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So what makes a firmer cheesecake anyway?

k
Katie Nell Sep 15, 2005 07:43 PM

The Thanksgiving thread and my thoughts on pumpkin cheesecake got me to thinking about cheesecake in general. I generally like a more firm cheesecake, but don't know what makes it that way. I usually use the Philadelphia cream cheese 15-minute cheesecake recipe b/c everyone else likes it, but I don't. To me, it's kind of spongey in texture if that makes sense. I think I like a denser cheesecake. To be perfectly honest, I like Dillon's cheesecake the best of any I've had! Any thoughts or ideas on the subject?

  1. e
    eman Sep 20, 2005 10:57 AM

    hi
    I have been experimenting with cheesecake recipes for over thirty years. I am continually amazed at how many people do not make the distinction between creamcheese cheesecakes and cheesecakes. You will never get the texture you want from a entirely cream cheese based recipe . The secret ingredient is farmers cheese, you know, the stuff in a small brick made by friendship or breakstones.If not available you can substitute dry pot cheese. It is mandatory that you put it through a sieve or a food mill first.

    Also, unlike a lot of other baked items, cheesecakes are not as fussy when it comes to ingredients or proportions. What is key however is temperature and slow steady even cooking in a hot water bath.

    Try substituting some of the farmers cheese for the cream cheese in your recipe untill you find a texture you like. It can be made to any level of firmness or denseness you like by using more farmers and less creamcheese. Experimenting will eventually give you a cheesecake unlike anything you have had before. You will be amazed at the difference in texture the farmers cheese will give.
    If your batter seems to thick when you are done mixing you can add some sour cream to loosen it up a bit.

    Another key detail is never , never overbeat or over process in the food processor. Beating too much air in the batter will give that spongy texture.

    You want everything just incorporated and having a pudding like consistency before it goes int the pan.

    I hope this helps.
    Good luck and happy thanksgiving

    1. b
      Browniebaker Sep 16, 2005 01:02 PM

      I like a firmer, denser cheesecake, with a creamy center like velvet and cakier edges like chamois. More like a cake, less like a pudding. Here's what I do:

      Use a recipe for a New-York-style cheesecake.

      Use 3 or 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour to 5 eight-ounce bricks of cream cheese.

      Leave out the heavy cream or sour cream if you want your cake firmer.

      Do not beat the egg whites separately and fold them into the batter, as some recipes call for.

      Bake at 450 to 500 degrees F for 15 or so minutes before lowering the temp to 200 degrees F for the remainder of the baking time.

      Avoid the water bath, which prevents the cake from developing a gradient of texture from creamy soft center to cakey, firm edges.

      Refrigerate for at least 12 hours to let it firm up before cutting and serving.

      1. e
        Eva and Ziv Sep 16, 2005 09:56 AM

        I don't know what makes a firmer cheesecake, but I know what you mean about the right texture! That spongey texture is what diner cheesecakes have. Anyway, my favorite recipe is the Epicurious New York Cheesecake (link below). I've made it many times and it's always great. Also, it does not use a water bath and doesn't need it, which makes it easier.

        (I don't add the orange zest, btw, just the lemon. And I use the crust recipe from the back of the graham cracker crumb box.)

        Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

        2 Replies
        1. re: Eva and Ziv
          k
          Katie Nell Sep 16, 2005 11:11 AM

          Maybe the flour makes it more firm???

          1. re: Katie Nell
            e
            Eva and Ziv Sep 19, 2005 11:05 AM

            I don't think so. Apparently, the flour (which is just a few tbsps) is there to discourage the top from cracking. I believe it might be the extra eggs/yolks.

        2. t
          theSauce Sep 16, 2005 12:17 AM

          A good cheese cake is always baked in a hot water bath with foil covered at the top to keep the cheese cake from burning. The no bake or 15 min. recipe just don't cut it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: theSauce
            k
            Katie Nell Sep 16, 2005 09:29 AM

            It's not a no-bake recipe... the 15 min. refers to the prep time. Yuck... I would NEVER do the no-bake kind!

            1. re: Katie Nell
              t
              theSauce Sep 16, 2005 05:36 PM

              Also, refridge the cake for at least 4 hours before serving, fat congeals when it is cold. Putting flour in the cheese filling will not make your cake any firmer. It only makes the cheese cake more grainy than creamy. If you're going to put any kind of starch in the filling I would suggest corn starch.

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