Stainless steel saucepans, bowls, or pots are commonly used for setting up a DIY double-boiler. However, you may also like to explore the option of using ceramic bowls for a double boiler. So, can you use a ceramic bowl for a double boiler?
Yes, you can use heatproof ceramic bowls for a double boiler. Since some ceramics can’t withstand high heat, you should only use bowls that are intended for stovetop cooking or oven use. These ceramic bowls will heat slowly and evenly, giving you perfect control while using them for double-boiling.
Let’s talk about this in more detail now.
What Is Double Boiling?
Double boiling is a unique cooking technique in which you use indirect heat to cook food.
The ingredients to be cooked are placed in a pot that sits over a large pot of boiling water.
The heat from the steam in the bottom pot will cook the food slowly and evenly.
The inner pot of a double-boiler shouldn’t touch the water in the bottom pot.
It should be above the water level while the water simmers.
The rim of the inner pot should also form a seal around the large pot so that steam doesn’t escape.
This cooking method takes longer than other methods because it uses indirect heat.
However, the benefit of this technique is that it allows maximum extraction of flavor from the ingredients.
This technique also gives good control and helps the cook achieve the desired texture.
Double-boiling is typically used for preparing egg-based sauces, tempering chocolate, and melting butter.
Recommended Further Reading:
- Is a Glass Bowl Suitable for Double Boiler?
- What Can You Use Instead Of A Double Boiler? [3 Substitutes]
- What Are the Uses of a Double Boiler?
Is Ceramic A Good Material For A Double Boiler?
Most of the readymade double-boilers in the market use stainless-steel pots.
It’s because the metal heats quickly and evenly.
This also means that you can recreate your very own DIY double boiler with stainless steel cookware that you already own.
However, you can also make DIY double-boilers with bowls, pots, or pans made from other materials.
Glass and ceramic are good choices because of their ability to withstand heating.
However, not all types of ceramic can withstand heating.
Three main types of ceramic are used to make kitchenware — earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain.
The difference between them is the clay used for construction and the heat at which the pottery is baked.
Each type of ceramic also has a different threshold to heat and reacts differently when exposed to high temperatures.
Earthenware and stoneware are not as heat tolerant as porcelain.
Heating them to very high temperatures can result in thermal shock when you withdraw the heat source.
The thermal shock can cause cracks or even shatter the entire bowl or pot.
Nevertheless, the reaction will also depend on whether the bowl has protective glazing or not.
Many earthenware and stoneware bowls come with a protective coating that allows them to withstand heat.
Porcelain is usually the better choice for cooking and heating.
Now, double boiling uses indirect and gentle heat.
Most ceramic pots can tolerate the temperature at which it happens.
However, we recommend using only oven-safe ceramic pots for double-boiling.
These don’t shatter or crack at high heat and are hence suitable for double boiling.
Related Further Reading:
- Are Copper Pans Coated with Teflon?
- How to Fix Scratched Ceramic Pans?
- Are Calphalon Pans Dishwasher-Safe?
When Can You Use Ceramic Bowls For A Double Boiler?
As we mentioned earlier, not all ceramic bowls may be suitable for double boiling.
It’s best to use oven-proof ceramic bowls only.
Most ceramic bowls are not meant for direct heating.
So, you shouldn’t use a ceramic pot as the base of a double boiler unless it’s suitable for stovetop cooking.
Direct exposure to heat may shatter the bowl.
However, you can use ceramic bowls as the insert bowl for a double boiler if they’re heatproof.
These bowls will have an oven-safe symbol on the base. It’s represented by the image of a box with plates or bowls inside.
Sometimes, it may also be a box with a temperature rating mentioned.
If either of these symbols is present, you can safely use the bowl for double boiling.
If you are unable to locate the oven-safe symbol on the bowl, you can check the packaging or the manufacturer’s website.
Avoid using the bowl for double-boiling if neither the packaging nor the website mention that the bowl is heatproof.
When using a ceramic bowl as an insert pot for double-boiling, you can use a metal pot or pan of stainless steel or aluminum as the base.
Place the ingredients in the ceramic bowl before placing it on top of the metal bowl.
The ceramic bowl should fit tightly inside the metal bowl without allowing any steam to escape.
Make sure that the ceramic bowl doesn’t touch the water surface.
Direct exposure to the boiling water can cause the ceramic to crack if it’s not heat-resistant.
Ceramic bowls usually take longer to heat than metal bowls.
So it can take longer when you use a ceramic bowl for a double boiler.
Additionally, ceramic retains heat. So the ingredients will continue to cook even after you take the bowl off the heat.
Keep this in mind to avoid overcooking the ingredients.
A medium to low heat setting works best when using a ceramic bowl.
Interesting Further Reading:
- Can You Cook Quickly Using Pans on a Griddle?
- Can Calphalon Pans Go In The Oven? [Which Ones Can?]
- Are Woks Suitable for the Oven?
What Can You Use Instead Of A Ceramic Bowl In A Double Boiler?
Double-boilers are expensive, single-use equipment.
Unless you make egg-based sauces or temper chocolate all the time, it’s not worth buying them.
You can easily set up your very double-boiler at home with the cookware you already own.
All you need is a heat-safe bowl and a saucepan with similar rim sizes.
If the smaller pot or bowl sits inside the rim of the bigger one, you are good to go.
Ceramic is only one of the materials you can use safely for double-boiling.
You can also make your DIY double boiler with other materials that conduct heat.
Stainless steel pots and bowls are common choices. Stainless steel is a good conductor of heat and conducts heat evenly.
Most stainless steel pots are also safe for stovetop cooking.
So if you have stainless steel bowls or pots of a suitable size, you can use them as both the base and the insert pot of a double-boiler.
Other metallic and non-stick pots and pans are also suitable for double boiling.
You can use aluminum pots with thick walls, copper pots, or steel cookware for this purpose.
Glass is another commonly used material for a double-boiler.
However, you should ensure that the glass bowl is heatproof before using it in a double boiler.
Pyrex bowls and oven-proof glassware are suitable for double boiling.
The glass bowl should sit inside the saucepan without touching the water.
It should also fit snugly against the rim of the saucepan so that steam doesn’t escape from the sides.
Like ceramic, glass takes longer than metal to heat. However, it retains heat for more time.
So it’s a good choice for a double boiler.
The ingredients heat up evenly and thoroughly in a glass bowl, and you can whisk or mix it well during the double-boiling process.