I just discovered this site and hope to get an answer to something I've been wondering about since Dec 24th when I got a chance to finally make my traditional pumpkin cheesecake for Christmas after a few years "break". I used to make it in a regular gas oven and it always came out perfect. Then my oven broke and I have now replaced it with a countertop convection oven. Baking the cheesecake in it poses some challenges since fitting a pan large enough to hold the water for the waterbath and the springform pan is a bit tricky.
I managed it eventually and the cheesecake came out OK but not as good as in the old gas oven. What I noticed was that the section above the waterline set a little denser than that below, which was more fluffy. I prefer the cheesecake to be dense so this led me to wonder:
How crucial is the waterbath? Can cheesecake be made without the waterbath entirely?
The other thing that happened was that the top of the cheesecake toasted faster die to the closeness of the springform to the heating elements. I did lower the heat and the cooking time a bit since I was using the convection feature for it, but still got the slightly toasty top. Not sure how to avoid this except for perhaps covering the springform with tin foil for the first 1/2 hour. Any ideas?