Cheesecake should be relatively hassle-free but sometimes problems do occur. Over the years, we have been asked the following questions.
“What’s the easiest way to make cookies for my crust?”
Many people use a food processor; we don’t bother. We use a heavy duty zipper-like plastic bag and crush the crackers or cookies with a rolling pin a few at a time. We save the plastic bag for the next crust. If we are in a hurry, we use packaged graham crackers rather than crushing crackers.
“I have lumps in my cheesecake. How do I avoid those?”
Most likely the lumps come from globules of cream cheese in your batter. Before adding any of the other ingredients, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together until completely blended. The sugar crystals will break through the cream cheese cutting up the globules. In the oven heat, the sugar will dissolve further breaking up any pieces.
If your recipe calls for chocolate, either white or dark, the lumps could be chocolate. When the chocolate is mixed into the cool batter, it solidifies and creates lumps. To avoid that, make sure your melted chocolate is hot, well above the melting point. With your blender running, pour the hot chocolate into the batter. With the chocolate hotter, it will disperse before setting up.
“I bake my cheesecake for the time stated in the recipe and the center is still soft. What am I doing wrong?”
You are probably doing nothing wrong. Baking times in recipes are always estimates that can be affected by the temperature in your oven (temperatures are rarely calibrated properly), depth of batter, whether the pan is light or dark (there are dark pans bake faster), how cold your batter is. , and other factors. Don’t worry about the time and just bake it until it’s done. (See next question.)
“How do I tell when my cheesecake is made?”
There are three ways. You can gently shake the cheeseburger. If only the center is still jiggly, it’s done. This is not very precise but in practice, you can get good with this method.
The most common way is to stick a knife in the batter about one inch from the center. If done, it will come out clean.
The most accurate way to tell when a cheeseburger is made is with an internally read thermometer. Stick the probe in the middle of the cheeseburger and see what it reads. Cheesecake is made when the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. That’s when the proteins in the eggs coagulate.
“How do I prevent my cheesecake from cracking?”
Crackless cheese topping seems to be the ultimate measure of success. It should not be. Crack does not affect the taste. There are lots of cheesecakes on top and the topping covers any cracks.
There may be a number of reasons for cracks:
– Too much air embedded in the filling can cause cracks.
– Too much baking time will bake the filling and is a common cause of cracks.
– Uneven baking can be the cause. If you are using a light meter, reflective pans, consider switching to heavier, darker pans.
– Too high heat can cause cracking. Consider baking at 325 degrees instead of at 350 degrees.
– If your cheeseburger cools too fast, it could develop cracks. Do not allow your cheeseburger to cool in draft.
Starchy cheeses in the filling are less prone to cracking.
“My crusts crumble when I try to serve my cheesecake. What am I doing wrong?”
The butter that acts as the mortar holds the crumbs together. The butter needs to be well mixed with crumbs. You must have enough butter, at least four tablespoons of the crust. The mixture needs to be compressed with firm pressure. We use a crust or heavy smoke intrusion to compress the bottom and press the sides.
Always chop and serve your cheeseburger cool. That way the butter is solid. If the cheeseburger heats up, the butter will melt and the crust will crumble.
Baking crust is not necessary but tends to hold the crust together. The sugar dissolves while baking and tends to hold things in place once it cools and sets.
“I always seem to throw in my slices when I cut my cheesecake. What’s the best way to cut cheeseburger?”
Use the right knife, a sharp knife, a thin blade. Do not use a serrated knife as fillers and crumbs tend to stick to the serrations.
Cut with downward weight, dragging the knife as little as possible. After each cut, wash and dry the knife so you have a clean blade slicing through the cheeseburger.
“My slices seem to stick to the bottom and are difficult to remove. Is there an easy way to pull my slices neatly?”
There is an easy way to get slices to slide from the bottom of the pan. Heat a wet kitchen towel in the microwave. Place the towel on the counter and place the cheeseburger directly on the hot towel. In a couple of minutes, the heat will soften the butter against the base and the slices will slip away easily.
It helps to have a springform pan with a smooth base.