Specialist Heating Elements - Bain Marie’s
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A bain marie, also known as double-boiler heating elements, is a type of pot used to heat substances to a controlled temperature. It is most useful in applications where overheating must be prevented to attain the desired results. The bain marie is used mainly in chemistry and cooking, particularly in the making of sweets, but many other industries use the bain marie to manufacture their products as well.
There are 2 types of bain maries - dry heat or wet heat. In wet units, dishes sit over a bath of heated water while in dry units the elements heat the air beneath the dishes. The temperature is set by thermostatic or simmerstat control. Thermostat controlled bain maries are the most suitable choice for holding hot food such as fillings, toppings and sauces as the correct temperature is very important for storage of cooked food. The simmerstat does not maintain food temperature but controls power output. When using a simmerstat controlled unit, more frequent temperature checks are required. Low temperatures are dangerous whereas excessive temperatures waste energy and overcook the food.
A typical use for the bain marie in cooking is melting chocolate. Since the boiling point of water is 212° Fahrenheit (100° Celsius), the chocolate in the bain marie cannot heat above this temperature. Melting chocolate over a direct flame would be very difficult and would most likely result in a burnt, unusable product. In chemistry, the results of using a regular pot when a bain marie is indicated could be even more disastrous. A bain marie also helps the substance in the smaller pot heat at a more even temperature than would be possible over a direct flame.