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Low Temperature Cheesecake?

  • s

I once read an article that extolled the virtues of making a cheesecake at a very low temperature - low enough that you could leave it in the oven overnight. It didn't really matter when you took it out. The temperature would never get hot enough to cook the cheesecake beyond a creamy consistency.

Does anyone have a recipe like that?

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  1. I'm working on a cheesecake baked at 250F. The internal temperature of the cake has to reach about 170F for the eggs to set, so if you bake at 170F, it will never overbake, though it might dry out if you leave it in too long. Then there is problem of the crust. A pre-baked crust could get soggy overnight. Of course, it gets soggy anyway over time, even when the cake is finished.

    I don't think the standard home ovens can maintain a stable temperature of 170F, not in a way that I'd trust it. Better to finish the cake while you're still conscious. I overbake my cheesecakes. I don't like poking the delicate cheesecake full of holes just to check temperature. At an internal temperature of 190F, the cake is still silky and delicious, if not the creamiest.

    One day I may buy one of those temperature controllers for sous vide cooking. They seem like they'd be great for low temperature baking.

    11 Replies
    1. re: icecone

      Thanks for responding. So it sounds like I could get away with doing this from 170 to 190 degrees.

      Again, this was an article in the paper that had several different recipe - some sweet, some savory - but all cooked at the same low temperature.

      1. re: Steve

        Home ovens can vary by more than 20F though.

        What article was this?

        1. re: icecone

          I believe it was in The Washington Post many years ago, but I'm not sure.

          1. re: Steve

            I was over at washingtonpost.com and searched their archives for articles with the word cheesecake. Didn't see an article fitting the description.

            Was the article about "sous vide"? I've seen those Foodsaver vacuum bag commercials where a.slice of cake is vacu-saved without crushing it. A crustless cheesecake could be made sous vide.

            Sous vide for bakery products has not been as popular as for savory entrees. The caramelization and crusting can't be completely overlooked or everyone would be clamoring for steamed cakes and breads all the time. This could be true of cheesecakes too. A light browning of the cheesecake edge is its own flavor contribution. Silky, creamy on the inside and a touch of caramelization on the outside.

            1. re: icecone

              This was so many years ago, well before a major newspaper would devote space to 'sous vide.' I've looked online but have yet to find it.

              Thank you so much for your response. If I try it, I'll definitely report on the outcome.

              The last time I made a cheesecake, I used a trick that I discovered years ago from a restaurant. They served a peanut butter pie that was sensational. But when I tasted the body of the pie by itself (it was a kinda cheesecake), no peanut butter flavor. When I tasted the topping (it had a whipped topping layer), no PB flavor. Then I realized they spread a thin layer of peanut butter (not easily visible) over the crust before pouring in the mixture.

              1. re: Steve

                Was that peanut butter for the taste or do you think they did it to keep the crust dry? It's an good way to keep the crust crisp. Sprinkling a layer of ground nuts over the crust before pouring the batter would insulate the crust as well. It can't be used in every situation though. Peanut butter is a strong flavor.

                1. re: icecone

                  It was called a peanut butter pie and it was the only element of the pie that had PB, so it was for the taste - although it could have also been used as a 'sealant.'

            2. re: Steve

              The Washington Post had an overnight pumpkin cheesecake a few years ago (I want to say over 10 years ago) that I tried. It was creamy and very good. It's not the recipe but the technique--you could do it with any recipe. I don't have the WaPo one anymore but here's one I've used:

              http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ov...

              I've always thought that cheesecake would be perfect in the moist environment of a crockpot. My crockpot on warm keeps water at 170 degrees and it would be the perfect water bath. The temperature would be pretty constant.

              1. re: chowser

                Pumpkin,yes, but there were several others like an asiago-bacon cheesecake. The F&W recipe is the same as the one provided by Emme.

                Thanks for the input. Now I just have to figure out if I want to go even lower than 200. If it doesn't work out, I suppose I could always put it back in......

                1. re: Steve

                  I think we're talking about different articles then. What result are you looking for with a lower temperature than 200? I don't find that longer lower cooking time makes a creamier cheesecake than using a water bath and being sure not to overcook it. I use a water bath, turn off the oven just when the outer 1/3 edges start to firm up, prop the oven door open w/ a wooden spoon for an hour so it can come to room temperature slowly. If you want to maintain a consistent lower temperature, you can always use a pizza stone in the oven. And, as you said, continue to bake if it's underdone, although underdone cheesecake can be good, too.

                  1. re: chowser

                    I don't know if it's true, but I remember the original article saying that the result is fantastic (better than slightly higher heat) and then of course you don't have to worry about when to take it out, and you also don't have to do a bath - so overall easier and better. Though I'll never know until I try it.

      2. I've done a "no-bake" key lime mouse cheese cake that is phenomenal. No eggs, just white chocolate ganache, cream cheese and something that's alluding me off the top of my head.

        It's probably one of the best desserts I make...

          1. re: Emme

            Thanks so much for those links. The second recipe is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for, though I might cheat down a little bit if the internal temperature doesn't need to be as high as 200.

            Mixing brandy, sugar, and cream cheese doesn't sound like I could go too far wrong.

            1. re: Steve

              I've always baked cheesecakes at very low temps, 200-250* range, so not to color, but I'm interested in trying your 170* overnight idea. Mm-m, cheesecake for breakfast! Well, not really, you need to let it chill completely, so it's for breakfast the following day, but it's a nice thought.

              The Lindy's recipe in the third link was the classic NY cheesecake standard for many years, but the original recipe did not call for Neufchatel (lower fat) cream cheese. I prefer full fat cream cheese and made one with Neufchatel once, it was not so great.