Cheesecakes are simple and easy to prepare however does require some basic skills. Here are are few tips for you to make that perfect cheesecake.
Baking Equipment / Tools
There are not many different tools or equipment that is required to make cheesecakes with the exception of a “Springform” pan and ideally an electric mixer.
Using a springform pan makes it much more simple to serve cheesecakes once it is prepared and fully cooled. Just remove the latch at the side and carefully lift the side away from the cheesecake. If you have rubbed butter or cooking oil along the inside prior to baking you should be left with a nice finish around the sides. You may also want to line the bottom plate of the springform pan with foil then reassemble to prevent any batter from leaking or if there seems to be a secure fit you may want to just place some foil on the lowest rack of the oven to prevent any batter burning the bottom of your oven.
The most important thing you must remember when making a cheesecake is don’t use cream cheese or eggs straight from the fridge! For the best cheesecake it is best that your ingredients are at room temperature. Using cold cream cheese will also lead to over mixing.
Be sure to select the right cream cheese and don’t skimp on fat content. Reduced fat cream cheeses might prevent the cheesecake from setting properly due to fillers in the reduced fat and nonfat options.
When mixing the ingredients it is important not to mix the batter longer than is necessary. To prevent over beating your ingredients should be at room temperature. Using cold cream cheese will lead to over mixing. Over mixing or “whipping” will create too much air in the batter that will form bubbles and can cause cracking of the cake surface.
It is best to beat the cream cheese by itself until it is smooth before adding other ingredients.
Once all ingredients are added mix just until creamy and all lumps are gone.
It’s difficult to tell if the cheesecake is done and may appear underdone. Cheesecakes that are over baked that will result in cracking. Do not open and close the oven door. Cheesecakes are generally cooked when the sides are set and a little puffy. The center may wiggle a bit. You can also insert a toothpick in the center and check if done – center should be slightly moist when ready to be removed from the oven. Remember, the cheesecake will settle once cooled.
Cooling the Cheesecake
Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack for approximately two hours – do NOT put it directly in the refrigerator. Cheesecakes need to cool slowly. Once the cheesecake is cooled you can then place in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
When you remove the cheesecake it is advisable to loosen the cake from the edge of the pan by running the tip of a knife or small spatula between the edge of the cake and the pan.
After the cheesecake has completely cooled you can gently and “carefully” remove the springform pan. However, if you don’t plan on serving the cheesecake for a day or two you should leave the latched part of the springform pan attached until ready. It is also advisable to add the topping just prior to serving.
How to Slice a Cheesecake
Using a large sharp knife cut the cheesecake by cutting right through it all the to the plate. Do not slice or “saw” the cheesecake. After each slice rinse the knife in hot water, dry and cut another slice.
Cheesecakes may be frozen up to 3 months. Be sure to double wrap in plastic.
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