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Cheesecake Help!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I've been having some cheesecake difficulties and I was hoping someone would be able to enlighten me to what I could do to improve the end product when I try to bake a cheesecake.

 

My #1 problem is the cheesecake sinking into a sad little disc. I don't understand how it happens, I've made 1 successful cheesecake in my life, it was a pumpkin cheesecake and it was the first cheesecake I ever made.  Since then, all have been failures.  At first I thought I was overmixing it, so I altered that and had the same issue.  Then I thought I was overbaking it, which I'm really not 100% sure that I'm doing right.  I have a TERRIBLE electric oven at my apartment, I basically have to set temperature about 50 degrees lower than what I want to get it in the right range, even after trying to adjust it.  But usually after the edges have set and the center is fairly jiggly, and a little brown I turn the oven off.  I've tried pulling it out of the oven immediately and I've also tried letting it sit in the oven for a while without touching it, it still sinks.  And when I let it sit in the oven, when the recipe instructs me to, sometimes it looks like the cheesecake ends up getting overbaked... in which case I would have had to turn the oven off before the edges were set if that much heat carries over, anyway I'm baffled.  I don't have a device large enough to do a waterbath for my regular springform pan, but I have a coworker who makes perfect cheesecakes with just a pan with water before the cheesecake.  I try that, and it sinks.  I also have small springform pans I can stick in a waterbath and haven't had luck that way, although the really small ones are tricky to cook right in the first place.

 

I have tried everything I know to do, and it never turns out right :( I mean, it still tastes alright in the end but loses the light and fluffy texture, and it's not something I'd want to share with friends and family.  Any help would be much appreciated, thanks!! 

post #2 of 10

Cheesecakes sink. It's part of what they do. Part of the allure of cheesecake is density, not lightness. They more they rise, the more prone they are to be grainy and crack.

 

Are you baking in a water bath? The springform pan (wrapped in foil to keep water out) is set in a larger pan of hotwater to come up about 1/2 of the sides. That will help it cook more uniformly from the sides to the middle.

 

I've found reducing the cooking time (10-15%) and letting it sit in the oven for an hour with the oven off after baking helps for it to coast to a more even doneness as well (Thanks shroomgirl for that tip many years ago).

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm not using a waterbath for my large springform pan cause I wanted to avoid having to purchase anything, but I may go out and try to find something cheap to get the job done.

 

And this is not regular cheesecake sinking.  It'll be risen to the height of the pan when I turn the oven off, but after I let it sit it shrinks down to about 1/3 of that height.

 

I'll try to look into the springform pan bit and cutting back the cooking time, that sounds like a good rule to follow, thanks!

post #4 of 10

You shouldn't need to buy anything. Use a roasting pan, a casserole, a large stove top pan that's oven safe. You likely have something on hand that will serve the purpose.

post #5 of 10

CO, I really do recommend you use a bain marie for your cheesecakes. It will bring the internal temperature up more gently and evenly and provide a humid oven to help prevent cracking. I know there are many cheesecake experts that have great luck without one, but I have never had a cheesecake fail when using one.

 

Also, have you checked the internal temperature when the cheesecake seems to be done? There is another thread here that addresses that subject but in general, there seem to be two answers. Cooks Illustrated recommends 150°F, while some folks wait to see 160-165°. I have done it both ways and find the 152-156° range best.

 

Cooling the cheesecake smoothly and consistantly but not too fast is important. Once done, remove the bain marie from the oven and place it on a rack. Run a knife around the edge to help prevent cracking as the cheesecake begins to cool. After about an hour, remove the cheesecake from the bain marie, place it on a cooling rack and let it cool to near room temperature, about 2 more hours. Refrigerate it for 5 hours minimum.

 

You really don't have to put up with sunken cheesecakes. Good luck!

 

PS: I am a better cook than photographer!

 

Cheesecake, Choc Turtle-4.JPG

post #6 of 10

Fantastic suggestion:   (by both people involved)

Quote:
I've found reducing the cooking time (10-15%) and letting it sit in the oven for an hour with the oven off after baking helps for it to coast to a more even doneness as well (Thanks shroomgirl for that tip many years ago).

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #7 of 10

I use the recipe from Bake Wise by Shirely Corriher.  and I have had very good luck.  I use a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes and then, like you, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake continue to cook as it cools.  I definitly use a water bath, using what ever kinda pan I can find that will hold water and my spring form pan.  Here is a key tip - put your springform pan in a turnkey roasting bag and leave the top open or turned down.  It is often hard or at least inconvenient to have foil wide enough to cover the bottom of the spring form pan and two pieces will inevitably leak.  No matter what you use to seal the spring form pan, put a small towel underneath it.  As the water boils it will cause the lots of vibration and quickly wear a hole in the the plastic of the bag or the tin foil.  Fill the larger pan with boiling water - while the pan is resting on the shelf of the oven.  This is dicey so be careful not to burn yourself.  

 

When done the middle will still jiggle and many folks would judge that it is not done.  It is.  Refrigeration will firm it up.  

 

If you have used a pan that is not a spring form - after chilling, I microwave a wet towel and get it very hot, lifting it out with tongs and set the cheese cake on it.  This warm with loosen the outside of the cheese cake and facilitate removing it.  Put some  plastic wrap on a cookie sheet and covering the cheese cake pan, invert it so it comes out of the pan (run a knife around the edge).  Once out of the pan an on the cookie sheet, take a serving place, invert it over the bottom of the cheese cake and then turn everything over again, and remove the cookie sheet.  All is well.  Time to eat.  Hope this helps

 

If anyone know how to guarantee that the crust does not get soggy it sure would be helpful to me if you would share your ideas on how to keep it crispy

post #8 of 10

Hmm... well i don;t know this more complicated cheese cake but the easiest type is to make the base out of digestive biscuites, butter and a bit of sugar (although digestives are already really sweet i honestly don't like adding sugar into it as i like to think of my poor belly and it's health lol), first bash the biscuites until they are like bread crumbs and then melt some butter in a pan then add the biscuites into it and then mix all the melted butter around into it and cook it on simmer for 3 or 4 mins, this helps for the cheese cake base to set once you put it into the fridge for an hour or so then add whatever you want on it, you can mix lemon zest into some whipping cream (the kind that looks like milk but turns into cream once you have wipped it around until it's a nice smooth paste but not too thick ether). I honestly reccomend to buy a cheesecake tin as well because that helps it to stay in place and gives it that nice round shape and the edges won't burn if you grease it properly with some butter :), never use oil to grease like some people do because it really sticks to it and burns the edges.

post #9 of 10

I am making a 10 inch pumpkin cheesecake, Gluten free ( I am using ginger snap base.) Do you suggest only going up  1/2 way on the pan with crust?  It will be about 2 inches thick when done i am assuming.  I'm worried about it, because they are picking it up at 1:00.  To be that is close.  I start at 6 am.  But if I can't turn the ovens on till 6:45  and cooking it / cooling it...seems a  Little short to me. Same person is ordering a dutch apple pie GF.  Same time pick up.  Sure hope it turns out.

post #10 of 10

Wow! that will be one hell of a rush, maybe they thought you would of done it the day before lol if your worried add more bicardinate soda, i always add an extra tea spoon or 2 to stuff just in case it don't rise enough, even when i've made muffins with the amount of soda in the recipe it still don't rise quite enough so i remember to add 3 or 4 tea spoons of it instead of just 2, because even 2 tea spoons don't make it rise an awful lot.

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