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If you’re new to baking or have never tried it before, baking with a water bath may seem like an unnecessary hassle.
Perhaps, the words “water bath” may have made you refrain from trying a recipe right away.
The truth is, all you need is some boiling water and a separate, larger pan. This extra step takes no more than a few additional minutes, but it does wonders for your resultant bakes.
There are two major benefits of using a water bath in your bakes.
The steam from the water bath creates a moist environment inside the oven. This is important for delicate bakes like cheesecakes, souffles, terrines, and chiffon cakes. Without added moisture, the surface tends to dry out while the inside is still expanding, which leads to unsightly cracks.
Utilising a water bath helps you ensure a smooth, crack-free top.
Compared to the direct dry heat of your oven, heat is transferred to your baked goods more gently. The water surrounding your cake pan will never get hotter than 100°C no matter how hot the oven is, which helps in regulating the heat.
Using room-temperature or cold water will affect the oven temperature and baking time, even leading to underbaked cakes and desserts.
Halfway to two-thirds up the baking pan should be enough.
Be very careful as you fill your pan with hot water. You don’t want it to splash into your batter and ruin it. This is also why you should not fill the larger pan to the brim.
This method is advantageous for custard-based bakes like crème brûlée, quiche, soufflés, and terrines. They contain a lot of eggs, which makes them very prone to curdling and turning rubbery if directly exposed to high heat!
Here are some baked goods that will benefit greatly from the use of a water bath. Even if your recipe doesn’t tell you so, try to apply this method and see the difference!
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