How many times reading  a recipe you’ve seen written” bain- marie method “, “use the double boiler “ and you’ve decided it was too much for you and you did not have  a double boiler.

Bagnomaria, bain marie or in water bath. this expression is used for a particular but rather simple heating method. It consists of filling a container with water and putting it to boil on the stove; then, a second, smaller container is inserted inside it, containing the ingredient or food to be heated. This indirect procedure allows you to control the temperature, so that there is no risk of overcooking or even burning of the food. The heat is in fact released more slowly and more lightly.

double boiler is a cooking utensil consisting of two saucepans fitting together so that the contents of the upper can be cooked or heated by boiling water in the lower. Nowadays you can have also those build in one piece, but to tell the truth it’s simple to assemble your own with equipment that you already have .Have a look at the pieces in the photo.

To create the effect of a double boiler, all you need is two pots, or one pot and a slightly larger heatproof bowl. Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in the lower pot before introducing the top pot or bowl. Then, turn the heat down to low and put the top vessel on. Then put the ingredients into it.

You can use this method to melt chocolate,

preparing a chocolate gelato

preparing a custard ,

not to overheat eggs while cooking 

Bain- Marie and double boilers are the cook’s solution to making or warming delicate foods, particularly egg-based sauces or custards, that would curdle, break, or scorch with too much heat. In a water bath, the dish is surrounded by hot or simmering water, and in a double boiler, the food is in a bowl suspended above it. In both cases, the water tempers the heat to permit gentle, even cooking.

It’s possible to organise large bain marie to cook several molds, ramekins in the oven.For ovenbound water baths, pour in enough simmering water to reach half to three-quarters of the way up the sides of the mold (so the top portion doesn’t overcook), replenishing it when necessary during baking. 

stovetop water bath is a common restaurant method for keeping a fragile cream sauce warm or reheating a thick soup. Try it when you’re serving a large or elaborate meal and you need to keep several dishes warm while finishing the rest.

The origins of the definition of cooking in a bain-marie are very ancient, and it seems to have even biblical derivations. In fact, it is said that Miriam, sister of Moses and the prophet Aaron, invented this method. She was considered the custodian of the alchemical and magical art of the Jewish people. According to legend, Miriam experimented with this system to simulate natural conditions and heat some elixirs in order to obtain gold and other valuable metals.

Myriam is the Egyptian version of the name Mary, in fact the young woman lived in Egypt about thirty centuries ago and her story can be read in the Bible. The reason why it is said in a bain-marie is therefore obvious, even if initially the term kaminos Marias was used, then balneum Mariae. It is certainly strange to imagine how such a common method nowadays was once used for magical purposes. However, even scientific laboratories still make use of similar systems for mixtures and experiments.

And you can experiment new sauces and chocolates !