A double boiler is two parts: a saucepot filled with water and either a heat-safe bowl, or insert, to go over the saucepot. How to create one, in your own kitchen, is fairly easy.
If your baking recipe calls for a double boiler, there is a good chance you are melting something or cooking something very slowly. Say, chocolate for a candy recipe. Or, dissolving sugar into egg whites for a meringue recipe. Or, lemon curd for pie. We are doing this because direct heat will overheat the ingredients, cook it wayyyy to long, and scorch it.
This is a double boiler set. The top is an insert that is designed to fit perfectly
Steps on How to Make a Double boiler at Home
In a medium-size saucepot, around 2-3 qts, fill it with 1-2 cups of water. Until 2 inches deep. No need to exactly measure this. Cover with lid and place on medium heat on the stovetop. Once it is simmering, soft and low bubbles appear, remove the lid.
Now, place a heat-safe (stainless steel is a safe bet) bowl over the simmering pot of water. Add the ingredients to the bowl. Proceed to the next step in your baking recipe.
Pro Tips on How to Make a Double boiler at Home
- Avoid the bowl touch the water. If this happens, it means too much water was added to the saucepot. Simply, dump some of the water out
- When finishing cooking or melting, remove the bowl with a kitchen towel to catch any excess water.
- Whatever you are cooking or melting, be sure to constantly stir it or whisk it
- Rachael Ray Magazine has a nice hand-drawn image of what a double boiler looks like