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Water Baths???

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have been researching cheesecakes for the last couple of days and what my question is "why do some recipes state a water bath and some do not?" I have made creme brulees in waterbaths which is no problem just curious as to why some state a waterbath for cheesecake and others don't. Cheesecake is a custard just like the brulee.

Rgds Rook
post #2 of 21

Water Bath

Water baths are important since the steam will naturally moisturize the top of your cheescake preventing cracking, it also helps distribute the heat in your cheesecake to ensure proper cooking. This concept is also for Creme brulee except the cracking part.
post #3 of 21
If the oven temp is very, very low you don't need a water bath. Without seeing the recipes it would be my guess that those that don't call for a water bath bake longer at lower temps. Some people just don't think a water bath is necessary, that could also be the case.
post #4 of 21

Water Bath

I guess that means just follow the recipe haha.:roll:
post #5 of 21
For cheesecakes baked without a graham cracker crust (ie, a sweetdough base) I like to use a waterbath as this virtually gurantees me a crack-free top. For the cheesecakes baked with a graham crust bottom and sides, I'll bake them, and do some "plastic surgery" to fix up the cracks when the cake cools down.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #6 of 21

Sweetdough Base

When you say sweetdough base do you mean something like a basic pie dough? Cuz I think that piedough tends to be a bit hard and without enough flavour so I thin you might have a different recipe that more tender and flavourful for your base could you share it with me :)
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Go here if this link does not have it try this one I know one of these sites has the dough that foodpump is referring to I think.

Oh and Foodpump for the record the cheesecake had graham cracker crust I appreciate everyone clearing that up for me thanks.
post #8 of 21
The water bath slows the raise in the internal temperature of the cheesecake.

As the cheesecake is really just a fancy custard, you shouldn't be surprised that you've already compared them with cremes brules.

When baking a custard, there's a temperature point at which the custard goes from wonderful to irretrievably broken. Without a water bath, the temperature can easily go beyond "done" to "destroyed" before you know it. Also, by having the temperature raise slowly, the difference between the "done" temperature and the "destroyed" temperature is greatly increased.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks CC that really makes sense I like your explanation of it I will have to remember that.

Rgds Rook
post #10 of 21


Thx for the site cake:chef: O rite I was looking at on eof their recipes for french cheesecake and the ingredients leave me a bit confused..
1 pound Cream Cheese
1/2 pound French Cheese -- *
1/3 cup Sugar -- Granulated
1 tablespoon Unbleached Flour
4 each Eggs; Large -- Separated
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
1 teaspoon Real Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoon Confectioners Sugar

Exactly what is this French Cheese they talk about??
post #11 of 21

Dry vs Wet heat


I don't know if it's been addressed yet...(my eyeballs are spinning from work...GOOD work, but still...)

There is a serious difference between dry heat and wet heat.

You ever pick up a hot pan with a damp towel? It's almost like you picked it up with your bare hands! Water conducts not only electricity but heat and it does it very well.

Being a type of custard/cheese/egg mix cheesecake is very sensitive to lack of moisture.

When you dry bake a cheesecake, the operative word is 'dry'. Dry heat removes the existing moisture from the air as well as the surface of the food that you are cooking faster than the inside. Hence the cracking because the outside insulates the inside.

I suppose baking in a water bath could be considered similar to air poaching. Like other posts mentioned, it cooks slower because the water absorbes the heat and adds hot moisture into the air. The surface doesn't have a chance to dry out before the inside is cooked.

Hope this leads to more insight on the topic. I've got to go attend to a puppy...

post #12 of 21
mm, , I also watch the different between cooked cheesecake with waterbath and without. notice: same recipe. that will make a big difference in the final result also the cake after 3-5 days. the texture is importance
my suggest the best result for cheese cake is with waterbath. except brownie cheese cake, cheese strudel, cheese cookies,
as I know cheese ck need long time to baked, and to keep moist and smooth texture cheese cake need to absorbt the moist from waterbath.
OK, hope it can help u.
post #13 of 21

Even cooking

I agree with the moisture issue. I think it makes a difference. But I think the biggest least for me... is the evenness of texture in the cheesecake itself. Just like creme brulee, you want the same texture on the inner part and the outer edges. Often we get a really nice smooth creaminess in the center but the outer edges get a little dry and grainy.

