One of the most important pieces of equipment for making candles is a double boiler. It is important because it gives you more control over the temperature of your wax and prevents the wax from reaching its flashpoint.
What is a double boiler for candles? A double boiler for candles consists of two pots stacked atop one another. The double boiler features one large pot filled with boiling water and a small pot inside the other one. The smaller pot uses the heat transferred by the water to melt wax for candle making.
The double boiler produces indirect heat, making it easier for you to prepare candle wax that may be delicate or susceptible to hot temperatures. The heat is less intense, as it does not entail a direct flame.
How does a double boiler for candles work? A double boiler works by transferring heat through the water rather than by direct contact or steam. This is beneficial because it limits the temperature of what you are heating to 212Â°F, which is the maximum temperature for water before it becomes steam.
But the design only works if you have a proper material that supports the heating process without causing what’s on top to get in direct contact with the flame.
Double Boiler Uses
Double boilers have many uses, but we will mostly be discussing the candle making uses of a double boiler. However, double boilers have many other uses when it comes to cooking.
What is a double boiler used for? Double boilers are used mainly for candle making, liquid-based foods, including gravy, chocolate mixtures, and various sauces. The double boiler will prepare the wax and these sensitive foods in the safest possible way.
Various foods like these may be sensitive to direct heat and intense conditions, mainly if they include sugars and fats. The double boiler allows the heat you need to slowly come out, helping you cook your foods with ease.
For example, gravy or chocolate can develop improper textures if placed under direct heat. The texture becomes lumpy and thick, making it harder for you to use in some recipes. But a double boiler keeps the heat under control, warming the food without creating any unusual textures.
The gentle heat allows the sensitive food to stay warm and for all the necessary ingredients to stay fully cooked and ready for preparation.
Making A Double Boiler For Candles
You can make a double boiler in your home right now if you have the proper materials. You’ll require two pans for the process, although you could use other items if you wish.
How To Make A Double Boiler For Candles
- Prepare a large pot for the bottom. This pot is the one you will add your water to as necessary.
- Look for a second pot to put on top of the other one. The second pot should be slightly smaller than the first one, but still large enough to where it won’t sink into the other pot and come in direct contact with the hot water. You can test the design before you start to see if the second pot can safely stay in its place.
- Add a small insert over the large pot if you need to keep the smaller one in its place without shaking around. The insert can feature a metal or glass body and will transfer the heat from the more massive pot to the smaller one without the small unit coming in direct contact with the heat.
- You can start preparing your wax after you have a suitable boiler ready. You can add the hot water to the lower pot and then the wax you are preparing in the upper one.
You can experiment with many things when getting your double boiler ready. The key is to find something that prepares a steady body and gives you more control over your heating and preparation experience.
Double Boiler Equipment
You can use a full array of items as your double boiler:
What Can I Use As a Double Boiler?
1: Metal or Glass Bowl Atop a Pot or Saucepan
A metal or glass bowl can work on top of a pot or saucepan. The bowl should feature a small base that can cradle itself over the body of the pot or saucepan. Both parts should feature handles to help you keep them in control when setting up your boiler.
2: Pyrex Bowl or Container
You can also use a Pyrex bowl or container that you can find at various stores that sell kitchen products. Pyrex is a tempered glass brand that is stronger than traditional glass and can handle greater temperature shifts. It is also fire-resistant, although you should still be cautious when using it for your double boiler. Not all Pyrex items can handle direct flames, although they can manage intense heat. Some Pyrex products are also thicker than glass bowls, so it may take extra time to heat whatever you prepare.
3: Double Boiler Insert Above a Pot or Pan
A double boiler insert will feature a colander-shaped body, but it won’t feature any holes. The insert will feature a body that progressively gets narrower as it goes down, providing coverage for multiple pots or pans. You can use this insert as the top part of the double boiler, although the inside should be easy to use without too many edges getting in the way of its design.
Common Uses of a Double Boiler
You can use your double boiler for many purposes:
- Melt chocolate while keeping its texture smooth
- Warm sauces like hollandaise, creme Anglaise, and others
- Prepare gravy
- Cook custard; the double boiler prevents the custard from forming a crust on the outside
- Steam vegetables; be sure the water on the bottom part of the boiler comes to a boil before you add the vegetables on top
- Re-liquefy hardened honey
- Prepare scrambled eggs; you can boil milk and a bit of butter at the start and then whip the eggs and add them to your boiler
- Keep foods warm for a little longer, especially if you’re going to be serving them for a while
Putting Water In A Double Boiler
You must ensure you add the right amount of water to your double boiler for it to work well.
How much water do you put in a double boiler? Add two to three inches of water to the bottom pot or pan depending on if you are using a spacer between the bottom pan and the top pan. At least two inches of water should be touching the top pan in your double boiler.
Watch how the top pan enters the lower one when preparing your double boiler. The top part should not be touching the bottom one. The heat transfer rate shouldn’t be too significant when using your double boiler, especially since the heat may be too intense at times.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use two pots as a double boiler. As long as you are using water to heat the top pan rather than through direct contact you can use a variety of containers to make a double boiler.
A double boiler cannot explode unless you are using a type of glass that is not suggested for high-temperature applications or the top pan is too large and begins trapping steam within between the containers.
If you do not have a double boiler or the equipment to make one then your only option is to use a hot plate or presto pot that gives you the ability to control the temperature within the range of 200Â°F.
Here is an alternative to a double boiler from Amazon.
You need a double boiler to avoid damaging your wax or cooking off too much fragrance oil. Overheating your wax can cause discoloration, cracking, frosting, and wet spots.
In conclusion, double boilers are incredibly important to the candle making process unless you prefer buying a presto pot or a hot plate with adjustable temperature control.
You can use a few of your old pans, buy a few pans at the flea market or visit your local Goodwill store to find a great deal on some pans for your double boiler.
If you are serious about candle making finding the right candle making equipment is worth the investment.