Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Culinary IQ: Tuesday October 25, 2011; Double Boilers

Don't Get Into A Sticky Situation!

Ever find yourself making a sauce and all of the sudden it curdles or sticks to the pan and burns? What about melting chocolate and it burns? Using a double boiler will help prevent these common pitfalls.

A double boiler allows you to fill the bottom pan with water and put your food on top. The water is heated and the food is gently heated. The process gives you more control over the amount of heat than cooking directly on the burner. Double boilers are usually preferred for cooking sauces that contain eggs, sauces that are high in starch and melting chocolates.
A double boiler is also referred to by its French name, bain-marie. Sometimes cookware sets come with a double boiler insert to use with a saucepan. A simple bain-marie can be made by placing a stainless steel bowl large enough to sit on a saucepan of water without falling in. A metal bowl is preferred over glass as glass can break if heat fluctuates to much.
Two tips when using a double boiler: When melting chocolate do not stir too soon, chocolate will hold its shape until almost completely melted if not stirred. By waiting until the chocolate becomes very shiny you avoid having lumps in the chocolate that are hard to detect. Second, when removing the top of the double boiler to pour contents into another container, always wipe the condensation off before pouring. This will prevent getting moisture in your sauce. It is extremely important when melting chocolate as water will make the chocolate seize.
I hope your sauces are smooth as silk from now on!

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