What Is A Double Boiler & How To Use It?

What Is A Double Boiler & How To Use It?

Are you in the mood to melt some chocolate, make a pudding, or prepare a delicious custard with your double boiler, but don’t know how to? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Double boilers are really fun to use in the kitchen. Once you get the right information you need to start correctly using yours, it’ll be much easier for you to make delicious foods!

With that being said, my fellow readers, I present you with a guide on everything you need to know about the double boiler! For my chocolate-loving readers, stay until the end for a sweet surprise!

Let’s jump right into the basics!

chocolate are double boilers really use in the kitchen

Okay… What Is A Double Boiler?

The double boiler also called a bain-marie, is a commonly used cookware in baking settings, and is also used in many cafes. A double boiler is made up of two pots that use a heat source or steam to successfully melt and cook different foods.

It is a great kitchen tool that’s used to apply gentle heat on a stovetop. It consists of two fitted pots stacked on top of each other.

The bottom pot is larger, filled with 1-2 inches of water, and placed directly above heat. The second pot is smaller, placed on top of the water-filled larger pot, and contains the food item that needs to be cooked.

The simmering water from the bottom pot simply transfers heat to the top in a gentle and even way without burning or overcooking its contents due to direct heat.

The process is like a “bain-marie”, a French culinary term meaning “hot water bath (Mary’s bath)”. Just like the double boiler, the purpose of the bain-marie technique is to create gentle indirect heat and even cooking.

A double boiler is helpful for making and heating up delicate things like hollandaise sauce, melted chocolate, and custards.

melt chocolate mixing with milk

A double boiler is also great for keeping sauces warm. So if you had some guests over for Thanksgiving dinner and you have some delicious gravy that should be served warm, just keep it on a double boiler so that your guests will have warm gravy poured over their turkey throughout the entire evening.

Do not prepare the recipe using direct heat (i.e. putting your food item into a regular cooking pot) if the recipe calls for a double boiler. Here are some things that you can use instead of a double boiler in case you don’t have one at home.

How Does It Work?

Glad you asked, eager reader! Double boilers function by using up the steam from the hot water in the bottom pot to provide heat to the pot on top. This indirect way of heating is excellent for cooking delicate foods, including chocolate and sauces.

When using your double boiler, ensure that the pot on top is above the hot water. This is extremely necessary because if the pot gets too hot, your food can start to solidify or even burn.

What Can I Use A Double Boiler For?

Gentle and indirect heat is emitted from the double boiler, hence making it excellent to use for making custards, puddings, frostings, sauces, eggs, brownies, flan, and even fondue! 

Melting butter and chocolate are also common things that people use their double boilers for. 

How Do I Create A Set-up?

Simple. You can go purchase a double boiler insert, which can best be described as a tapered metal colander (minus the holes). The best part about this insert being tapered is that it can attach itself onto a variety of pans with different sizes and shapes. 

(Note: the insert also includes a handle as well as spouts so that you can pour easier!)

Many people also go for the double boiler set, which comes with the pot and the insert that is made specially to fit in the pot, as well as a lid that fits the two containers. This option is excellent for people who plan to use a double boiler often and have space for it.

How Do I Use A Double Boiler?

There are a couple of steps you need to follow to use a double boiler, but they are quite easy and straightforward.

Step 1: Fill the bottom pot with one or two inches of water. Make sure there is a gap between the water and the bottom of the bowl you are using. Don’t put too little water, either, because if all the water boils away, you will be left heating a dry pan. That could cause some serious damage. 

Step 2: Add the top pot. After you do so, turn on the burner to a simmer. Let the water heat up and once you see that steam is being released, it will be trapped between the two pots, which heats the food in the top pot. 

Step 3: You’re done! Be sure to remove the top pot and replace water that may have escaped. 

boiling chocolate and mixing well

Bottom Line

Overall, the double boiler is an amazing tool to use in the kitchen for a wide range of different recipes. It’s the best thing to use when melting chocolate, as well as making sauces and other scrumptious foods. 

From high-class bakeries to small kitchens, double boilers are used by many. Since they are high in popularity, it is essential to understand what a double boiler is and how it functions (especially if you want to start baking or cooking!

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