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Old 07-17-2005, 09:40 PM   #11
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Goodweed - you are right about a springform pan leaking. Even the expensive ones that claim they don't actually do - according to the tests they did at America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated. They are better at preventing things from leaking out than they are at preventing things from leaking in. I do what JP described.

As for the water bath - I've tried it with and without and prefer the texture with the water bath, and it's not nearly as likely to crack. I've never used a towel in the bottom of the pan - I use a cooling rack that is about 1/2-inch high and it seems to work just fine.

Below is the recipe I use and how I do it. I'm sorry if it is hard to follow - I've never tried to "write up" a "proper" recipe for it - these are just from my notes over the past few years. It's a mix of the original recipe and my techniques. It certainly isn't the only way to make a cheesecake - just how I do it.

New York Style Cheesecake

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 eggs (room temp)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 pound cream cheese (room temp), broken into small pieces

Turn the oven on to 250 to preheat.

You will also need a roaster pan or something else large enough to hold the springform pan to make a water bath, a cooling rack to set the springform pan on in the roasting pan [mine is about 1/2 tall], and an 18x18 inch sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

CRUST: Spray an 8 or 9 inch springform pan with Butter flavored PAM. [see note 1 below] Blend the graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup melted butter [see note 2 below]. Pour into the springform pan and press the crust into shape [I like mine to come up the sides of the pan an inch or two - I use a straight-sided flat-bottomed measuring cup to do this]. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

NOTE 1: If you want to serve your cheesecake on a serving plate of some kind ... spray the pan with PAM, line the bottom of the springform pan with parchment paper, and spray it with PAM.

NOTE 2: I use Nabisco original graham crackers (the box with 3 packs per box). I use 1 1/2 - 2 packages - roughly break them up and throw them into my food processor ... and give them a couple of pulses to break them up a little more. I add the sugar, and a couple more pusles to mix. Then I turn it on to LOW while I drizzle the melted butter in until I have the texture I want.

Put a kettle of water on to boil.

FILLING: Cream the cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar. Scrape the bowl down and add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

HOW I REALLY MAKE THE FILLING: Using my KA and the flat beater attachment on Speed 4 ....

1. Add the cream cheese and run on speed 2 about a minute to soften it up.
2. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar and continue to beat for about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides, and beat for another 2-3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides down again.
3. Add the sour cream and beat for 2-3 minutes. Stop and scrape down again.
4. With the mixer running add the 2-tablespoons butter, and eggs one at a time - allowing them to incorporate before the next addition, and the vanilla. Stop, scrape down, and beat for about 1 more minute.

Remove the springform pan from the refrigerator and wrap the bottom and sides with foil to make it watertight. [I trim the foil so it doesn't stick up more than anout 1/4 over the top of the springform pan] Pour the filling into the crust .... and set in the pan on the rack. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and pour boiling water into the pan so that it comes half-way up the side of the springform pan. Bake at 250 for one hour.

[IF you want to brown the top ... at the end of baking open oven door and turn the oven to broil and WATCH VERY CAREFULLY! It can go from lightly browned to cracked and overdone in no time! Then proceed with the rest of the following instructions]

At the end of one hour ... turn the oven off .... open the door for 1-2 minutes ... then close the door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour. At the end of that time ... remove the springform pan from the oven ... and allow to cool before covering and placing in the refirgerator overnight to firm up.

SERVING: Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and remove the sides of the springform pan. IF you are going to serve this on a serving plate rather than from the bottom of the springform pan (and have used the parchment paper on the bottom): (1) Place something lightweight, flat, and slightly larger than the cheesecake on top and quickly, but gently, invert it - I use a sheet of heavy cardboard covered with parchment paper. (2) Remove the bottom of the pringform pan and peel off the parchment paper. (3) Place the serving plate on the bottom of the cheesecake and again, quickly but gently, invert again.

I hope I didn't leave anything out .....

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 07-18-2005, 04:07 AM   #12
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Oh Michael that looks like my kind of recipe. I love a good cheesecake but I am one of those weirdo's who likes it plain. No toppings, no chocolate cheesecake or other strange ingredients. I love it nice and creamy, plain and with a crunchy crust. :)

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Old 07-18-2005, 10:23 AM   #13
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Talking Here I am again to report on my birthday cheesecake...

Well, I started this thread and I'm report on my cheesecake experience! I used the Betty Crocker recipe for "Company Cheesecake". My son wanted it to be chocolate chip and cherry. since there would be a lot of people there. I made it plain, (lemon lest was they key to taste!) then served mini chocolate chips and cherry pie filling on the side to custom prepare each piece. I did take Michael's suggestion and used the water bath, however, my springform pan did leak. The outermost crust was soggy, but some said that was the part of the crust they preferred! Go figure! Next time I'll try it with foil around the pan! HOWEVER, It tasted perfect!!!!!
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Old 07-18-2005, 10:35 AM   #14
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I love the idea of the chips and the cherries on the side! Great idea!
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Old 07-18-2005, 10:44 AM   #15
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Your recipe is similar to mine. I use larger quantities to fill a 10" springform to the top. Also, the higher temp I use gives me a browned top without resorting to the broiler.

