The best way to cool cheesecake is to use patience. You have to use the proper pans and applications to ensure tastiness and perfection. Therefore, there is no way to cool a cheesecake quickly. However, the tips below will help you make more efficient use of your time.
Cool on a Wire Rack for One to Three Hours
Place the cheesecake pan on a wire rack to cool at room temperature. Make sure that the cake cools completely before you set it in your fridge. When you do place your cheesecake in the fridge, cover the dessert with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate the cheesecake for 24 hours, then serve. Cooling the cake in this manner permits the flavors to blend. A long chill of the cake gives it richness and body.
Preparing the Pan
To prepare the cheesecake, butter the sides and bottom of a steel or aluminized steel Springform pan. Choose a pan that features three-inch sides and a removable bottom. This brand of a baking pan comes in two pieces and is deeper than a regular cake pan.
When you remove a finished cake, you only need to open the clamp, which releases the bottom. This keeps you from turning the cake upside-down, which can easily damage the dessert. Just make sure that your bottom piece is flat and does not feature a raised edge. That way, you can remove the cheesecake without touching the edges and marring them.
When making a cheesecake, it is important to use only the freshest ingredients. Unless the recipe that you use specifies otherwise, start with the ingredients at room temperature, or at around 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also make sure you have a quick-reading thermometer so you can check the ingredients’ temperatures. All the ingredients should be gathered and pre-measured before you prepare the dessert for baking.
Cheese: As the name suggests, the heart of a cheesecake dessert is the cheese. The cheeses that are often used include cream cheese, cottage cheese, Neufchatel, mascarpone, farmer cheese, or ricotta. Never use fat-free or reduced-fat cheeses for the best results.
Cream: Most recipes for cheesecake feature heavy whipping cream, sour cream, or half and half. Cream is used to give the cheesecake a creamy, smooth texture. Again, only use regular creams, not creams that are fat-free or made with reduced fat.
Sweetener: Cheesecake recipes require the use of a brown or granulated sugar, confectioner’s sugar, or honey.
Eggs: The eggs in a cheesecake recipe bind the dessert and give it its structure. They also are used to provide a creamy texture and to add richness.
Flavorings: You can vary the flavor of your cheesecake by the ingredients you use. Ingredients that flavor the cake and make it unique include chocolate, spices, fruits, and nuts.
Making the Crust
Crushed graham crackers make up the classic cheesecake crust. Mix the cracker crumbs with melted butter and add a spoonful or two of sugar to sweeten. You may also want to include a few chopped nuts or cinnamon. Besides graham crackers, you can also crush chocolate wafers or gingersnap cookies into a cheesecake crust.
After you blend the crumb mixture for the crust, pour it into a buttered baking pan. Use either the flat bottom of a measuring cup or a large spoon to press the crumbs evenly and firmly into place. Use your fingertips to extend the crust to the sides of the pan.
While you do not need to pre-bake this type of crust, prebaking will keep the crust from crumbling and provide texture. Cool a pre-baked crust before adding the cheesecake filling.
Pre-Baked Crusts and Bases
Besides using crushed graham crackers or gingersnaps for a crust, you can also pre-bake a shortbread crust that features a buttery flavor. This type of crust is normally pre-baked as are regular pie crusts. You may also pre-bake a sponge cake for your base.
Pre-bake the cake in a regular cake pan. Do so about 24 hours before you prepare the filling. Cut the cake so it fits the bottom of a cheesecake or Springform pan before adding the filling.
Preparing the Filling
Soften the cheese that you use for your cheesecake at room temperature to keep the cheesecake smooth and to avoid lumps. Allow the cheese to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This time may vary slightly depending on your kitchen’s temperature.
Adding the Eggs
Make sure that the eggs are at room temperature so they can do their job as an emulsifier. If the eggs are cold, the butter and sugar in the recipe will clump. Therefore, remove the eggs from the fridge and place them on your counter for 30 minutes. You can speed up the warming time by placing the cold eggs in warm water for about ten minutes.
Always mix the sugar with the cheese before you add the other ingredients. This process will smooth the cheese and, again, prevent the formation of lumps. Blend the sugar and cheese with an electric mixer set on low or medium speed or manually use a wire whisk.
Add one egg at a time for the best results. Blend in the egg by hand or use an electric mixer, again, set at low or medium speed. Include the liquids and creams next and blend well before adding the flavorings. Fold fruits or nuts gently by hand into the mix.
Don’t Beat the Batter
Never beat the cheesecake batter. Instead, mix quickly the ingredients to reduce air bubbles. If you over beat the batter, it produces too many pockets of air that puff out the cheesecake during baking and lead to cracks during cooling.
Use a Food Processor for Faster Preparation
If you don’t want to wait on your refrigerated ingredients to reach room temperature, use a food processor to blend the filing. A food processor causes less air to form, creating a creamy and smooth texture.
Baking Your Cheesecake Recipe
When you bake the cheesecake, pour the filling for the recipe into the crust or a base that has been cooled. Set the pan on a baking sheet with one-half-inch sides so any leakage can be caught. Place the cake in the center of the pan.
Bake and Cool the Cheesecake Slowly
It is best to bake a cheesecake slowly in an oven that reads 325 or 350 degrees Fahrenheit. After you bake the cake for the desired time, partially cool the cake by turning off the oven and leaving the cake in the oven for an extra hour. Remove the cake from the oven and finish the cooling process on a wire rack.
Remember this rule of thumb: a cheesecake does not take well to a sudden change of temperature. That is why cooling should be gradual and never a quick process.
Also remember never to open the oven door during the initial 30 minutes of baking. Doing so can cause the cheesecake to crack. A cheesecake actually continues to bake during cooling. That is why over-baking will lead to cracks.