Advice requested on making 1st cheesecake
I am planning on making a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving. I've never made a cheesecake before but this looks pretty simple. The recipe specifically instructs not to use a non-stick pan because it will raise the temperature and cause scorching. But the only springform pans I could find were non-stick (I looked in 5 stores), so that is what I plan to use. The instructions that came with the pan said to reduce the temperature by 25 degrees. Do you think this adjustment will work?
Any other advice for a cheesecake novice?
I am certainly no expert, but doubt it will matter. I have found cheesecakes to be quite robust to all sorts of errors and adaptations...for instance, I completely botched instructions for the cheesecake water bath (see my post at http://www.chowhound.com/topics/459509), but even that turned out deliciously. Might as well follow the pan instructions to reduce the temperature...however, I have always used a nonstick pan, but never bothered to read the pan instructions...and my cheesecakes have still been good....
I agree with the above, but I also recommend that you use a water bath. The high-sided Wilton cake pans work well for cheesecakes in a water bath, but you must be vigilant about using a parchment liner on the bottom. http://www.wilton.com/store/site/prod...
Be very careful not to over-beat, as this will incorporate air, and cause cracking as it cools. Use the paddle attachment on a Kitchen-Aid, as opposed to the whisk.
I like to turn the oven off a few minutes before it is recommended, and let the cake stay in the closed oven for a additional 20-30 minutes.
Are your pans dark? I have a nonstick springform, but it's not dark. I have only ever made the Three Cities of Spain cheesecake (from Gourmet), but it seems like a basic recipe. I didn't change the oven temp, and I didn't use a water bath. Came out just fine.
If your pans are dark, then you probably want to lower the temp just a bit. Water baths are supposed to prevent splitting, but I've read they don't really do that. That's what a nice layer of sour cream on top is for...
Don't overthink it - I think cheesecake's hard to screw up. I've never used a water bath & they've been fine. The biggest mistake I ever made with cheesecake it not straining the seeds out of rasberries when I used them once - make for a kinda crunchy texture, but it tasted fine.
I think that the issue on the pan is not so much whether or not the pan is non-stick, but whether or not it is dark. I have been told this by more than one professional baker whose judgment I respect and I have found it true myself as well. It seems to me that most non-stick pans are dark, though I am not sure on that one. It may be that whoever wrote the recipe you are using is sort of jumping to the conclusion that it is the non-stick part of the pan causing the raising of the temperature and the scorching, but in actuality, I would lay odds that it is the color of the pan. Wilton spring form pans are fairly accessable and sometimes you can find them from Kaiser, though the Kaiser are sometimes the dark, nonstick kind. Check out some craft stores or Walmart (if in your area) for Wilton products. Most of my baking pans are not Wilton, but for this specific item, it's not a bad choice and not all that hard to find.
Not all cheesecake recipes call for a water bath, but I can't imagine that it would hurt to use the water bath. Make absolutely sure that you wrap the pan and a good way up the side in aluminum foil and check periodically to make sure the water hasn't all evaporated.
Good luck and have fun!