So you would love to make a cheesecake. But one thing is holding you back. The dreaded water bath! I know. I held off for a long time from making a cheesecake for this very reason. But then I decided I was going to bite the bullet and go for it. I did some research, and my number 1 question was, of course, “Do you have to water bath cheesecake?”
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Do You Have To Water Bath Cheesecake?
Honestly, the answer is no. But if you want a cheesecake that is creamy, smooth with no cracks, less chance of overbaking, then you will want to water bath your cheesecake as it is baking.
There is one alternative. Set a pan of boiling water on the rack below your cheesecake in the oven. This will give you that steamy, humid environment without actually putting your pan of cheesecake batter into the water. Many swear by this method.
I didn’t feel that it worked as well as the actual water bath. I have used both methods, and I prefer the actual water bath. Of course, it’s a lot more work, but the results are so much more satisfying.
What Is A Waterbath?
No, you are not immersing that delicate cheesecake directly in water. But it does sound like it, doesn’t it? You are actually putting your pan of cheesecake batter into a little bigger pan and then filling that second pan with boiling water. It is also known as a bain-marie.
This creates a steamy, humid oven environment that prevents your cheesecake from drying out on top, which causes cracks, and insulates the cheesecake, protecting it from drastic temperature changes. The water bath will also help with preventing overbaking. A water bath ensures slow and even baking.
If you use a springform pan when making your cheesecake, then you need to wrap the pan to protect the cheesecake from water seepage. A springform pan has a removable bottom, and this can cause water to seep in and make your crust soggy.
Your pans should be in the oven when you add the boiling water, so using a kettle will save you not only in messes but the chance of burning yourself.
What Can I Use For A Water Bath?
Any deep pan that is at least an inch bigger in diameter than your springform pan. It needs to be deep enough that when you add the boiling water, it reaches at least halfway up your springform pan.
A deep cake pan or a roasting pan are good choices. And if you are wondering, yes, you can use glass pans. An ideal fit is a pan that allows a snug fit. I mean at least an inch of room around the springform pan. But unfortunately, that is not always feasible.
I could not find any of my roasting pans that allowed this. They were either too big or too small. I couldn’t find that “perfect fit. But I finally found this large deep-dish pizza pan. It was a tad large, but it worked!!
How Do You Waterproof a Springform Pan?
One method is wrapping the springform pan in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Watch the video below.
Using heavy-duty foil doesn’t always work. Somehow, the water can find its way into your springform pan, and then you have a soggy crust. All that work for nothing!
My daughter uses crock pot liners. But then, not everyone uses crockpot liners and has them on hand.
Another way is to use a cake pan just an inch larger than your springform pan.
But I came across this wonderful gadget during my research and knew that I had to try it. A silicone springform pan wrap. It worked great! So, instead of searching through my cabinets for pans, buying crockpot liners, or the hassle of wrapping my pan in foil, I can just reach in and grab this handy dandy little gadget.
It has a line on the side as a guide to where the boiling water should be.
I got mine from Amazon. You can check the price here.
Do you need to water bath cheesecake? The answer is no. But if you want a cheesecake that is evenly baked, with no cracks and less chance of overbaking, then you really do need to water bath that cheesecake. There is nothing more frustrating than spending all that time and cost on the ingredients to end up with a cheesecake that is not only overbaked but with cracks as well.
A water bath provides a steamy, humid environment for your cheesecake to ensure slow and even baking, preventing cracks and overbaking.
You will need to waterproof your springform pan from water seepage, either with heavy-duty foil wrapped around your pan, a cake pan just a little larger than your springform pan, crock pot liners, or silicone springform pan wrap.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of waterproofing your pan, you can set a pan of boiling water on the oven rack just below your baking cheesecake. Remember to use a kettle when adding your boiling water.
I hope you found this article helpful in your cheesecake-baking adventure. Don’t let water bathing your cheesecake stop you. Go ahead and bake that delicious dessert.
Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts. I love hearing from you.
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I’m Taianne, the owner and operator behind We Are Baking. Baking my first cake at age 11 hooked me on creating sweet treats. Though my interest faded during childhood, it was rekindled when I married my apple pie-loving husband. I love trying new recipes, tweaking classics, and helping others learn the science and art of baking. I started We Are Baking to share tips, tricks, and favorite recipes I’ve discovered over the years. When not in the kitchen, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. My goal is to inspire others to embrace their creativity through baking. Feel free to contact me with any questions!