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Create a Flawless Cheesecake with a Hot Water Bath

Posted by Katie Straw on Jan 21, 2013

Create a Flawless Cheesecake with a Hot Water Bath

Hey, it's okay that you want things to be perfect. Some may tell you that you're annoyingly meticulous, but other type-A personalities agree with you: there's something fantastic about achieving perfection. After all, it's not always easy. But while building the perfect house or crafting a flawless quilt may pose a decent sized challenge, creating the perfect cheesecake doesn't have to be difficult.

If this isn't your first time whipping up the classic dessert, maybe you already know a few tricks - like bringing all the mixing ingredients to room temperature or to use a springform pan. And while these tips often yield a perfectly delicious cheesecake, you want it to look perfect too. Of course, there's a trick to doing this: use a bath. A cheesecake bath is a fail-safe way to stop your dessert from cracking, as it keeps the oven moisture very high and makes the heat gentle on the cake, allowing it to cook more slowly and evenly. Why? Because the water will evaporate before it gets as hot as the oven, cooling the edges of the cake so that they bake at the same rate as the center.

Here's how:

  • Take a large pan - like one you might use for roasting - and make sure that it's at least 3 inches deep and is roomy enough that your cheesecake has a 1 ½ to 2 inch wide moat all the way around. Wrap the sides and bottom of your springform pan in aluminum foil to prevent water from getting into your cake. For best results, fill the pan with water that's hot - boiling even - about half way up the side of the cake. After you put it in the bath, bake the dessert as directed by whatever recipe you use.
  • When your timer dings, remove it from the oven and take it out of the water. Contrary to belief, there's no reason why your cheesecake should cool in a hot water bath after baking - it's already worked its magic. Let the dessert cool out on the counter sans water and then stick it in the fridge for at least 4 hours (but preferably overnight), and you've got a stellar cheesecake that's nothing shy of perfect.
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