Did you read the list of Best Selling Bakery Products I gave you? If so, then you probably remember Cheesecake being on that list. Pretty much at the top of that list. If you’re going to be making cheesecakes to sell in your bakery, then you need to know all the secrets to achieving the perfect cheesecake time and time again.
As I mentioned, cheesecake was a bestseller in my bakery, but what I didn’t mention was that I am known to my family and friends as THE cheesecake queen. Seriously. 🙂 When I first started baking as a business I knew it was important to have consistent results. I knew it was absolutely imperative that my cheesecakes taste amazing AND look beautiful.
I already had a cheesecake recipe which tasted amazing, and is actually a top secret family recipe, but every time I baked a cheesecake something went wrong. I either overbaked it, it was too brown, it was chunky, or worst of all….. it would CRACK!!
Ugh. The ol’ cracked cheesecake issue.
I knew I was going to have to figure out what was going wrong and how to fix these issues if I was ever going to sell cheesecakes for profit. So my research journey began. After countless articles and blog posts I finally gathered the tips together and tried them all. At the same time.
And guess what? They worked!
When using all the secret tips I’m going to share with you, you will get something that looks like this, every time.
But then if you do like I did this last weekend, when your brother-in-law offers you a ridiculous amount of money to make him two cheesecakes, and you get in a big lazy hurry, you’ll get something that looks like this.
Turns out, you have to use all these tips together every. single. time. to get consistently beautiful and great tasting cheesecakes.
This is the first cheesecake I’ve had crack in over 5 years. 🙁 And it’s because I decided to shortcut things. I have to admit, even though I do a really good job of making cheesecakes, and I really enjoy eating them, I do not like making them. When you make a cheesecake properly, it’s very time consuming. There’s several steps and you dirty too many dishes. So I thought I’d be lazy.
Bad, bad decision making on my part.
So before you crack another cheesecake or even consider selling one, let me tell you the secrets to the perfect cheesecake.
Secret #1- Be sure your cream cheese is room temperature.
It is absolutely critical you start with room temperature cream cheese. If you don’t have time or remember to bring it to room temperature you can soften it in the microwave. I like to remove it from the foil and put it back into the cardboard box it came in. Then plop it in the microwave for 10 second intervals until its softened.
Secret #2- Beat your cream cheese by itself.
Once your cream cheese is softened it’s time to beat it to a smooth consistency. But don’t make the mistake of beating it with other ingredients. You will want to do the cream cheese on it’s own so there are no lumps. If you beat it with eggs especially, it will get lumpy and look curdled.
Secret #3- Scrape down your bowl and beater. Rebeat.
After you beat the cream cheese by itself for about 30 seconds, stop and scrape your utensils. Then restart for another 30 seconds. This will keep from getting big chunks of cream cheese in your final batter.
Secret #4- Don’t over beat your batter.
When you are beating your cream cheese, or your entire batter, don’t over mix it. This pumps more air into the batter causing bubbles that will crack your baking cheesecake. You also can break the cream cheese down too far and it won’t hold up during baking.
Secret #5- Add flour or cornstarch to the batter.
Adding a tablespoon of flour or cornstarch to the batter helps keep bubbles from forming and causing cracks in your final cheesecake. Just add it to the mix after you have beaten your cream cheese on its own. You can even stir it in at the very end, so long as it’s in there.
Secret #6- Don’t over beat your egg whites.
My family’s secret recipe actually calls for egg whites, not whole eggs. If your recipe does too, be sure you beat them just until soft peaks form. You are trying to keep as much excess air out as possible. Excess air turns to bubbles in the baking process, which then turns to cracks!
Secret #7- Use a water bath.
This is probably the step I hate the most. I hate fiddling with boiling the water, wrapping the cheesecake pan in foil, and pouring the water into the pan around the cheesecake.
In case you don’t know what a water bath is, it’s when you wrap your cheesecake pan in foil, place it inside a larger pan and then pour boiling water into the pan around it. The steam helps keep the oven moist and keep from over browning and cracking.
I thought for a while I could get away with just putting a boiling pan of water into the oven directly below the cheesecake pan, but it was hit or miss if it worked. I tried doing it this way because I ran out of heavy-duty foil and couldn’t remember to buy more. If you don’t use heavy-duty foil, the pan leaks and you get soggy crust.
But I found a way around this. I started using those plastic liners you use in your crockpot! I just set my cheesecake pan right down inside and then fold back the edges so it doesn’t fall into the batter. Worked like a charm!
Secret #8- Bake on low heat and don’t over bake.
NEVER bake a cheesecake over 300 degrees F. I don’t care what your recipe says. Never, ever, ever do it. Bake it at 295-300 degrees.
NEVER EVER EVER bake a cheesecake until it’s set in the middle or for 90 minutes.
I know what you’re thinking. The recipe says bake it for 90 minutes or longer and till a knife comes out clean.
You know how meat can be removed before it’s at a safe temperature? It continues to cook for a few minutes with residual heat and will come up to the proper temperature? That’s how a cheesecake works.
Bake the cheesecake for 50-60 minutes and then open the oven. Jiggle the pan a little. See how the outside 3 inches or so are not jiggly, but the center is? That’s what you want. After you check for jigglyness, CLOSE the oven door and turn off the oven.
Secret #9- DO NOT CRACK THE OVEN DOOR!
I don’t know what makes me cringe more in recipe directions; crack the oven door or bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes!
Leave the oven door closed with the oven turned off and then walk away.
Preferably for several hours. I’m talking like 3-4 hours at least. Once that amount of time has passed, you will then remove the cheesecake from the oven. Place it onto a cooling rack and leave at room temperature for another hour or so. Then pop it into the fridge.
Yes!! Now you have a perfect, beautiful, cheesecake!!
If you follow all of these secret tips you will consistently get great results and never have to worry about your cheesecakes cracking or over baking. You will be confident in your product and be able to sell it with no worries!
So tell me, what do you do to ensure your cheesecakes always turn out well? Share your tips in the comments!
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