I'm a little curious about your measure for the GC crumbs. I use 2 of the three packages in the box and get 2.33 cups of crumbs.

I never have had a cracked cheesecake. The keys appear to be the waterbath, gradual temperature changes and not overmixing.


For the Crust:
2 1/3 C Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/2 C Unsalted Butter, melted
1/4 C Sugar

For the Filling:

2 Lb Cream Cheese, room temp.
1 1/2 C Sugar
1/4 C Flour
5 Eggs
16 Oz Sour Cream
1/4 C Milk
1 T Vanilla Extract

Make the Crust:

Position the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 F.

Wrap the outside of a 10-inch-diameter springform pan with heavy-duty foil.

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse just until the crumbs are moist.

Press the crumb mixture firmly onto the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of the prepared pan. Use a flat bottomed glass or measuring cup to press the crumbs into place.

Bake until the crust begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack. Maintain oven temperature.

Make the Filling:
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until will blended then beat in the flour.

Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined. Beat in the sour cream, milk and vanilla. Pour the filling into the crust.

Place the springform pan in large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come half way up the sides of pan.

Bake the cheesecake until just set in center and top is slightly puffed and golden brown, about 1 hour.

Turn off oven and keep the door closed. Leave the cake in the oven for 1 hour.

Remove springform pan from roasting pan and remove the foil. Cool it on a cooling rack for a couple of hours. Refrigerate at least 6 hours. Cover and refrigerate overnight before removing from the pan.

To remove the cake from the pan, first run a thin bladed knife around the inside of the pan to separate the cake from the side of the pan. Remove the springform sides.

Place the cheesecake with the pan bottom on a burner and heat it for about 10 seconds. This will soften the butter in the crust so you can slide the cake off the pan bottom onto a serving plate. Use a long frosting spatula or knife blade to ease the transfer.
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Old 07-18-2005, 10:51 AM   #16
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Okay, you cheesecake experts - question for you!

I've been making 'mini' cheesecakes, (4 1/2 inch springform), and am having a problem with the cake rising, especially around the rim, then sort of folding over on top of the cake before it's baked - does that make sense?

At first I thought maybe I"m beating too much air in it at first, but that wasn't it; then I'm thinking the sour cream is 'puffing' it too much for the little cakes; next time I'm going to use a recipe without sour cream and see what happens.

But since this great thread was 'hot', figured I'd throw my question into the mix!
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Old 07-18-2005, 12:34 PM   #17
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So the outer edge rises and the center portion of the c-cake doesn't? I would guess that it's due to uneven heating. Are you using a waterbath? What is the oven temp?
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Old 07-18-2005, 03:09 PM   #18
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Marm, I'm thinking what you are--that something is making them poof too much too early. Since you're using the small pans, they're probably heating through and rising faster than when you bake a full sized one. I'll be interested to hear if the sour cream makes a difference. The only other thing I could think of is the eggs. Does the recipe call for more eggs than normal for a cheesecake?
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Old 07-18-2005, 04:12 PM   #19
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I'm not using a water bath; oven temp 325; great oven, even temp - not a problem with any other food; pans on bottom/center of oven.

PA, I'm just using a regular recipe for a 9 inch, and portioning it by 1 cup measures into the little pans (which are VERY cute, BTY!)
I will try the water bath, and oven at 300 next time; also am going to use a recipe without sour cream, to see if that helps. And - not beat it too much!

I'll let you know!
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Old 07-18-2005, 07:32 PM   #20
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GarlicGoddess - sorry I didn't go into more detail about the waterbath .... yep, you need to cover the outside of a springform pan with foil to keep it from leaking. But, sounds like everyone enjoyed yours! I'm glad

Andy M. - I think I measured the GC crumbs the first time and it came out just a smidgen over 1 level cup - so figured it was close enough for government work that I didn't really bother about the slight overage. I like my crust a little higher up the side of the pan, and a little thicker, than the 1 pkg allows so I use 1.5-2 (usually depends on what my grand-daughters have left me to work with) ... and I increase the butter proportionally (which I failed to mention). I KNEW I was going to leave something out!

marmalady - think of cheesecake as being a custard (I'll agree with Alton Brown on that ... think he actually got that idea from Shirley Corriher). But, don't go trying to change too many things at one time or you'll never figure out the problem! Try using the same recipe, mixed the same way, use a waterbath and maybe decrease the temp (since you're using smaller pans) down to 250-F especially if your recipe doesn't include starch (flour or cornstarch). I really can't see where the sour cream could be a problem. And, strictly thinking off the top of my head here, if you decrease the beating (like when your creaming the cheese and sugar) you're going to decrease the air incorporated into the batter (it's your only leavening) so your cheesecakes would probably wind up denser and not as creamy. The only thing that makes sense to me is this: the air incorporated into the batter is heating up faster than the proteins that hold it in can set to hold the air in - and they deflate. This kind of goes in line with what PA Baker was thinking. I'm TOTALLY shooting from the hip on this one.

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