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Cheesecake Basics

Updated on July 2, 2014

Cheesecake Basics

We all want to be able to make the perfect cheesecake. The key components to be considered are:

· creamy consistency of the cheesecake (I personally use and recommend Philadelphia Cream Cheese, I find that it is the best in quality.)
· perfect crisp crust (The perfection to the crust lies in how the biscuits have been crushed. The finer the crush, the smoother and crisp the crust.)
· no cracks in the middle or around the edge of the cheesecake
· frozen or set to perfection

To achieve a creamy consistency in your cheesecake, you should have all your ingredients at room temperature. The cream cheese and eggs should both be at room temperature.

For non-baked cheesecakes, to get a crisp and firm crust you can chill them in the freezer for 30 minutes while the filling is being prepared.

When cheesecakes are baked, most of them leak and create a mess in the oven. This is avoidable by baking the cheesecake on top of a baking sheet in the oven.

You know your cheesecake is done baking when the center looks firm. But sometimes despite baking it for as long as the recipe has mentioned it and even on the right temperature, sometimes the cheesecake has a wet and shiny center. Not to worry, just run a knife around the edges of the cake, turn off the oven and return the cheesecake in the oven for cooling for about an additional 1 hour.

It is best to cool your cheesecake at room temperature before refrigerating it overnight. The cheesecake should be kept uncovered to prevent moisture formation and without toppings or garnishes. They should be added the next day.

During the baking and cooling process, cheesecakes usually crack. This is due to over beating the batter during the addition of eggs. Always use the low speed on your electric mixer when adding eggs.

Check your oven temperature regularly with the help of an oven thermometer. Avoid baking your cheesecakes at high temperatures.

Over-baking cheesecakes can also cause cracks.

During the cooling process, cheesecakes often shrink and the fillings tend to stick to the sides of the pan. This causes crack all the way till the center of the cheesecake. This is easily avoidable by running a knife around the edges of the pan and the cake to separate them both.

Cracks on a cooled cheesecake can be repaired easily with a sharp, hot and wet knife. However, this can be tricky when trying to repair a chocolate cheesecake. Water discolors chocolate, so use a hot dry knife for repairing chocolate cheesecakes.

A cheesecake is best sliced with sharp, thin hot knife. The cheesecake can also be sliced before the garnishing. The slicing will be easier. Dental floss can also be used for the slicing process.

Cheesecake toppings can also be prepared in the microwave on high power to save time. Make sure to use microwave safe bowls.

Cheesecakes are best prepared 1 day ahead. This allows the flavors to develop and mature.

Cheesecakes can be frozen for more than a few months if packed and stored with care. After the cheesecake has been cooled to room temperature, freeze it uncovered for 6 hours. After it is firm, wrap it in a large freezer bag or heavy-duty foil, sealed and labeled. You can easily thaw your cheesecake overnight, or leave it at room temperature for 2 ½ hours before serving. Toppings and garnishes should be put before serving. Avoid freezing your cheesecakes with toppings.

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