The delicious, creamy cake with cheesecake is difficult to bake perfectly. If the oven’s too hot, the top will crack. If it cools down too quickly, the top will crack. So baking the best-looking cheesecake is not for the faint of heart. Want to know how long a cheesecake should cool before refrigerating?
There are different schools of thought on this topic. The basic answer is to cool the cheesecake until it is at room temperature. This will allow the cake to be set completely before it goes into a cooler environment. Set it on the counter to cool, and once it has reached room temperature, immediately put it in the fridge.
The best looking cheesecake is one that has a smooth top. Read on to know how to achieve that.
Why Should You Cool A Cheesecake?
Cheesecakes are baked desserts that are usually served cold. The egg and flour in the cheesecake filling need to be cooked. Hence it’s baked. But it’s never a good idea to put hot food in refrigerators. You can shock the fridge, which can damage it. The food can also become spoilt if you do this.
So you must let the cheesecake cool completely before putting it in the fridge. There are several ways you can do this. Some recipes tell you to let the cheesecake cool for an hour in the oven when it’s turned off. You can also keep the oven door open. This will allow the temperature to reduce gradually. If there is an instant change in the temperature, you could lose the texture of the cheesecake.
After one hour, you can set the cheesecake on the counter for another 1-1.5 hours to let it come to room temperature. If you’ve baked the cheesecake in a springform pan, then leave it in the pan till it’s fully cooled. Otherwise, you run the risk of having a crumbled disaster.
If your house is prone to flies or other critters, cover the cheesecake with a slightly propped open cake cover. Don’t forget to refrigerate the cake after 2 hours. If you leave it out for too long, the cake could spoil as it is mostly made with cream cheese.
If you don’t want to wait around for the cheesecake to cool, you can serve it while it’s still warm. But be prepared for it to taste slightly different in texture than what you’re used to. Refrigerate the cheesecake for 6-24 hours. Ideally, the cheesecake is cool when you serve it.
You can also freeze your cheesecake if you’re short on time. But before you do, make sure you wrap the cheesecake fully in cling wrap. This will prevent freezer burn and ice particles from forming on the cake. You can serve the cake after 1 hour if you’ve frozen it.
Cutting into a cheesecake too soon is one of the biggest mistakes. The cake will still be runny and the crust soggy at this point. Patience is key when it comes to baking cheesecakes.
Common Mistakes Made When Making Cheesecakes
Crust That’s Falling Apart
The crust is what holds the cheesecake together. The perfect bite of cheesecake has at least a bit of crust. So it’s important to get it right. A big mistake is when the graham cracker isn’t crushed fully. Larger chunks will make the crust fall apart. If you have a mixer or a food processor, use that to get fine crumbs for the crust.
Too much butter in the crust will also make it too crumble to hold its shape. Even if the butter in the recipe seems too little, don’t add extra. Pack the crust down tightly to ensure there’s an even layer. And push the crumbs to come up the side of the pan. This will prevent the filling from leaking into the water bath. It is also an excellent idea to pre-bake the crust for 6-8 minutes. This will allow the crust to become crispy and not soggy.
The Temperature of the Ingredients
When making cheesecake, all the ingredients should be at room temperature. This will help you achieve a silky filling mixture. Cold ingredients will also have to be whipped for longer. This will put air into the mixture,, which is not good for cheesecakes. The air will cause the cheesecake to rise too much. Then, the cake will deflate too much when cooled, causing cracks.
If you’re starting with frozen cream cheese, thaw it overnight in the fridge. Then, put it on the counter for 30 minutes before you start whipping the mixture. You can also pop the cheese in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute to soften the cheese.
Baking the Cheesecake
This is the most nerve-wracking part of making a cheesecake. It is easy to over or under-bake the cheesecake. And if the temperature is even a little bit too high, the top can crack. This is why a water bath is used for baking a cheesecake.
The water bath will create mist in the oven. This prevents the cake from heating up too soon. It also prevents uneven heating. Make sure you use an aluminium foil barrier between the cheesecake and the water bath. You don’t want water getting into your mixture.
Yes, it’s hard, but resist the urge to keep opening the oven door when baking a cheesecake. This will lead to drastic temperature changes, a one-way ticket to a cracked cheesecake.
All of these tips apply to all types of baked cheesecakes. If you’re making a no-bake cheesecake, you don’t have to worry about baking and then cooling the cake.