Water Bath: How to Make it Right

To heat honey or make the dough, melt butter, or make pudding, you need a water bath. What it is, how to make a water bath at home, how it differs from a steam bath, and why it is better not to confuse these two baths.

The water bath – what is it

A water bath is a method in which foods can be heated to the boiling point, but without direct contact with water. Simply put, it is a way to slowly heat (melt, melt) foods that are sensitive to high temperatures and heat. The water bath is often used in cooking and confectionery, cosmetology, candle making, and soap making. For example, if you need to melt honey, oil, or wax, boil herbs in a water bath or egg whites for a cream.

How to make a water bath – the easy way

Making a water bath is pretty easy. You’ll need two pots, one bigger and one smaller. Pour water into the large pot and put the smaller pot with the ingredients you want to heat/melt in the water bath.

Note: the water in the large pot should only cover 1/2 the height of the smaller pot.

Place the two-pot construction on the fire and slowly bring it to a boil.

In this way, the food will not burn and retain its qualities in the water bath. You can keep it at the right temperature for as long as you like.

Tip: It is best to use thick-walled stainless steel cookware for the water bath. Enameled, ceramic, or cast iron cookware can spoil the food.

The water bath – what to cook with it

If we talk about cooking and confectionery, most often in a water bath melt honey, and butter, boil proteins, and cook crème brûlée, cheesecakes, and puddings. Also, herbs are boiled in the water bath to preserve their useful properties, and wax and paraffin are melted.

The difference between the water bath and the steam bath

You should not confuse the water bath with a steam bath.

Steam bath is a method of heating, similar to a water bath, but the water in a large pot does not touch the bottom of a small one. It leaves a free space between the pans, in which hot air circulates – it heats the ingredients in the pot. In other words, we heat the product on steam, not on the water.

One more important point: in a water bath the food is gradually heated to a temperature of +100 ° C, while the steam bath heats the food above +100 ° C.

The steam bath is ideal for melting chocolate: in this process it is important that no condensation or water gets into the chocolate mixture. Swiss meringue, hollandaise sauce, and sabayon are also prepared in the steam bath.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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