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Cheesecakes

jenfrommaine's picture

I have a question about cheesecakes.  So many recipes, including the spiced cheesecake featured on the website currently, call for the cheesecake to be baked in a water bath.  However, I find that the water leaks into my springform pan while baking, creating a soggy crust and signficantly altering the bake time, not to mention the quality of the finished product.  Some recipes have suggested wrapping the springform pan in aluminum foil, but as the foil is not as wide as the pan, I have not had luck using foil either.  Are their springform pans that don't leak? Any suggestions? 

sarahendipity's picture

(post #35107, reply #1 of 24)

I gave up on springforms in water baths and just use a 3" high cake pan(parchment-lined). You need to flip it upside down and back over again to get the cheesecake out, but if it is well chilled there isn't too much damage. Nothing that can't be fixed with a palette knife. Or if you make a cheesecake without a crust you just need to turn it out.


Well here's a thought I never had before: what about a cheesecake baked without a crust and turned out onto a pre-baked flat crust? I wonder how neatly I would be able to get them to join up?


I spilled my GORP on Mt. Baldy.

I spilled my GORP on Mt. Baldy.

jenfrommaine's picture

(post #35107, reply #5 of 24)

Thanks -- I've been thinking about not using a springform anymore -- glad to hear that you CAN get the cheesecake out without much difficulty.

Gretchen's picture

(post #35107, reply #6 of 24)

Maybe--I've never done it, but I would be sure to have parchment in the bottom for sure. And I don't think my cheesecakes would make it out in one piece.
And I know for sure that my chocolate mousse cake (flourless chocolate cake) wouldn't.


Gretchen


Edited 11/16/2007 10:54 am ET by Gretchen

Gretchen
jenfrommaine's picture

(post #35107, reply #7 of 24)

That's a little scary -- I don't know whether my cheesecakes are the kind that would come out easy or not. I have tried the "drug-store" fold with aluminum foil, but have never been successful. My husband and I spent an entire evening experimenting with different types of folds to marry the two pieces of aluminum foil together - but eventually, after 15 or 20 minutes, water would begin to seep through. Perhaps the safest bet is to find extra wide aluminum foil.

Gretchen's picture

(post #35107, reply #8 of 24)

Then you aren't folding with enough overlap. Do it double.


Also, in a cooking class where we were doing creme brulee, the chef said it is the steam that is more important than the depth of the water bath.  Your water may be coming over the top?


Gretchen
Gretchen
jenfrommaine's picture

(post #35107, reply #9 of 24)

ok - clearly I'm doing something wrong. I will try using less water and bigger folds and experiment.

dlish's picture

(post #35107, reply #11 of 24)

If it's the steam that you need can you just cook the cheesecake on one rack and a pan of water on the lower rack?

Lee's picture

(post #35107, reply #15 of 24)

It isn't the steam that you're after.  Cheesecake should be baked slowly and evenly so that it doesn't dry out, cook faster at the edges, or brown.  Baking it in a waterbath is the most effective way to achieve that.  No matter how hot the oven, the water bath will never get hotter than the boiling point (212F), thus ensuring even heat.  The outside of the cheesecake won't bake faster than the middle, and it lessens the chance of developing bubbles, cracking or sinking.


Some cheesecakes contain flour and can be successfully baked without a waterbath.  I find it's best to follow the direction given in the recipe.

gmunger's picture

(post #35107, reply #18 of 24)

Hmmm. Thanks for the explanation. Makes sense.

 


It is as if we are living inside of a dream, sleepwalking toward oblivion, while self-serving, shortsighted interests encourage our slumber with managed news, celebrity culture and other weapons of mass distraction.

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
SuB's picture

(post #35107, reply #19 of 24)

I second everything Lee said.  If you think of a cheesecake as a large custard (which it is) the water bath might make more sense. 


I've had this problem before and it is really frustrating. 


My 2 cents:  As soon as the cheesecake has finished baking, take it out of the water bath and carefully loosen or remove the foil around the pan to prevent condensation from forming inside the foil as it cools, even if you're letting it cool slowly in the oven.  This is especially important when you refrigerate the cake.  A cheesecake gives off a surprising amount of steam as it cools.  Conversely, if a small amount of water has gotten into the foil, it will have a chance to evaporate while the cake is warm.


