What to Use If You Don't Have a Double Boiler

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How to Make a Double Boiler. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Have a recipe that calls for heating something in a double boiler? Make your own by sticking a metal or glass oven-proof bowl (Pyrex) on top of a small saucepan. You want the bowl to fit snuggly on the pan, without leaving any gaps, so be sure to pick a big enough bowl.

To Use Your Double Boiler: Add a few inches of water to the saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Then, place your bowl on the pan (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water), and add your ingredients to the bowl.

 

Why Bother with a Double Boiler? Some ingredients (chocolate, dairy products, etc.) burn easily when they come into direct contact with heat. Others (like wax for candlemaking) can catch fire, if they're heated directly. A double boiler avoids these problems, by allowing you to heat ingredients indirectly. When you place the bowl on top of the pan, it traps steam in the pan, and this is what's used to melt or cook your ingredients.

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