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Cheesecake Density Dilemma

Meryl's picture

WHAT can be done to make a cheesecake more dense and firm? I want it creamy, but as someone on eGullet described, not as if I'm eating sweetened cream cheese. It seems many people are trying to solve this dilemma. How to achieve a creaminess that's not overly creamy, mixed with a slightly drier cakey texture. I remember in the good old days when I lived in NYC, I experienced that exact texture at the Carnegie Deli. Their ultra-high NY Cheesecakes were superb.


Paula Wolfert said she thinks if you drain the cheese for a day or two you would get that dense texture. Do you agree?


I've also heard that using all whole eggs instead of yolks, might make a difference because of the drying effect of the whites. The NY Cheesecake recipe I use has 5 whole eggs and just 2 yolks, so I'm wondering how much effect, if any, only 2 yolks would have as opposed to using two whole eggs instead? Or perhaps replacing the 2 yolks with just the whites?  What do you think?


The other specifics in the NY Cheesecake recipe I use, are: 40 oz cream cheese, 1/4 cup sour cream, 3 Tbsp flour, 1 3/4 cups sugar, 1 tsp each lemon and orange zest, 3/4 tsp vanilla. It's baked at 500 F for 10 minutes to brown the top, then at 200 F for close to 2 hours, ie, until the top is set 3 inches from the edges. I don't use a waterbath, but just set a shallow pan of water under the rack where the cheesecake is sitting. (I've also made it without the pan of water - texture was basically the same, except there was a crack). I've noticed a slighter firmer texture after chilling it for 48 hours as opposed to 24, but no difference in the 48  as opposed to 72 hours.


    



Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. --Judith Viorst


Edited 10/8/2004 5:55 pm ET by Meryl

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

Meryl's picture

Thanks, Wolvie. Hey, what are you doing up so late???? (or early, depending on whether or not you've been to sleep yet).


*Have fun at Tracyfest!*



Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. --Judith Viorst


Edited 10/21/2004 4:40 am ET by Meryl

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

Wolvie's picture

early.


I just woke up. I think I'm getting ready for the clock change - or getting old. :-)


 


 



"People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."


George W. Bush


"Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, 'Something is out of tune."  Carl Jung

 

CookiM0nster's picture

"'hmmm - I do that, per Craig Claiborne's instructions in NY Times cookbook. He says to let it cool completely in the oven, the put in fridge. I've never thought to post that.'

That could make the WHOLE difference! BTW, do you leave the oven door slightly ajar or closed?"

I agree. That could definitely do it. I see another cheesecake in my future.

By the way meryl, did you know you can mail order cheesecake from the Carnegie Deli? go here: http://www.carnegiedeli.com/cheesecake.htm

Meryl's picture

Thanks for the link, CM!


Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. --Judith Viorst

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

Meryl's picture

Good idea, evelyn. As I asked Wolvie, do you leave the oven door slightly ajar or closed?


Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. --Judith Viorst


Edited 10/20/2004 5:20 pm ET by Meryl

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

MEANCHEF's picture

I realize you didn't pay any attention the first time I said this, so I will repeat:


more cake-like = more egg, more starch, less cheese.

Meryl's picture

You haven't been paying attention either! My next test will be to increase the flour. I may also sub whole eggs for the egg yolks, ie, use 7 whole eggs instead of 5 eggs, 2 yolks. As far as using less cream cheese, I'm not sure I want to go that way, because it will decrease the volume/height.


Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. --Judith Viorst

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

MadMom's picture

You're actually "using less" cream cheese if you increase the other ingredients while holding the cream cheese constant, IMO.

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

Meryl's picture

You're right - that's what I originally thought, but my brain ain't working too well today!


Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. --Judith Viorst

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

APonKP's picture

Of course you are right, but this isn't exactly like a study of a drug for the FDA.  If one of us finds an example of a cheesecake that we think might be what we are looking for, the others can try it and decide for themselves.  All in all, it sounds like a good excuse to eat a lot of cheesecake.  Yum!


One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.  A.A. Milne

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.  A.A. Milne
Gretchen's picture

I hadn't thought about cheesecake texture for ages 'cause I just don't eat dessert, but I can still taste the NY "dry" texture.

Gretchen

Gretchen
Wolvie's picture

hmmm - didn't you do the pumpkin cheesecake my way? Admittedly, with the addition of pumpkin, the texture is different, but the baking is still high first (only 450 tho) , then 205 for as long as it takes.


It really does taste and feel like NYC cheesecake. Except I don't add the zests. But they are called for in the "true" recipes. :-)



"People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."


George W. Bush


"Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, 'Something is out of tune."  Carl Jung

 

AnnL's picture

I don't know if I've ever  had "true" NY Cheesecake, but I can say that Wovie's cheesecake is definately the best cheesecake I've ever had.   DH also loves her cheesecakes. 


