A double boiler is a set of pots that are designed so that one fits on top of the other. It is used when something is to be heated with gentle non-direct heat. To achieve this, the bottom pot is filled with water and the top pot with whatever needs to be gently heated. The heat or steam from the water is what heats the second pot gently and evenly.
Some occasions a double boiler may be required are; for melting chocolate, making delicate sauces, preparing egg based sauces or desserts. If you do not have a double boiler (we rarely have them in professional kitchens) it is easy to fashion one with a large bowl and saucepan, in fact I much prefer this type.
- Fill the saucepan with a couple centimetres (1 inch) of water and place on stove.
- Place the bowl with the contents required for your recipe onto of the saucepan.