Ask the Baker: Tips for Perfect Cheesecake

Strawberry CheesecakeHow do I stop my cheesecake from cracking?

A cheesecake top without a crack seems to be the ultimate measure of success. It shouldn’t be. A crack doesn’t affect the taste. Many cheesecakes are topped and the topping covers any cracks.

There may be a number of reasons for cracks:

  • Too much air incorporated into the filling may cause cracks.
  • Too much baking time will over bake the filling and is a common cause of cracks.
  • Uneven baking may be a cause. If you are using light gauge, reflective pans, consider switching to heavier gauge, dark pans.
  • Too high of heat may cause cracking. Consider baking at 325 degrees instead of at 350 degrees.
  • It your cheesecake cools too rapidly, it may develop cracks. Don’t let your cheesecake cool in a draft.

Cheesecakes with starch in the filling are less prone to cracking.

What’s the Best Way to Cut a Cheesecake?

Use the right knife, a sharp, thin-bladed knife. Don’t use a serrated knife as filling and crumbs tend to stick to the serrations.

Cut with a downward pressure, dragging the knife as little as possible.
After each cut, wash and dry the knife so that you have a clean blade slicing through the cheesecake.

What’s the easiest way to make crumbs for my crust?

Lots of folks use a food processor; we don’t bother. We use a heavy duty zipper-type plastic bag and crush the crackers or cookies with a rolling pin a few at a time. We save the plastic bag for the next crust.

My slices seem to stick to the base and it’s hard to remove them. Is there an easy way to neatly remove my slices?

Yes. Take a wet dish towel and heat it in the microwave. Set the base with the cheesecake on the hot towel. The hot towel will soften the butter in the crust and allow the slices to slide off without sticking.

It helps to have a springform pan with a smooth base.

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