • 12 tbsp sugar
  • 12/3 cup fruit juice
  • 8 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 8 tbsp gelatin

    1. soften the gelatin in 1/2 cup of cold water.
    2. place sugar, syrup and the juice in a pan and gently heat until sugar dissolves.
    3. Stir in the gelatin and stir until dissolved.
    4. Pour into moulds and wait until set.

Thanks

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Hmm, or am I going about it wrong, and should be starting with a soft-ball sugar recipe? –  Cylindric Jan 17 '11 at 12:47
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This question describes other gelling agents than gelatin that result in a much stiffer end product - might try subbing in one of those (such as agar-agar). –  justkt Jan 17 '11 at 13:22

4 Answers 4

I guess that you could add more flavored gelatin, but if you are worried about having a salty flavor( because you will if you use too many packs of unflavored gelatin and the gummies do not have enough flavor) then you could substitute the water or whatever liquid your using for fruit juice.

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I ask you to read the answers already offered to this question, and then read yours. –  Jolenealaska Jan 11 at 5:29

Heh... I used to work for a large commercial gummy-bear manufacturer, and can tell you that, when fresh, they were quite springy. A day in the drying room, followed by a couple months in the warehouse / on the shelf waiting to be sold, and they lose that springiness. Frankly, they all taste stale to me now. So yeah, try leaving them uncovered in the fridge for a few days & see if they're not more to your liking.

BTW: candies like these are almost always formed in molds pressed into food starch. This is primarily done to allow easy removal (just dump and shake), but I suspect also works to absorb excess moisture. And the ones we sold had a mineral-oil glaze that kept them from sticking to each other in the package - this also altered the taste / mouth-feel somewhat.

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Be careful of substituting agar or any other "firm" gelling agent; you're likely to end up something closer to Turkish Delight and agar in particular has the property of syneresis (meaning that your gummy candies will dry up fast).

I can think of a few things that would alter the consistency of a gelatin candy/dessert:

  • First, it is very important to let the gelatin bloom. When it says to "soften" it in cold water, you need to let it sit there for a good 5 minutes or so until it has absorbed plenty of water and you can actually see a gel forming. Don't stir it at this point!

  • All gelatins are not created equal; you need to look at the bloom strength. I think the most common kind in supermarkets is Knox, which has a bloom strength of 225 and is usually what most gelatin recipes calls for. "Platinum" gelatin (normally sold in sheets) goes up to 260, "Gold" is generally around 200, "Silver" is 160, and "Bronze" can be as low as 125 - practically useless for this. If you managed to find powdered gelatin with a bloom strength of under 200, you would need to increase the quantity or else end up with jelly.

  • Although gelatin does not require particularly high temperatures to hydrate, you do need to heat the solution to at least 50° C before you set it. If you don't do this, it won't dissolve properly.

  • When using powdered gelatin, you're normally supposed to bloom and dissolve it in the same liquid. The recipe you have seems to call for chucking the bloomed gelatin directly into your syrup; this may be deliberate in order to produce some effect I'm not familiar with, but it sounds like an oversight to me. Instead I would heat the gelatin/water solution up to 50° C after blooming (as described above) and then add that to the syrup.

  • Finally, as Computerish says, make sure you're heating the syrup solution enough to get all the sugar dissolved, and you might even need to reduce it a little (let it simmer). The more you reduce it, the more viscous the syrup itself will become (at the extreme end turning into pure caramelized sugar, which is rock-hard). So if you're absolutely sure that you are using the gelatin correctly, this would be the next line to pursue. If the syrup is actually syrupy at room temperature then it should form great chewy gummies, but if it's watery then you're more likely to end up with Jell-O.

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Great answer, thanks - I'll be giving this ago at the weekend. –  Cylindric Jan 19 '11 at 10:00

Changing the gelling agent could help as justkt suggested. I suspect, however, that your problem is the temperature of the sugar. The recipe I have (from Chocolate and Confections, but I haven't actually tried this recipe) suggests heating the sugars to 275 F and then cooling to 242 F before adding the gelatin.

Since you are using juice and not a pre-made flavoring (+1 for that by the way), you might want to reduce the juice by about 50% in advance (cook it until it is half of its original weight and then let it cool again) and add it after the sugar has been cooked.

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I like your idea of reducing the flavouring, I'll try that. I wasn't really heating the sugar at all, as I was following a recipe on the internet, but it seems they've never eaten gummy bears :) I'll swap to a "sugar" solution, and not a "jelly" solution, and see how I get on. This is my first forray into cooking - let alone hot sugar mallarkey :) –  Cylindric Jan 17 '11 at 16:22

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