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Old 05-05-2008, 02:33 AM   #1
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Clad double boiler?

Some background: I'm currently in the planning phase of replacing all of my pots and pans. I'm planning on buying a (small) set of fully clad stainless steel cookware (probably the Cuisinart Multiclad Pro, maybe the Henckels Classic Clad) and supplementing it with other pieces in the same or different materials as needed.

I was thinking, though, and I could be way off on this, but logically, wouldn't you NOT want the top part of a double boiler to be fully clad? If the heat is evenly distributed up the sides of the pan, then it's no longer indirect heat, right? Am I missing something?

Thanks,
Kerry

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Old 05-05-2008, 04:36 AM   #2
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Yep - you are missing something ... used as a double boiler - it is not "direct heat" in the upper pot. It is heated by the "steam" in the bottom pot - which acts as a buffer from the "direct" heat of the burner.

I just use a simple cheap thin SS bowl over a pot of simmering water as a "double boiler" for making things like bechamel or Hollandaise sauce, etc. You can do the same with a heat resistent glass bowl (like Pyrex) ... I've used them, too. I've also used aluminum bowls ...
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:28 PM   #3
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Hm, well, I know that's how a double boiler works, I guess I was just wondering, if the pans conduct heat so well, then wouldn't the heat conduct right up into the top part of the double boiler (since it's touching the bottom pot, which is on the stove)? *shrug* Maybe I think too much. :)
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Old 05-05-2008, 07:32 PM   #4
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Lavender, to add to what Michael has said, when using a double boiler, the simmering water isn't supposed touch the bottom of the top pan. As he said, steam is what does the heating.
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Old 05-06-2008, 02:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LavenderLily View Post
Hm, well, I know that's how a double boiler works, I guess I was just wondering, if the pans conduct heat so well, then wouldn't the heat conduct right up into the top part of the double boiler (since it's touching the bottom pot, which is on the stove)? *shrug* Maybe I think too much. :)
The only portion of the top pot that is in direct contact with the bottom pot is the area of the circumference and thickness (of the sides) of the bottom pot. For example: if you have a pot with a 6-inch diameter and 4-inches high - the surface area of the bottom of the bottom pot being directly heated is 28.26 in2 ... as the heat moves up the sides of the pot - it is dissapated from both sides so the temp at the top rim of the pot is not the same as the bottom of the pot - there is an area dissapating heat of about 226 in2.

So, again looking at the same pot with a 6-inch diameter and 1/8-inch thick ... the only potion of the top pot in direct contact with the bottom pot is an area of about 2.355 in2. And, the heat would be concentrated around the rim of the pot - even with "clad" pots.

So, the concept and basic function of the double-boiler holds true - even with "clad" pots.
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:48 AM   #6
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I like using the pyrex glass on top.... I can keep an eye on my water better!
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:54 AM   #7
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the fancy French double boilers have a ceramic bowl held by a metal ring and handle that fits in the pot. So a pyrex bowl on a pot of simmering water is right up there with the best.
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:07 AM   #8
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I don't think I've ever heard of a double boiler where the top part was clad. If there is one, it's overkill in my opinion. As others have said, a simple SS or glass bowl over ANY proper-sized pot of simmering water will do the trick.
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:14 AM   #9
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I use to have a SS Cuisinart double boiler insert. It was very nice but, like my ex-wife; it needed a lot of attention (sorry, bad joke)

Same as suziquzie, I found a Pyrex bowl that fits perfectly on a pasta pot I have.
This works great because the glass not only let's you see if the water is boiling, but also is not a good heat conductor and you have plenty of room, I gave my Cuisinart double boiler to a friend.

The ceramic double boilers that Robo mentioned (Mauviel or All Clad) are nice and cute, but if you are working with significant amounts of chocolate, they are too small and you must work in multiple batches.
Unless you want to spend major bucks for a 2 Qt. pot or so.

I've seen also in France double boilers that are like a beer pitcher with double wall and a handle where you pour hot water in the handle. They look nice and I am sure work great but I never use them.
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Old 05-06-2008, 02:05 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone!
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