Also make sure you haven't put too much water in the water bath since it will boil and bubble during baking, possibly splashing into the cake pan.  Using a roomy water bath pan might help.  The water should be no higher than halfway up the side of the cake pan.  Sometimes I put the springform into my water bath pan, fill it to the correct height with cold water, then boil that amount of water when I'm ready to bake the cheesecake. 


Last, you can indeed make the cheesecake without the crust.   Bake it, cool it completely (refrigerated overnight is best) then invert it onto a plastic wrap-lined plate (to keep the surface from sticking), pat the crumb crust mixture onto the bottom of the cake, then re-invert onto your serving platter.  Works great and the crust doesn't get soggy.


Hope this helps.



Cheers, Sue B.


The older I get, the better I was.

Cheers, Sue B.

The older I get, the better I was.

Elfie's picture

(post #35107, reply #20 of 24)

I've been pondering this problem for some time since I'm making a cheesecake for Turkey Day.  I was thinking of putting a layer of Press and Seal on the pan, then covering with the foil.  I just don't know how hot you can take Press and Seal.  I've dunked it in boiling water for a bit and it didn't seem damaged or very soft.  Since it doesn't come in contact with the food, I'm hoping the chemicals in it will stay put.  Any ideas?

SuB's picture

(post #35107, reply #21 of 24)

Dunno.  I'm leery of heating up plastic wrap, there's just no way to know whether the chemicals will stay put or not. 


Assibams has the best solution; put the springform inside a silicone pan.  And you can use it for other things.



Cheers, Sue B.


The older I get, the better I was.

Cheers, Sue B.

The older I get, the better I was.

Gretchen's picture

(post #35107, reply #22 of 24)

You could do that with Saran Wrap. OR get a roasting bag and use that to put your pan in and do away with the foil. You could even save it for this use.
I'm not sure Press and Seal would stand up.

Gretchen

Gretchen
Elfie's picture

(post #35107, reply #23 of 24)

It didn't

gourmand's picture

(post #35107, reply #24 of 24)

Not a baker myself. Ran across this and saw several things I do wrong.


HOW TO BAKE:
HOW TO BAKE THE PERFECT CHEESECAKE

Cheesecakes have stood the test of time. And well they should—they are wonderfully decadent desserts. In this article, we’ll tell you how to make delicious cheesecakes that are picture perfect.

We’ll give you principles to help you understand cheesecakes. If you understand the principles, you can create your own recipes. If you understand and practice these principles, chances are you will make wonderful cheesecakes.

Principle #1
A cheesecake is a custard, not a cake. As a custard, the cheesecake should be thick, rich and creamy. As with any custard, a cheesecake relies on the proteins in the eggs to give it structure. The proteins coagulate as the temperature approaches 160 degrees. If it over bakes, the custard becomes dry.

Principle #2
A long, slow bake allows for a more uniform internal temperature. Never bake over 350 degrees. We prefer a dark pan to uniformly absorb heat, not a reflective pan.

Principle #3
Don’t over bake your cheesecake. Most cheesecakes are over baked and they tend to be dry, not creamy. An over baked cheesecake tends to crack. The cheesecake is baked when it is still jiggly but not soupy. The top of the cheesecake will jiggle as a whole and the center two inches will look softer. If the top is doing anything but just starting to blush a golden color, you have probably over baked the cheesecake. Do not stick a knife or a toothpick in the center. It is not a reliable test and it may precipitate a crack.

Principle #4
Beat the cream cheese until it is soft and smooth. It’s easier to make a smooth mixture of the cream cheeses if you start with softened cream cheese. Take the cream cheese from the refrigerator at least an hour before mixing. Beat the cheese with the paddle attachment, not the whip.

Principle #5
Mix the ingredients into the cream cheese; don’t whip the ingredients. If too much air is incorporated into the filling, the cheesecake will puff when baked and sink as it cools. With too much air incorporated into the filling, cracks are likely to develop.

