They're still supposed to be a little liquidy in the middle, right? As long as they start hardening pretty quickly? And is it advised to mix the room temperature cream cheese before you try to mix all the ingredients together? Maybe as long as you don't whip it? Because my final mixture was all sorts of lumpy and I read somewhere that you're not supposed to over mix it, which I most definitely did while straining and beating to get it smooth.
When cheesecakes come out of the oven... ??
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Not the word I would choose. The cake should still be jiggly, but should be cooked all the way through, and not liquid even in the center. Unfortunately, the tooth pick test is not a great deal of help as a fully cooked cheesecake, even a cooled fully-cheesecake may stick to the pick.
If, when the cake cools all the way down, it's solid... you were fine.
Cool-down should be done slowly. Some people leave the cake in the oven with the door open, some slightly modify it by pulling the rack part way out (vestibule method). Others put the cake, in its pan, on a rack.
If it cools too quickly, it will crack.
After it cools, cover it and put it in the fridge to let it ripen. Overnight is better than all afternoon. At least let it cool all the way down to refrigerator temperature.
Hard for some people to conceptualize, but chilling is part of the cooking process.
Always soften the cream cheese (allow it to come to room temperature) before beating. Beat the cream cheese without anything else in the mixing bowl until it is completely creamy and smooth before adding other ingredients. Add your eggs and flour (if using any) last, and beat only until incorporated.
Beat at a lowish speed, all the way through the process. Unlike other cakes you do not want to get air into the batter.
It might help you to think of cheesecake as more of a custard than a cake. You want something smooth and silky, not an airy foam.
Hope this helps,
I'm not sure how you bake something when you bake it with a hot water bath (I'll keep it in mind), but I did do the pan at the bottom of the oven with a bit of water in it. I tried to read a little about cheesecakes before I attempted it.The recipe I used, however, was ranked 'beginner' and asked for sweetened condensed milk. That was all I could taste when I was done with it, so I'll have to attempt a real recipe next. Thanks for all your help! I'll definitely come back the next time I have a problem.
A beginner's recipe which doesn't explain how to bake a cheesecake in a bain marie (water bath) is almost by defintion a lousy recipe.
Also, a good beginner's recipe should explain that the cheesecake MUST be baked in the middle of the oven in its bain marie, and should do a good enough job of explaining how to test for doneness and the cooling process that your original post and my answers weren't necessary.
You can make a good cheesecake with sweetened, condensed milk. Why not? Often, recipes call for a little heavy cream -- but only a little to help dissolve the cheese and make for a smooth mixture. I don't see why you couldn't substitute condensed milk. On the other hand, I don't see why you'd want to. Either way, it's not a big part of the recipe and ordinarily won't have much impact.
Again, it doesn't sound like a good recipe.
Please, take a look at my recipe for Cheesecake of the New York Persuasion. It should teach you pretty much all of the techniques you need to know to be successful with a baked cheesecake. If you'd rather use a "normal" graham cracker or some other kind of crust, just go ahead and substitute one from another recipe.
If you know of a culinary site off the top of your head with definitions, such as "incorporate" or "cut into", I would love to have it. I know most through trial and error, mini guides in the cookbooks I have, and web videos, but I've never found a site that specifies. Not a big deal if you don't. It's probably time I invested in a book focused on techniques.
And by the way, I love how well you explain the step-by-step processes in the cheesecake recipe. Very nice. I was confused for a few minutes when I read the term "belted butter" (and a Google search returned references but no definition :P) but then I realized it was a typo and things make sense again. ^_^ Thanks again for all your help!
Edited by ToasterStroupel - 9/20/10 at 6:16pm