A cooking technique in which a large container of food is placed in a shallow pan of warm water. The pan can be inserted into a hot oven or left on top of a stove. The water surrounds the food with gentle heat, ensuring that the delicate dish inside doesn't break, crack, or curdle. Food can also be kept warm in the same manner. Custards, sauces, mousses, cheesecakes, etc. are cooked in water baths. Sometimes the technique is referred to by its French name, bain marie.
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