 


AnnL
Transitions Farm
Gardening, cooking, and riding Central Mass.

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

Adele's picture

I too can vouch for Wolvies cheescake, as can my family.  Simply the best I've ever had.

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

CookiM0nster's picture

"hmmm - didn't you do the pumpkin cheesecake my way? Admittedly, with the addition of pumpkin, the texture is different, but the baking is still high first (only 450 tho) , then 205 for as long as it takes."

Yes, but that was several yuwars ago. You don't expect me to remember these things that long, do you? ;-)

"It really does taste and feel like NYC cheesecake. Except I don't add the zests. But they are called for in the "true" recipes."

As nice as your cheesecake was, I don't think it really tasted like the NY cheesecake Meryl is talking about. Of course, again, it's been a few years since I made it.

Wolvie's picture

yeah - the pumpkin wouldn't be. I don't think you made the regular.


I think the addition of flour , the amount of eggs , plus the baking temp is the key. LOL - pretty obvious that, yes?



"People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."


George W. Bush


"Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, 'Something is out of tune."  Carl Jung

 

doyenne's picture

 I'd  suggest using 32 ounces of cream cheese and 8 ounces of farmer cheese beaten together until smooth. This might give you the density and texture you're looking for.


 

Where is Monica Lewinski when you need her?

Meryl's picture

Great idea! Thanks!


Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. --Judith Viorst

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

MEANCHEF's picture

I did research a long time ago but never experimented.  It seems that the things which make the cake "cakier" are more flour, more egg, less cream cheese.  How to find the right balance is the real trick.

Meryl's picture

"I did research a long time ago but never experimented.  It seems that the things which make the cake "cakier" are more flour, more egg, less cream cheese.  How to find the right balance is the real trick." What a task - I'd probably have to do tons of cheesecakes before getting it right. Maybe I should just take a trip to NYC and gorge myself on cheesecake for 2 weeks.


Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. --Judith Viorst

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

MadMom's picture

I guess I'm one of the lucky ones, because to me the ultimate cheesecake is creamy, not dry or cake-like at all, and I have found many wonderful recipes for that.  Of course, have yet to find one which is no-cal!

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

Meryl's picture

MM, if you've never had a real NY Cheesecake from NY, it's hard to describe what it's like. It's still creamy, but not as "wet." It's the best! 


Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. --Judith Viorst

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

AmyElliesMom's picture

Reminds me of a joke I used to make when I worked in an ice cream shop in college.

I used to tell people that anyfood you can eat with your hands has no calories; all the calories wipe off on your hands and as long as you use a napkin and don't lick your fingers, you all good!

I had to stop telling the joke the day I told it to a mom and her 11 year oldish daughter and the daughter turned to the mom and said, "But Mom, pizza has calories!" And the mom said, "I know, that's odd, isn't it?"

So, as long as you eat your cheesecake with your hands, no problems, lol!


DON'T PANIC


You live and learn. At any rate, you live..

- Douglas Adams

 

Save the Earth! It's the only planet with wine and chocolate.

fitzcindy's picture

I made the cheesecake Cookimonster posted a little while ago and it was delicious!  Definitely not what Meryl is looking for as it is nice and creamy and definitely not dense.  It was part of our Thanksgiving dessert today and everyone wanted seconds.  Other dessert was a pumpkin pie, of which I have lots left over.  Mrs. Muir's Cheesecake Elegante was demolished!  My 6 year old son, who said that he does not like cheesecake ate 3 small pieces and wanted a 4th!  This one is going into my Tried and True cookbook.


I'm not sure how to link this to the recipe, but the recipe is in message 19859.1


Thanks for a winner!

meljanbil's picture

I highly recommend the cheesecakes in the Whimsical Bakehouse.  Sound exactly what you are looking for.

Meryl's picture

Thanks, but unfortunately, I don't have the book. Would you be kind enough to post one of the recipes?


Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. --Judith Viorst


Edited 10/9/2004 4:09 pm ET by Meryl

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

meljanbil's picture

Of course I would love to post the recipe.  The problem is I just got back from a wine tasting mission with a close friend and personally at this point I wouldn't trust anything I posted.  (If you onlyl knew how hard it was to type this short response).  Will post in am barring any severe hangover.

Meryl's picture

What a pal! - I can imagine what an effort it was to type this out. Post whenever you can - absolutely no hurry. (Hope you don't have a hangover in the morning)!



Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. --Judith Viorst


Edited 10/10/2004 3:30 am ET by Meryl

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

michelle's picture

The secret to making dence cheese cakes, is mixing it by hand. When one uses a mixer, one introduces air bubbles into the mixture.


Regards,


Shelly in Jerusalem

assibams's picture

Can you find Quark in your area? That's what is used almost exclusively in German cheesecakes and especially if you use the lowfat varieties the resulting cakes are pretty dry. BTW, if you press cottage cheese (unsalted) through a sieve you have quark.

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