Cheesecake question

I use the key lime cheesecake with mango ribbons recipe from the gourmet cookbook (although I usually don't do the mango ribbons and do a ginger snap crust instead of the graham cracker). Following the recipe not to over bake, etc..I still get cracks in the center. Do you always water bath, and does that change the oven temp (325) or the time (one hour to one hour 10 minutes?

mt gal
  • Posted by: mt gal
  • August 27, 2015


boulangere August 29, 2015
A guideline for baking cheesecakes that I learned from one of my favorite chefs in culinary school is to bake it (always in a water bath) until, when you bumpy the edge of the pan, the cheesecake should "jiggle like jello, not wiggle like a wave." It's amazingly accurate. I typically set a time for me hour, then begin checking it, adding 5 minute intervals of time as needed.

It should always be mixed on the paddle, and never at a speed higher than Low. If beaten too fast, air is incorporated into the batter. Air conducts heat very effectively, and will cause the cheesecake to bake too quickly and crack.

In teaching, I find that many people afraid of underbaking a cheesecake, and therefore tend to overbake "just to be sure it's done." Once people learn the jiggle vs wiggle trick, overbaking and cracking cease to be a problem.

At work, I bake a dozen at a time, and can't spare any amount of unproductive oven time, so I cool them at room temp until I can handle the pans without oven mits, then refrigerate them overnight and depan them the next day. That said, at home I bake two at a time, and wouldn't dare leave them sitting out for fear that one or more of the 4-leggeds would find them interesting. They go straight into the refrigerator, and I've never cracked one yet.
Droplet August 28, 2015
PieceOfLayerCake August 28, 2015
Nearly always the issue is overbaking or over whipping the eggs. A cheesecake/custard pie doesn't need to be baked nearly as long as people think and I pull them when they're still quite jiggly. Something I've also tried to some success is to bake the cake until jiggly (usually just an hour), turn off the oven, leave the door open for a minute or so, then close the oven and leave it in there for an hour. It allows the shock of the cooling process to be gradual.
nancy E. August 28, 2015
I had been taught that over mixing the batter can cause cracks. I personally love water baths for cheesecake. the creaminess is amazing
Susan W. August 27, 2015
Some things that cause cracks are over baking, opening the oven door and not bringing your ingredients to room temperature. To avoid over baking, remove your cheesecake from the oven when the edges are slightly puffed, but the center of the cheesecake is still slightly jiggly. It will continue to cook.

Try to avoid mixing too much after adding the eggs. I mix everything else well and then add the room temp eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.

A water bath helps too. I always use them for mine, but mine are huge monsters with 2.5 lbs cream cheese and 7 eggs. I see no reason not to use a water bath. I wrap the foil on the pan before I add the crust if the crust is to be prebaked. It's best to use water that's been brought to a boil. It's best to prep the cake, put it in the pan, put the pan in the oven and add water from your tea kettle. Fewer accidents that way.

Good luck and be sure to report back. :)
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