Thursday, August 25, 2016

8 Secrets for Baking the Perfect Cheesecake

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Cheesecakes are such scrumptious desserts. What's more, they are EASY . . . in many ways, easier than a pie. If you have trouble with pie, bake a cheesecake. Cheesecakes are perfect for entertaining. Did you see Amy's AMAZING recipe tutorial for Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake?  It's a must-see because she guides you step by step.  But let's talk about some other secret tips for baking the perfect cheesecake!


Secret #1
A cheesecake is a custard, not a cake. As a custard, the cheesecake should be thick, rich and creamy. As with any custard, a cheesecake relies on the proteins in the eggs to give it structure. The proteins coagulate as the temperature approaches 160 degrees. If it over bakes, the custard becomes dry.

Secret #2
A long, slow bake allows for a more uniform internal temperature. Never bake over 350 degrees. We prefer a dark pan to uniformly absorb heat, not a reflective pan.

Secret #3
Don't over bake your cheesecake. Most cheesecakes are over baked and they tend to be dry, not creamy. An over baked cheesecake tends to crack. The cheesecake is baked when it is still jiggly but not soupy. The top of the cheesecake will jiggle as a whole and the center two inches will look softer. If the top is doing anything but just starting to blush a golden color, you have probably over baked the cheesecake. Do not stick a knife or a toothpick in the center. It is not a reliable test and it may precipitate a crack.

Secret #4
Slowly beat the cream cheese until it is soft and smooth. It's easier to make a smooth mixture of the cream cheeses if you start with softened cream cheese. Take the cream cheese from the refrigerator at least an hour before mixing. Beat the cheese with the paddle attachment, not the whip.

Secret #5
Mix the ingredients into the cream cheese; don't whip the ingredients. If too much air is incorporated into the filling, the cheesecake will puff when baked and sink as it cools. With too much air incorporated into the filling, cracks are likely to develop.

Secret #6
Custards tend to be soft and may weep. To give your cheesecake more structure, consider adding one to two tablespoons of cornstarch or flour. For a creamier cheesecake, leave the starch out.

Secret #7
Cheesecakes primarily rely on eggs for the structure. Not only does the egg mixture have to reach 160 to 170 degrees to coagulate, but the filling must have enough eggs. In our experience, one egg per eight-ounce package of cream cheese plus a little milk, sour cream, or cream is about right.

Secret #8
Cheesecakes are easier to remove from a pan after they have cooled slightly. Let the cheesecake cool for ten minutes and then with a spatula or thin-bladed knife, run the blade between the cake and the pan. If you let the cheesecake cool for any longer than that, it may start to contract and, with the cake stuck to the pan, crack. A nonstick pan not only makes the release easier but may help keep the cheesecake from cracking.

It's much easier to remove using this flexible Silicone Springform Pan

*Thanks to The Prepared Pantry for these expert cheesecake tips!

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