Bain-Marie

Tip Tuesday: 12/6/16

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Bain-Marie (water bath or double boiler) is a type of heated bath that is used to heat materials gently and gradually to a fixed temperature, to keep materials warm over a period of time, or to melt ingredients. 

A Bain-Marie has many culinary uses such as:

  • to melt chocolate 
  • cook cheesecake
  • cook custard
  • make a hollandaise sauce
  • make a beurre blanc sauce
  • cook terrines
  • cook pates
  • thicken condensed milk for confections
  • heat frozen breast milk 
  • re-liquefy hard honey 
  • keep food warm

The application that I will be concentrating on this week is the making of custards, such as creme brûlée. You make a creme brûlée by pouring them in ramekins, you then place those ramekins into a roasting pan and pour hot water about 1/2 to 3/4 the way up the side of the ramekins. *It is recommended to place the roasting pan with the ramekins in the heated oven first, and using a goose neck kettle, pour the water into the pan. You do it this way to avoid getting water into the custard which would keep the custard from setting.

Cooking custard in a bain-marie ensures that the heat is distributed evenly and gently thought out the custard, preventing the custard from curdling. The humidity from the heating of the water will help the tops of the custard from drying out and becoming over cooked.