The first time I made a cheesecake, I was completely overwhelmed and terrified! But actually, turns out they are quite simple to make, they just they’re just a twee bit finicky about certain things. I find if I adhere to all of the following, I get a crack-free, perfectly-textured cheesecake every time. I hope these can help some other fellow cheesecake-bakers out there.
Meredith’s Cheesecake Tips:
- Make absolutely sure your cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature before you begin. In the case of the cream cheese, this can take hours. The internet has ways to bring it to room temperature quickly, but I don’t have any to recommend, as I find these methods inevitably overheat the cream cheese. Just as much as you don’t want to use cold cream cheese, you don’t want warm/hot cream cheese either. So… just take it out in advance and save yourself lots of trouble.
- Do not mix on high speeds and do not over-mix. If you do, this will allow air into the mixture which, depending on your recipe, may either result in too much batter and/or cause assembly issues. Not to mention, it will not have the proper consistency of cheesecake.
- Do NOT open the oven door until the cheesecake has baked for at least 30 minutes.
- If you’re going to make a cheesecake, don’t go cheap on the cheese. It is, after all, the main element involved. Off brand cream cheese typically does not blend as well and for whatever reason simply does not work as well to reach the desired smooth, rich texture cheesecake should have. Go for the good, high quality stuff and you will end up with a good, high quality cheesecake.
- To avoid cracking while baking, have a 9 x 13 pan with some water in it on the rack below the cheesecake, or bake the cheesecake in a water bath, but this is more involved and the 9 x 13 pan with water on the rack below seems to do just fine.
- Do not overbake the cheesecake, as this will cause it to crack. Use a thermometer to temp the cheesecake when it’s close to being done, and if it is at 155 degrees or higher, it’s time to turn the oven off (but remember, don’t open the oven to temp the cheesecake until at least 30 minutes have passed).
Be careful when temping the cheesecake, so as not to jiggle the pan. This can cause the cheesecake to crack (cheesecakes just REALLY like to crack. If you were a Russian spy, you’d be able to get a lot of good info out of them).
- Once the cheesecake is done, turn the oven off, prop the door open and cool the cheesecake in the oven for the first 30 minutes. Then, transfer to a wire cooling rack. Chill the cheesecake completely at room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator to chill (this can take quite some time, depending on the recipe and how thick it is). This will avoid moisture getting into the cheesecake which results in a spongy, undesirable texture. I mean…don’t get me wrong, I’d still eat it, but if you’re looking for proper cheesecake texture, then chill it the long, tedious, proper way.
- For slicing, slice while the cheesecake is fully chilled and use a long, sharp knife run under hot water and wiped clean after every slice.