Help--no water bath for my cheesecake
I am making a cheesecake that calls for baking at 375 for one hour in a water bath, and then turning off the heat and letting the cake sit in the oven for another hour. However, I don't have a large enough pan for the water bath. Any ideas for how I should modify the cooking time/temp, if at all?
I cannot be sure this will work... but I would put your cake in the upper third of the oven and put pans of water on the rack below.
The theory is that you will create a steam environment. I'd also lower the temp to 325 and cook it a bit longer.
The water bath creates a more even cooking temp. Your cake make have a harder/dryer bottom and sides.
Is there anything that is metal that you could use for a water bath? Improvise with something from the garage? A neighbor might have a roasting pan you can borrow?
I've run into the same problem many times when cooking in other people's homes. I've almost always been able to find a perforated broiler pan in these homes, which does the trick perfectly if you remove the top.
I do not think that steam is what a water bath is all about. It is more a buffer for gentle heating. But a water pan on a lower shelf is great for breads.
Please in terms of waterbath, think outside the box. Do you have a pot your cheesecake pan fits into, say a stock pot? A roasting pan? even a dollar store turkey roaster pan works. You just want the water to buffer how the heat hits the cheesecake pan and how slowly it then leaves as it sits. Just fill the water to 2/3s up the side of your cake (unless recipes says less or more) and go.
Helpful hint. Put water into bath after you have cake pan in outside pan and in oven, then fill to line with water. When you take it out of the oven, just remove cakepan. let water cool to room, then take the outside pan out of oven.
I've been baking cheesecakes for some time now and have never used a water bath. I follow Mary Crownover's recipes for the most part. Most of her recipes start the cheesecake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes then knock the temperature down to 200 or 225 for 1 hour. Some recipes are left in the oven after the heat is turned off; others are not.
For example, her New York Style Cheesecake (my personal favorite) is baked at 350 for 15 minutes then at 200 for 1 hour, 20 minutes. I've never had any cracking or uneven cooking. There are other recipes that call for 15 minutes at 350 and then 1 hour at 225. After the hour is up, turn off the oven and let it sit for a couple hours.
Thanks for all these suggestions. Unfortunately, I truly have nothing large enough to hold the (10 inch) pan, and don't know the neighbors well enough to borrow one. This may be a disaster--I actually took it out midway through cooking and tried to fit it into a wok--but it did not really fit, and all the jostling and temperature change can't have done it any good. I ended up cooking over a pan of water and lowering the temperature slightly, as Jennalynn suggested. Anyway, hopefully it will taste okay and the blueberry topping will hide any cracks. I will definitely invest in a roasting pan ASAP--for some reason I always thought that if I wasn't going to be roasting a turkey I'd have no need for a roasting pan...