Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baking Cheesecake


I like to bake cheese cake. Cheese cake is kind of my signature dessert. I bake it for gifts, fundraisers, birthdays, and holidays (and once in awhile, just for funzies). I will let you in on a little secret..........making (and baking a cheesecake) is very easy. When I decided to conquer # whatever on my bucket list, and try my hand at making a real, live baked in the oven level 5 (in my head) dessert; I did a little research. Now I will let you in on another secret. To get a perfect cheesecake, you need to water bath it. Water bathing will give you a light, fluffy cheesecake without cracks in the top. To water bath a dessert in the oven, simply means that:
  • You place a rack in the bottom of a pan larger than your spring form pan. I use four canning jar lids placed in a "circle".
  • You place the spring form pan (or dessert mold) on the rack in the pan.
  • Fill the larger pan with a couple inches of warm water.
  • To make it easier I place the large pan on the oven rack before I fill it with water (just don't pour water on the cheesecake batter).
  • Always remember to step back when you open the oven door to retrieve your cheesecake. The steam build up will melt you mascara if you are standing to close (I learned the hard way!)
Water bathing will also produce a soggy, wet crust (because some water will seep into the bottom of the spring form pan). To remedy this little problem, most recipes will tell you to cover the bottom of the spring form pan with  a double layer of aluminum foil. That has been my usually method, but it's kind of wasteful to use that much foil, and I have still had the soggy crust issue. However, I was reading in a Cook's Illustrated magazine (love, love, LOVE Cook's Illustrated), that if you use an oven roasting bag instead of aluminum foil, it eliminates the soggy crust problem. I tried it a couple of days ago, and it worked great. The best part is, that if you hang the oven bag up to dry when your done, you can reuse it for the same purpose; later.

Open up the oven bag (I used the large size that will hold up to an 8 pound roast), and roll down the sides of the bag. Place the spring form pan in the center of the bag. Roll the sides up a couple of inches above the rim of the pan.


Place the covered spring form pan on the rack in the larger pan. Fill the larger pan up with a couple inches of warm water. Use warm water! Cold water will cause a temperature fluctuation that affects the baking time, and it could shatter the glass pan.


It is amazing how finding a handy, dandy tip in a magazine makes life a little easier!  Now that I have inspired you all to add cheesecake baking to your bucket list, you can find my tried and true recipe HERE. I guarantee that you will be the hit of the party if you "whip" one up for your next get together. Not to mention you will achieve mythical status among friends and family (No one has to know how easy it is)!  Happy baking!

3 comments:

  1. I agree...a water bath is an absolute MUST when baking a cheesecake! Thanks for sharing the oven bag tip. I am SO trying that next time, because sometimes the foil still does leak...

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  2. Try making it in a pressure cooker instead sometime. Takes 15 minutes at 15 pounds of pressure with a natural release (ie take it off the heat but let it cool down on its own.. about 5-7 minutes). Put it on a tall trivet if you have one. If not, use a couple of tin cans with the top and bottoms removed and a maybe a couple of holes punched in the sides just to be safe. No water bath -- it's cooking in superheated steam.

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