February 14, 2017

Whereas some people prefer desserts like cake or brownies, many people turn to the cheesecake for that post-meal treat. And rightfully so: Not only does cheesecake have a long history – dating back to the Greek islands in 2000 BCE – but the sheer diversity of flavors has to put this dessert ahead of its competition.

Learning to master cheesecake will not only allow you to test your skills as a culinary graduate, but also add another arsenal when it comes time to hosting another dinner party or similar gathering.

Consider these five tips as you learn the art of the cheesecake:

1. Control the temperature 
As The Kitchn explained, temperature is hugely important for tasty cheesecake. To start, your cream cheese should always be room temperature during preparation; this ensures an extra smooth cheesecake. Once the cheesecake is done, though, you should always let it chill overnight, or it won’t set all the way. However, just before its served, the cheesecake should sit out for 30 or so minutes to help with that final taste.

“Baking in a water bath regulates the temperature and prevents cracks in the cheesecake.”

2. Avoid surface cracks 
For some chefs, cracked cheesecake can practically ruin the dish. Luckily, as Diana’s Desserts pointed out, there are several ways to prevent surface cracks. If you avoid over-baking, this ensures a perfect smoothness overall. To that end, try baking the cheesecake in a water bath; this regulates the temperature and prevents cracks in the first place. Finally, always grease the sides of your baking pan. Since cheesecake gets smaller as it cools, this will prevent you from pulling it and causing cracks to develop.

3. Rely on two essential tools 
A huge chunk of cheesecake recipes call for the use of flour as well as a springform pan. These are pretty much non-negotiable parts of a perfect final cheesecake. Even just a tablespoon of flour will prevent the cake from over-coagulating, and that ensures a better overall texture. As for the springform pan, the removable sides will maintain the cheesecake’s form without damaging the cake with unsightly cracks.

4. Use the jiggle test 
There is another consideration when it comes to addressing cracks. As Simply Stacie pointed out, you must always be careful with how you handle your eggs. If they’re not properly cracked, then this can cause air bubbles, which in turn lead to cracks. To that end, always add in each egg separately while you mix at a very low speed. You can tell if there are structural issues with the cheesecake with the jiggle test. Perfect cheesecakes should bounce slightly as they cool before firming up completely.

5. Take your time 
As mentioned above, temperature is crucial to your cheesecake. But so is taking a strategic approach to baking, as Leann Cooks explained. You want to pre-bake the crust for several minutes before adding the filling to ensure proper crispiness. From there, always bake the cheesecake at a lower temperature, usually about 365 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes and then 275 degrees for two hours. This might take longer than some other approaches, but that way you avoid the risk of over-baking.

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