My cheesecake journey has been amazing. So many failures and so many great tasting cheesecakes. It has been such a great learning process for me. I am sharing a few things I have learnt over the last couple of months. Do share your own cheesecake tips and tricks in the comments section.
The mixing process:
I read a lot about cheesecakes before I decided to make them. Somehow the whole process intimidated me a lot. The whole water bath and set it and everything. But turns out they’re extremely easy. In one of the posts, I read you shouldn’t mix the batter too much and shouldn’t incorporate too much air in it. I do not agree with that. Please make sure you beat each and every ingredient in for at least 30 seconds before adding the next. The cheesecake batter should look like a thick fluffy pancake batter. From my experience, this results in a smooth and creamy cheesecake, rather than a crumbly one.
I like to keep at a low temperature. As low as possible. In a water bath. I have baked my cheesecakes at 150 degrees, 160 degrees, 180 degrees, and when I ran out of patience, a combination of the three. Patience is definitely key when making Cheesecakes. I realised a steady 160 degrees in a water bath for 45 mins does the job so well and the cheesecake turns our super smooth.
Overcooking the cheesecake:
The cheesecake will look extremely undercooked when it’s done. Primarily, when you give the cheesecake pan a shake, the middle part ( 5 to 7 cm or so in diameter) should jiggle and the rest should look set. If you have a kitchen thermometer, great, the custard should be at 150 degrees Fahrenheit. I have had the tendency to cook it for 5 mins long, just because it looks extremely undercooked. But you really need to trust the cheesecake gods here, and well, your refrigerator. Before you put it in the refrigerator to set for 8 hours, overnight preferably, you need to leave it in the oven for a few hours till it comes to room temperature, or close.
I have used so many combinations for my base. So I would only say, get creative with the base for your cheesecake. Nuts, cocoa, shortcrust pastry, cookies, wafer, chocolate chips, the options are endless. I will write down a few options that I have tried and a few that I want to try out and you can have a look at those.
Sour cream gives you a different kind of tang. Too much, and it overpowers the cheesecake. Too less, and the tang doesn’t shine through enough. One thing to keep in mind, the cream cheese is also tangy, so go easy on the sour cream, you can add a mix of heavy cream and sour cream if the topping you’re planning is too tangy like lemon curd. You can always add more tang. But you cannot take out the tang if it’s too much.
Setting it in the refrigerator:
Patience is key. Patience is key. Patience is key. I couldn’t stress this enough. I have not let the cheesecake set enough and sliced it and literally panicked. Under set cheesecake tasted like ruined custard, really. custard tastes good, even if it is not completely set. Cheesecakes don’t.
You can check out my cheesecake recipe here