Use these 10 easy tips to make sure your cheesecake comes out uncracked and perfectly baked.
1. The cream cheese should be at room temperature (and soft) before you begin mixing, or you'll end up with lumps in your cheesecake
2. Do not overbeat your cheesecake batter
3. Cheesecake should be removed from the oven before it looks done, the center will appear jiggly. Cheesecakes become firm only after they’ve cooled and have chilled for several hours.
4. When you remove your cheesecake from the oven, immediately run a thin knife along the edges, pressing the knife against the wall of the pan to loosen the top. This prevents cracking as the cheesecake cools and contracts.
5. If your cheesecake batter has starch in the recipe (flour or cornstarch), you do not need a water bath.
6. If you use a water bath, use this foolproof method:
* Wrap aluminum foil around the sides and bottom of the springform pan.
* Place the springform pan which has all the cheesecake ingredients in it, into a larger deep baking pan (approximately 3 inches deep) that it will fit into with room to spare.
* Place the pans in a preheated oven. Using a teakettle filled with very hot water, pour water into the larger pan about halfway up the sides of the pan.
* Bake cheesecake as directed. When the cheesecake is done baking, remove the springform pan from the water bath pan and set aside so you can remove the larger pan with the water in it from oven. Be very careful, as it will be extremely hot.
* Remove the aluminim foil from the sides and bottom of the springform pan after the cheescake has chilled completely in the refrigerator.
7. Do not cool your cheesecake in the oven. If the recipe calls for the cheescake to finish baking in a turned-off oven, do so. However, if you are to remove it from the oven, do not leave it in to cool.
8. Do not attempt to remove your cheesecake from the pan until it has chilled overnight, at least 12 hours. This will ensure that it is firm enough to avoid breakage.
9. To remove the cheesecake from the springform pan bottom, make sure the cake has been chilled in the refrigerator overnight. Place the cheesecake in its pan (with sides) over a burner set at low heat and turn it every 10 seconds until the entire bottom is warmed. This softens the butter in the crust, which will help release the cake from the pan.
10. To remove the cheesecake from the springform pan sides, use a very thin knife that has been warmed by dipping in hot water and dried. Go around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it using a slow up and down motion. Open the springform pan's ring. The cheesecake will slide easily on to a plate.