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Dry Steaming

Cooking foods in a vessel that is suspended in another one containing boiling water constitutes the cooking method known as dry steaming. The double boiler is a cooking utensil devised especially for carrying on this process. The food placed in the suspended, or inner, vessel does not reach the boiling point, but is cooked by the transfer of heat from the water in the outside, or lower, vessel. A decided advantage of this method is that no watching is required except to see that the water in the lower vessel does not boil away completely, for as long as there is water between the food and the fire, the food will neither boil nor burn.

Because of the nature of certain foods, cooking them by this process is especially desirable. The flavor and consistency of cereals and foods containing starch are greatly improved by long cooking in this way. Likewise, custards and mixtures containing eggs can be conveniently cooked in a double boiler, because they do not require a high temperature; in fact, their texture is spoiled if they are cooked at the boiling point. To heat milk directly over the flame without scorching it is a difficult matter, and, on the other hand, boiled milk is hard to digest. Because of these facts, food containing milk should not be boiled, but should be cooked at a lower temperature in a double boiler.

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Source

Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Volume 1.


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