Double Boilers: The Simple Art of Using One! | Wednesday’s In the Know
For those of you that hear the mention of a double boiler in a recipe and simply haven’t a clue what it means or what purpose it serves, today’s post has you covered. Let’s start from the beginning…
What is a double boiler:
A double boiler consists of two pots: the bottom pot is slightly bigger than the top pot and consists of ¼ – ½ cup of water. The top pot fits snug inside the bottom pot but isn’t as deep so that the bottom surface never comes in contact with the water below. The top pot also contains the ingredient at hand, like chocolate. The steam from the water in the bottom pot is then trapped by the pot above, which keeps a nice hot environment.
What is the purpose of a double boiler:
The purpose is to gently heat, melt or “cook” the ingredients in the pot above without ever coming in direct contact with the heat source. In this situation, steam acts as a source of heat and works perfectly for sensitive and fragile objects, like chocolate, butter and eggs in the pot above. Heck, this is also a great way to keep sauces – and even gravy – warm for dinner!
If I don’t want to purchase a double boiler, how else can I cook with this affect?
A saucepan with a fitted tempered bowl – which most glass bowls are, like Pyrex, but worth double checking – will work just as well. Just make sure the water in the saucepan doesn’t come in direct contact with the bowl above – the water level should be high enough to create steam but low enough that it doesn’t evaporate quickly. Keep an eye on the water level and if the water starts boiling or resulting in too much heat, adjust the temperature adding more water as needed. I usually start with ¼ – ½ cup water in the pot below and go from there.
How do I stir the contents in the saucepan – or bowl – above without the entire unit moving and the steam burning my hands?
Either wear a kitchen mitt while holding the top pot or bowl in place as you whisk with the other hand, or wrap a kitchen towel around the hand securing the pot or bowl while using your other hand to whisk.
For other terrific tips and hundreds of recipes, visit my website (thetabletogether.com). While there, consider “subscribing” and I will send a new tip or blog post directly to your inbox every Tuesday and Wednesday morning!
P.S. Make sure you check out my YouTube channel, The Table Together with Tiffany Lewis, solely dedicated to bringing all of these fantastic tips and recipes to life!
Cheers to starting a new tradition around The Table Together!
Founder and true believer in the power of bringing people around The Table Together!