Principle #6
Custards tend to be soft and may weep. To give your cheesecake more structure, consider adding one to two tablespoons of cornstarch or flour. For a creamier cheesecake, leave the starch out.

Principle #7
Cheesecakes primarily rely on eggs for the structure. Not only does the egg mixture have to reach 160 to 170 degrees to coagulate, but the filling must have enough eggs. In our experience, one egg per eight-ounce package of cream cheese plus a little milk or cream is about right.

Principle #8
Cheesecakes are easier to remove from a pan after they have cooled slightly. Let the cheesecake cool for ten minutes and then with a spatula or thin-bladed knife, run the blade between the cake and the pan. If you let the cheesecake cool for any longer than that, it may start to contract and, with the cake stuck to the pan, crack. A nonstick pan not only makes the release easier but may help keep the cheesecake from cracking.


 


 

 Growing old is inevitable, Growing up is optional.

Lee's picture

(post #35107, reply #2 of 24)

Use heavy duty foil which is wider than regular foil.  Cut the sheet large enough to wrap the entire pan.  Be sure there are no holes or tears in the foil before you put the cake in the water bath.  Some bakers use two sheets, just to be extra safe, but I've never had a problem using only one.

assibams's picture

(post #35107, reply #3 of 24)

Get thee a silicone form in the same size as your springform, set the springform inside, voilá, leakproof cheesecake baking :-)


Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
Herm Albright

Gretchen's picture

(post #35107, reply #4 of 24)

I like Assibams idea pretty well.  But you can use regular foil to cover your pan. You use what is called a drugstore fold.  Put two sheets of foil on the counter,  overlapping about  2-3 inches in the middle. Then make a double fold to join them together.
Grasping the edges and pulling tight, rotate the edges and press down. You can do it again to be sure. I hope this isn't as clear as mud.  Anyone? Anyone?


Yes, I think there are springforms that may be water excluding, but you never know if this will be the time that it has finally warped or loosened enough to let the water in!!  ;o(


Gretchen
Gretchen
MadMom's picture

(post #35107, reply #13 of 24)

I assume you have sent that in as a tip, right?



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assibams's picture

(post #35107, reply #16 of 24)

Yup, I followed your advice. Was a little tricky, because the tip form requires a US address, but the friendly folks at support promised to forward my tip to the correct department. Obviously it wasn't chosen for this round ;-)


Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
Herm Albright

MadMom's picture

(post #35107, reply #17 of 24)

This is lame tip month.  You should be glad yours wasn't chosen, LOL.



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

chiffonade's picture

(post #35107, reply #10 of 24)

I never use a water bath in all the years I'm baking cheesecake.  Try baking your cake in the springform without the water bath.  Also - try to get your foil from someplace like Sam's or Costco and get the extra wide foil.  Anytime I've used extra wide foil (for the things where I do use a water bath), I haven't had any seepage issues.

"Sandra Lee is the Culinary Anti-Christ and I am the Anti-Sandra Lee.  The precious moments you may take to measure a level cup of flour are NOT wasted time!"


Chiffonade

*You're a REAL person, eat REAL food."

Chiffonade

helena1's picture

(post #35107, reply #12 of 24)

I've had this happening as well, and this is what I do: I either do as Assibams said (put the springform in a silicone pan), or I put the springform on a rack in the oven, and directly below I place a large roasting pan on a baking sheet with boiling water, OR I use extra wide foil. Which I can hardly ever find, so I don't do that one often ;o). The springform pan really works best in my opinion.

gmunger's picture

(post #35107, reply #14 of 24)

How about this idea....use the same roasting pan and springform pan as directed. But instead of going through the mess of foil-wrapping and partial submersion (I can't even wrap a Christmas gift), why not elevate the springform above the water by placing 3 or 4 ramekins in the water and resting the springform atop those? Will the effect be the same?

 


It is as if we are living inside of a dream, sleepwalking toward oblivion, while self-serving, shortsighted interests encourage our slumber with managed news, celebrity culture and other weapons of mass distraction.

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.