As many know from eating cheesecake all our lives that is actually quite rare to get that kind of consistancy. It is very difficult to achieve in creme brulee much less cheese cakes which are quite a bit larger. I firmly believe that a water bath helps achieve this evenness of texture.

I still cook low and slow, though. Ive always felt that to be a good cheesecake maker you must be a very patient person. It takes patience to allow all your ingredients to come to room temp. It takes patients to add eggs extremely slowly and to constantly stop and scrape the bowl. And it also takes patients to let them cook low and slow in a hot water bath. But I have found that all this patients pays off.

BTW I also like to loosely cover my cheesecakes. I suspect this might help retain moisture and aid in even cooking. But I KNOW that it prevents browning. I usually have to remove the cover 15 or so minutes before they're done for them to truly set up.

Well that's my 2 cents worth on cheesecakes.

post #14 of 21
We sell a few.
Water bath. 4.5 lbs. no cracks.
Recipes are not worth much to me unless the specify the type and brand of cream cheese. There is a vast difference between brands. Not all recipes can use any.
We use a moister cheese and a modified starch. This caps the rise and slows the decent.
post #15 of 21
The french cheese most likely refers to neufchatel, a white soft cheese from Normandy. Apparently some varieties of this cheese resembles cream cheese. As for the continuing conversations regarding water baths, water can only go up to 100 degrees celsius/212 fahrenheit (may vary by a few degrees depending on the mineral and salt content of your local tap water), unlike the 300+ you get in the surrounding air so it promotes a cooking temperature closer to your ideal custard's final temperature. Also, for the reasons listed above.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
post #16 of 21
Sorry, I was not refering to your recipe. I was actually refering to the different brands of cream cheese locally offered. ie. Philly,Raskus.etc.
I went to adding some starch many years ago. Like you say in your last post, I like to think that we are actually setting the custard at a lower temp rather then baking at a higher temp. No bragging but we have the simplest recipe, nothing special, but the way in which we bake has won us a couple of contests.
gearing up to do 1000+ pumpkin ChCake in the next week:eek:
post #17 of 21
You know, me and my boss both have had trouble with water seeping into the cheesecakes through the springform pan, even though we double wrap it with foil before baking in the water bath. Such a pain. So, I switched to a recipe that doesn't use a water bath, just to avoid the hassle, and it turns out well as long as I keep a REALLY close eye on it the last few minutes and don't bake it too long to avoid cracking. BUT - this discussion got me wondering if maybe I could use the steam setting on our convection oven at work to help add moisture to the oven atmosphere without screwing with a water bath to achieve the same or similar effect. We can adjust the settings from no moisture to lots of moisture, but I haven't been brave enough to try it on one of my cheesecakes yet. Has anyone tried this? :confused:
post #18 of 21

Sonny's Cheesecake Bakery

:chef::chef:Hi, I can give you all the knowhow for the best creamy cheesecake you may wish, just email me at
post #19 of 21
I work with several excellent spring form pans, and several "leaky" springforms .... when I have to do a larger batch needing the use of the crappy pans as well, I'll put them in a hotel pan on a screen/rack/whatever y'all wanna call them, fill the water level to the screen (not quite touching the bottom of the cake pan), cover whole pan with foil, bake 25-35 minutes, then remove the foil and finish baking - it ain't perfect, but it works well enough (and you can only work with you have at your disposal :(, eh? )
Bakers - we make a lot of dough, but not so much money
Bakers - we make a lot of dough, but not so much money
post #20 of 21

LaForme Sping pans. no leaking !!!

post #21 of 21

What else can you bathe in....I couldn't resist.


Its the steaming action of the bath that is required for the product to cook properly. Do a test and you will see the difference. However, if you rmove the cake before it is doen and allow the top to crack it lends to infusing favored toppings into the cake. It sells well so I do it.

Good luck Happy 4th to all

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