water bath


The French call this cooking technique bain marie. It consists of placing a container (pan, bowl, soufflé dish, etc.) of food in a large, shallow pan of warm water, which surrounds the food with gentle heat. The food may be cooked in this manner either in an oven or on top of a range. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards, sauces and savory mousses without breaking or curdling them. It can also be used to keep cooked foods warm.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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Water Bath Canning for Jams and Pickles

Most fruit preserves and pickles are sufficiently high in acid to be canned via a method called water bath canning, where jars are submerged in boiling water for a prescribed amount of time. This destroys any pathogens in the food, and creates a seal, thereby rendering the jars shelf-stable.