This might surprise most people, but high heat is not always the best. Gently cooking food and controlling temperature can have a profound effect when cooking. The effects is most noticeable when you cook sauces and confectionery such as Hollindase or chocolate. To do this, you need a special tool called Bain Marie Pot or double boiler. These are two tier pots designed to gently cook food via steam. The Best Bain Marie are models that uses copper with a porcelain top. They quickly generate steam while at the same time maintain a steady temperature.
What is a Bain Marie Pot aka Double Boiler
Bain Marie or Double Boiler are the same object under a different name. They are pretty unique in appearance and function. The top portion is usually ceramic or glass and sit on a tight fitting pot. It uses the steam generated from the bottom pot to heat it up.
This method of heating/cooking can be dated back to 300 ad. It has application to both cooking and science. However, their contraption will vary depending on their use.
How to Use
To use a double boiler fill the bottom portion with water. Turn on the heat and it will slowly heat the top. Add your ingredients and let it slowly cook. I recommend that you use a thermometer for really delicate task such as tempering chocolate. If you overshoot the temperature, you can easily ruin the structure.
Other Uses and Bain Marie Pan
If you ever been to a buffet, you have probably see a Bain Marie in action. Those square trays are known as Chaffing Dishes or a Bain Marie Pan. On the bottom, there will be a steam bath gently heating the food. Its unlikely that the food will continue cooking so that it wont be overdone. You can even buy your own chaffing dishes to serve people during a party.
Another things that I like using a Barn Marie for is a make shift fondue pot. Use a portable stove and you can set it right in the center table.
Making your own Double Boiler
If you are in a pinch and need to use a double boiler, you can make your own. All you need is a sauce pot and a big mixing bowl. Heat up water and place the bowl over it. Just be careful, the large bowl is significantly thinner than a ceramic pot. This means that the temperature will be a bit hotter. Remember to use a thermometer to ensure accurate temperature.
Best Bain Marie Pot and Double Boiler List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Bain Marie Pot and Double Boiler. There are a few different configuration, choose one that best suits you.
Mauviel M ‘150°C 645412 Bain Marie Copper (Best Overall)
Mauviel is one of the oldest French manufacturer of copper cookware. They conduct heat fast and convert steam even faster. The ceramic insert helps the pot maintain a steady heat and keep it steady. Unlike the older models, this handle is made of stainless steel and stays cools to the touch. You can even use the bottom pot as its own stock pot.
All-Clad 42025 Stainless Steel 3-Ply Double Boiler (Best Stainless Steel Model)
For a Stainless Steel model, you cant beat all clad. Its durable and carries a lifetime warranty. While it does not conduct heat as fast as copper, it should be fine once it gets going. The downside to All Clad is that the handle is uncomfortable. It does give a good grip when you turn it though.
Farberware Classic Stainless Series 2-Quart Covered Double Boiler (Best Buy)
Mauviel and All Clad is nice, but theyre expensive. Faberware is a much cheaper alternative than the two. You get the traditional two pot design and in general it works. However, the build quality is not as nice. Nevertheless, its much more affordable and its classic design has its own charm.
Baine Marie with Silicone Spatula, 600ml Stainless Steel Melting (Best Stand Alone Boiler)
If you already own enough pots and just want something to steam with, than get this generic model. It has pouring spouts to prevent drips. Its affordable, and it will do the job. The handle is uncomfortable though, but if you’re only doing it briefly, it should be fine.
SYBO ZCK165A-3 Commercial Grade Stainless Steel Bain Marie Pan Buffet Food Warmer Steam
Have a party or maybe want to start your own food cart? This buffet warmer is the perfect baine marie pan. You have three trays and you can control how hot it cooks the food. Since its gently being steamed, it wont overcook food. The stainless steel finish look clean and wont get hot to the touch. Just be aware, this is designed mostly for professionals, so it is a little pricey.
Bain Marie Pots and Double Boiler are great way to gently cook food. Traditional models made by Mauviels are the best. They generate steam fastest but they are expensive. Cheaper alternative are made by All Clad, but even that can be pricey. Thankfully, a lot of manufacturer make cheaper options. While they dont have the durability and finish of the expensive model, they work. If you just want one to serve food during parties, then consider commercial bain marie pan to keep food hot through service.
Like making candy? Check out our article on the Best Pot for Making Candy.