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My water bath ALWAYS leaks!

LAcupcake Feb 7, 2008 08:24 AM

I always use a water bath for cheesecakes in my spring form pan and I follow the standard directions: wrap well with foil, pour hot water into large surrounding pan after placing on oven rack. No matter how well I wrap the pan and how careful I am with the pouring a small amount of water seeps in and my crust is soggy. What am I doing wrong? Is there some nuance to the art of the water bath that is completely escaping me?

  1. n
    Nyleve Feb 7, 2008 08:32 AM

    Buy a roll of heavy duty foil - the wide industrial-size kind. Be very careful wrapping the springform pan, so as not to pierce the foil. Make sure it comes high enough up the sides that water doesn't splash over the edge and down toward the base. I don't think there's anything more finicky than that about a water bath. It's all about being obsessively careful in preparing the pan.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nyleve
      chowser Feb 7, 2008 08:57 AM

      I use heavy duty aluminum wrap, too. The extra long one so it comes up to the sides and I use 2-3 sheets to be on the safe side. I hate the waste but it's better than leaking.


      I have to laugh that Amazon paired heavy duty wrap w/ the Bourne Ultimatum as a "better together" item.

    2. QueenB Feb 7, 2008 08:33 AM

      Don't use a springform pan. No, seriously.

      Use a regular heavy-duty cake pan with high sides, make sure you grease it really well...I mean REALLY well. You can put a parchment circle in the bottom and grease that too. Prepare your crust, but only put it on the bottom, not the sides of the pan. Bake in waterbath as usual.

      Let cool completely overnight in the pan. When ready to unmold, run a knife along the edge, then dip in hot water for just a few seconds. Invert onto a plate, and whack it a few good times all around. It should come out if you've greased your pan really well. Invert again onto another plate. Press crumbs onto side if you want to make it look like a crust, or serve as is.

      I have yet to find a way to use a springform and not have it leak.

      5 Replies
      1. re: QueenB
        curiousbaker Feb 7, 2008 09:21 AM

        Yup. (I usually throw it in the freezer for an hour or so before unmolding - if the very top is slightly frozen, it won't stick to the plate you invert it on.)

        1. re: QueenB
          violabratsche Feb 7, 2008 10:31 AM

          I have done this and it worked well, but I lined the base of the pan with a parchment paper circle, and under the circle, I placed 2 long strips of parchment, to help me lift it out of the pan.


          1. re: violabratsche
            LAcupcake Feb 7, 2008 02:28 PM

            This is a really great idea (especially the lifting strips). I'll plan on trying my next cheesecake in a regular pan. I had no idea people even did this!

          2. re: QueenB
            Nyleve Feb 7, 2008 04:01 PM

            I think it could at least partly have to do with the springform pan also. Some of them are tighter than others.

            1. re: Nyleve
              chef chicklet Feb 8, 2008 08:40 AM

              Thats my thought too, I make quiche in my springform pans and wrap with regular foil or heavy whichever I grab first. Try testing your pan...

          3. toodie jane Feb 7, 2008 09:18 AM

            You can place the dry cake pan into a larger pan, fill with hot water to the correct level, THEN remove , fill, and wrap the cake pan. NOW place it in the water bath pan which is already on the oven shelf. Push shelf carefully into the oven.
            After baking, use an baster to carefully remove some water so it won't slosh onto the cake when removing from water bath.

            Water baths are a PITA, but so worth it. I made a bread pudding this a.m., heavy on the custard, using a water bath. The difference in texture is amazing. The custard was like a fragile creme brulee and the bread pieces were light and soft. I always use a water bath when dealing with an egg-rich pudding or cheesecake.

            1. k
              Kelli2006 Feb 7, 2008 09:21 AM

              I don't like baking cheesecakes in a spring-form pan as the preparation required is annoying. I bake all my cheesecakes in the high-sided aluminum Wilton cake pans or similar. The bottom of the pans do have to be lined with parchment that is cut to fit, but you never have to worry about a leaker.

              Cool the cheesecakes at least 6 hours, and then place is a shallow bowl/sink of hot water for 1 minute to liquefy any butter that got under the parchment. I carefully run a parking knife around the side, and flip over on a cake round.

              1. MsDiPesto Feb 7, 2008 09:28 AM

                If I don't have wide foil on hand, or even sometimes with it, depending on which pan I use, I join two pieces together by folding one edge of each piece (about a one inch fold), joining those together so one edge is under the other, then make a few more folds, and it's watertight.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MsDiPesto
                  violabratsche Feb 7, 2008 10:33 AM

                  I was just about to suggest that. Multiple folds, the same as doing foil cooking on the BBQ.


                2. 4
                  4chowpups Feb 7, 2008 12:16 PM

                  I read a recipe from Nigella Lawson that said to put plastic wrap around the springform pan first then heavy duty foil. The foil protects the plastic from melting. I tried it on a chocolate hazelnut ganache cake at Xmas and it worked well. I'd like to try using the cake pan though!!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: 4chowpups
                    LAcupcake Feb 7, 2008 02:27 PM

                    That's good to know. I was actually going to ask if that's safe to do as it's occured to me before but I was unsure whether or not it would ruin the pan (and/or the cheesecake). Thanks for the info!

                    1. re: 4chowpups
                      chef chicklet Feb 8, 2008 08:41 AM

                      great idea here too!

                    2. s
                      Spade Feb 8, 2008 09:36 AM

                      Same problem. I finally figured out that the water was getting in through condensation between the pan and foil. Tightly sealing the foil around the sides of the pan (using multiple layers) does help, but a little water always seems to condense in there and make the crust a bit soggy. However, I've said the hell with water baths, as they are a pain. I just use a low oven (sub 225) for creme brulees, cheesecakes, etc. I learned that trick from this blog entry here: http://chubbyhubby.net/blog/?p=311 (it shows how to unmold (!) a creme brulee too)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Spade
                        chowser Feb 8, 2008 10:48 AM

                        I've made a cheescake overnight at 200 degrees. It turned out creamy and no cracks.


                        1. re: chowser
                          Kelli2006 Feb 8, 2008 10:59 AM

                          Thanks for the recipe. I have heard of this method, but I have never tried it.

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