My Introduction to the Bain-marie Cooking Method


If you want to master the fine art of baking, one skill you will want to become proficient at is melting chocolate. Once you have a pan of melted chocolate, you can use the chocolate to make chocolate cookies, chocolate brownies, sauce, chocolate cake and much more.

My Introduction to the Bain-marie Cooking Method

As a schoolgirl learning the rudiments of how to bake during Home Economics class, I was introduced to the bain-marie (also known as a “water bath”) method of melting chocolate by my enthusiastic teachers. This is a very simple method of melting chocolate using the steam from recently boiled water, but it takes a little time and patience. The bain-marie method does not involve a lot of equipment, just a pan, some water, and a glass bowl, that will be used to hold the chocolate.

Heating Method

Start off by heating a small to medium pan of water until it reaches a rapid boil. Do not fill the pan all the way to the top. Fill to about halfway or a third of the way to the top so that there is no risk of the water coming into contact with the chocolate. To help the chocolate melt faster, break the chocolate into small chunks then add it to a glass bowl. You can also add the chocolate whole if you would prefer, but you will need to keep an eye on it for even longer if you do that.

Once the water has boiled, take the pan off the heat and place the bowl with the chocolate over the top so that it covers the top of the pan. It is best to use a glass bowl that is bigger than the pan, so that it will completely cover the pan and the steam from the boiled water can then gently melt the chocolate. As the chocolate melts, stir it with a stiff wooden spoon and make sure that the chocolate does not come into contact with the water, as it will be ruined and you will have to start from scratch if it does.

What to Do Once the Chocolate Has Melted

Once the chocolate has completely melted, carefully remove the glass bowl from the top of the pan, taking care not to burn yourself on the hot pan or from the steam coming from the pan underneath, and then refer to the cooking directions in your recipe. Some recipes call for cooled melted chocolate, whereas other recipes handle hot melted chocolate without any problems.

Heating chocolate in the microwave is a common heating method, but the bain-marie method of melting chocolate is incredibly easy to learn and does not take much effort at all. Even children can learn this simple method, provided they are supervised by an adult and the chocolate does not come into contact with the water in the pan.

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