Eachna, that's exactly how I bake my cheesecakes and you're right......they come out beauifully! Never a crack and ohhhh soooo creamy!! When I baked my first cheesecake, I didn't know about the water bath and it turned out cracked. Then I watched Alton Brown make his sour cream cheesecake and he bakes it in a water bath. That became my new way to bake cheesecakes and none have cracked since. I follow all of the details you described above in your last paragraph.
3/31/14 at 8:34am