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What is Gelling Capacity?
Gelling capacity (or water holding capacity) refers to the capability of a hydrocolloid to retain water. Gelling capacity can be defined as the ability of a substance to spontaneously absorb liquids within an aqueous surrounding. More often than not, this term is associated with hydrocolloids. Once dispersed in water, these absorb water and molecules become individualized.
During the hydration process, pores are formed within the gel. Smaller pores are responsible for holding in water. On the other hand, larger pores are responsible for the strength of the gel. Characteristics such as texture, strength and functionality are all determined by gelling capacity.
More than this, gelling capacity also plays a large role in the stabilization of food as well as the retention of flavors. Hydrocolloids with stronger gelling capacities will exhibit stronger gels and more stable end products.