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Old 01-03-2012, 05:24 PM   #1
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Smile How to keep cheesecake from cracking

I recently used a new recipe to make a low fat cheesecake. I followed it exactly. It said to put a roaster pan in the oven with it 1/3 full with water (I used a casserole dish). Then when it was finished cooking the recipe said to turn the oven off and leave it in the oven for an hour. I did all of this and it still had a large crack on the top. It did taste great. But I just can't solve the mystery of the cracking cheesecakes. I made a regular cheesecake a few years back using another recipe and it also cracked. What is the answer?
Thanks!!

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Old 01-03-2012, 05:50 PM   #2
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I cooked the cheese cake I made for Christmas in a bain marie and it turned out perfectly. I think the moisture is what eliminated any cracking.

Here's the blurb about they why and how of doing so:


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To perfectly bake a cheesecake, I have come to insist on a low oven temperature and baking the dessert in a bain marie.

A word about baking a cheesecake in a bain marie before starting the recipe. A bain marie is simply a water bath that buffers the direct heat from the sides and bottom of the baking pan to more evenly bake the cheesecake from the sides to the center.

I bake my cheesecakes in a 9 or 10 inch spring form pan that has the bottom and sides wrapped in multiple layers of wide heavy duty aluminum foil which forms a sort of boat that the cheesecake pan sits in. The roll of aluminum foil that I use is about 16 inches wide. I use at least 4 layers of foil to make sure that no water leaks in and ruins the crust of my cheesecake. The aluminum foil wrapped pan is then placed inside a larger baking pan; I use a 12 inch cake pan. Boiling water is then poured into the larger pan filling it from 1/2 to 2/3 of the way to the top.

I find it best to pour the boiling water into the pan after it is placed on the rack in the oven as you are less likely to splash water onto the cheesecake or inside the aluminum foil. I reuse the aluminum foil for several future cheesecakes, adding a couple of layers to it each time just to be safe..
Grease bottom but not sides of a 9 or 10 inch spring form pan. I like to line the bottom with parchment paper for easy removal from the pan.
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:56 PM   #3
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Don't over cook it.....period.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:23 PM   #4
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It was overcooked, even a water bath can keep this from happening eventually.

Remove from the oven when the center jiggles like Jello, you don't want it to swish around, but a loose jiggle is what you are looking for.

If you don't mind a small hole in your cheesecake, test with a thermometer, 160 is the ideal temperature to tell if it is ready to pull from the oven, once over 160 the eggs coagulate and create a dryer more cottage cheese type texture, instead of a creamy texture.

If you suspect that your oven runs hot, turn it down, low and slow is perfect for cheesecakes.

I never turn off the oven and leave cheesecake in there, it doesn't seem like a necessary step, once it's done it is done, it has a chance of overcooking in the oven. I do leave the cheesecake sitting in the waterbath, in the roaster outside of the oven for about 30 minutes while the filling sets.

I wrap my springform pan in 2 layers of the wide, heavy duty foil, and place the wrapped pan filled with batter into a large roaster, and add the boiling water being careful not to let any water get in between the foil and the pan, I place this into the oven to bake.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:05 PM   #5
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Add 3 Tbsp of flour to the batter.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:29 PM   #6
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Thanks for all of the help. It sounds like it should be in the water instead of above it on another rack like my recipe called for. I will also try the thermometer. I am a stickler (sp) for preciseness. I will try another one sometime. I will have to give most of it away. I love to bake but I am a diabetic ( not on medication anymore, Yay!!) and trying to lose weight so I try not to keep too much in the house. Cheesecake is probably my favorite dessert and I would like to master it. It's sort of bad for my family. I love to bake but don't really like to cook. hahaha
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:58 PM   #7
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To keep my weight under control, and still fulfill my need to bake, I try to do it when people are coming over, that way I am not tempted with a bunch of leftovers!
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:25 PM   #8
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Also, run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake as soon as you remove it from the oven. This will loosen it, so it doesn't pull and contract when cooling, which can cause cracking.
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:24 AM   #9
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Using the "bake" setting in your oven rather than the "convection" setting might also help, because the air blowing around in a convection oven can sometimes dry out the top of the cheesecake, which can lead to cracking as the cheesecake cools and settles.
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:11 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
Don't over cook it.....period.
I think this is probably the right solution. Excellent Bob ;-)
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:43 PM   #11
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Cheesecake is basicaly a cheese custard in a graham cracker crust. As the custard temperature rises above 165' or so, the protien in the egg sets and contracts. As with all things, when it cools, it also shrinks. It is this shrinking of the cheesecake that causes the cracking. The crust is immovable, and hold tight to the custard where it meets. As the custard cools, it tries to shrink, but can't shrink in diameter, especially on the surface. The surface is too dry, and isn't elastic, and so it cracks accross the center.

As was said by several, cooking until the custard is set, but still jiggles a little will give the custard suffiecient elasticity to not crack as the custard cools and shrinks. Plus, it won't try to shrink due to the egg setting.

The goal is to create a custard that is creamy, yet with enough body to hold its shape when sliced.

Sometimes I want a more dry, dense, and heavy cheesecake (overcooked texture), topped with sweetened sour cream or a fruity pie filling such as blueberry, cherry, or apple. When the cheesecake is topped, the crack is hidden and makes no difference. When I want a creamier cheesecake, cracking just isn't a problem. I don't use a water bath with either, and the cheesecake comes out great.

Final temperature is the deciding factor of both the texture of the custard, and whether it cracks or not.

The idea of cooling the cheesecake with the oven, is that the cheesecake will cool more slowly, creating less stress that can create the dreaded crack. I have found that it really doesn't help if the cheesecake has been overcooked. But it still tastes great.

Also, be aware that there are many variations to cheesecake, some made with cream cheese, others made with cottage cheese, ricotta, or Neufchatel. Some incorporate orange rind in the recipe, while others don't. There are both savory and sweet cheescakes, some made with ladyfinger crusts, or crushed Oreo cookies, or the more familiar graham cracker crust.

Don't be afraid to try different kinds of cheesecake. They are all wonderful. My personal favorite is a New York cheesecake with a sweetened sour cream topping. But the Holywood cheesecake is an amazing thing as well.

Have fun and experiment. I've even taken my New York cheesecake recipe and added cream to the original ingredients, and come out with a super rich and creamy version. It's all good.

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Old 01-24-2012, 04:00 PM   #12
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What's a New York cheesecake?

Here in Greater Montreal we get two distinct types of cheesecake. One is not very tall, it is very creamy, and it is dense.

The other type is tall, and dryer than the first type, and fluffy.

Both types come in variations. Which type would you call a NY cheesecake? What would you call the other type?
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
What's a New York cheesecake?

Here in Greater Montreal we get two distinct types of cheesecake. One is not very tall, it is very creamy, and it is dense.

The other type is tall, and dryer than the first type, and fluffy.

Both types come in variations. Which type would you call a NY cheesecake? What would you call the other type?
The creamy, dense one is the new york style cheesecake.

Is the tall, fluffy one eggy? If so, it really doesn't have a name attached to it, at least not one that I am familiar with. I've had that style of cheesecake, but didn't care for it as much. It is still a cheesecake, but with more egg and less cream cheese. It's almost like a sweet, chesse soufle in a crust.

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Old 01-24-2012, 06:24 PM   #14
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I have cheesecakes crack sometimes. More often than not actually. No one has ever complained, and I usually shave white or milk chocolate to cover the crack anyway. Again, no complaints!
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