Cheesecake...up Or Down In Oven To Make Top Less Brown?

Decorating By itsmylife Updated 25 Apr 2014 , 8:34pm by MBalaska

itsmylife Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
itsmylife Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 9:51pm
post #1 of 19

I've finally tweaked my cheesecake enough to where I've solved the cracking problem. Now...the only problem I have is that the top gets too brown. The whole cheesecake tastes good, and the brown top really doesn't take away from that, but I would like it to be lighter.

I've used foil to cover it when it starts to get brown, but then that changes the cooking time a bit (it's do-able... but I'm trying to find another way). The other problem is that if I accidently touch the top of the cheesecake with the foil... crack-city.

So, my question is, would it make a difference if I put the cheesecake closer to the top of the oven or closer to the bottom? Right now it's in about the center.


18 replies
KoryAK Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
KoryAK Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 10:14pm
post #2 of 19

lower the temp. You can bake cheesecake at 200 if you want, just gonna take longer. The lower you go the safer you are with cracks, browning, and overbaking.

sadiepix Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
sadiepix Posted 3 Aug 2008 , 10:16pm
post #3 of 19

Do you bake yours in a water bath?
I do, and keep my cheesecakes near the top of the oven (my heat source is at the bottom) and just cook low and slow (300-325 tops)

I almost never get browning (though I do still get cracks sometimes depending on the recipe.

Maybe moving it up might help some? Worth a try anyway!

itsmylife Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
itsmylife Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 3:25am
post #4 of 19

I don't put mine in a waterbath, but I put a pan of water in the oven on the very bottom shelf when I first turn the oven on. I've done it with the cheesecake pan sitting in the water pan, but the consistency never comes out the way I like it. (In the waterbath I get a softer cheesecake - water on shelf below I get a very very dense cheesecake)

I bake mine at 500 for 15 mins and then drop the temp to 200 for one hour. Usually by about the 10th minute of those first 15, it starts to get a little brown, and if it's a cheesecake that I'm not covering with some fruit or something, I'll put an aluminum foil 'tent' over it and that stops the browning.

My heat isource s at the bottom... and I have checked the temp to make sure the oven is doing what it should.

I've tried so many different recipes and finally found one that hasn't cracked the last 6 times I've made it... just need to overcome the browning. I'll try moving it up... I just wasn't sure if the heat being reflected off of the top of the oven would cause more browning (I have no idea!).

Thank you!!

sadiepix Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
sadiepix Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 6:08am
post #5 of 19

Why 500 for 15 minutes? Is that part of the recipe, and does it explain why? Guess I have just never seen that, since cheesecake does not need to brown like say, a pie, and would not need the first rush of heat.

Maybe try the same recipe but instead skip that step of 15 minutes at 500, and see how it comes out? Or maybe do the 15 minutes at a lower temp like 300 or so, then lower to 200?

Cheesecake is so yummy, I know what a pain it can be getting to the eating stage! icon_smile.gif

(Oh, and I did not mean to imply I baked all mine in water, just my hard to keep smooth and pale recipes or really deep was meant to be read as a suggestion, not telling you a fault! I would hate to sound snotty when I did not mean to be! Darn internet! icon_smile.gif )

itsmylife Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
itsmylife Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 6:57am
post #6 of 19

Sadiepix.......Oh gosh no!!!!!!! No offense there (snotty scale was registering a zero hahaha) I was just explaining how I did mine with the waterbath.

About 2 years ago (when I first joined CC), I came here because of my cheesecakes. I always had a terrible time with them cracking, and one of the discussions was about waterbaths. A few people referred to a waterbath as just having water in the oven (like how I do now), and then I was told the pan had to be in the water to be a waterbath (I had no idea).

The 500 degrees/15 mins is what the recipe calls for (again... have no idea why). I just know that my cakes haven't cracked since I've been using this recipe (with the minor ingredient changes that I've tried during the last few months). You would think that the people who work with my DH would be sick of cheesecake by now....... suprisingly, they're not icon_razz.gif .

If I change it to 300 or 350 for 15 mins.... how much longer do you think it should be baked (if any)?

Some people strive for greatness... I just want a perfect cheesecake. I'm getting closer... icon_biggrin.gif .

Thank you for the help!

sadiepix Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
sadiepix Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 7:08am
post #7 of 19

Hey, if you ever get perfect cheesecake, you better let us all know! I am not even close! (Though I have a yummy time practicing!) I wish I got to do them at work, that would help!

I would think add maybe 10 minutes on to the time at 200, 15 tops, then check it for doneness. I know it is no good opening the oven too much, but I would hate to have it overdone either.

Be sure to post how it comes out if you try it that way, I am darn curious! I wonder if the time at 500 sets the top to prevent cracks? Can't wait to hear the results!

(I gotta go make a cheesecake now...gettin' all cravey! icon_biggrin.gif )

miny Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
miny Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 7:31am
post #8 of 19
Originally Posted by itsmylife

I've used foil to cover it when it starts to get brown

I think you should put the foil when you put it in the oven not when it starts to brown, one, it's already browning and it's too late to stop it, and two, is too dangerous, not only it may crack if you touch it, but you may burn yourself icon_surprised.gif Try covering it in the begining and midway the cooking time you can take the foil off and then let it brown but it's already cooked thumbs_up.gif

KoryAK Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
KoryAK Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 8:04am
post #9 of 19

I always start mine out at 350 then drop the temp immediately. The main reason you do this is to give it a good start on cooking when its way too new to overcook so you don't have to stare at it at 200* for as long.

-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 8:14am
post #10 of 19

My experience has been that the shorter German style cheesecakes are started in the oven at a high temp and then lowered. New York style cheesecakes are thicker/taller and take a lower temp for a longer bake. I prefer to bake off the German style ones.

itsmylife Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
itsmylife Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 8:43am
post #11 of 19

Ok... based on comments, I have 3 more cheesecakes to make/test out now. Thank God for DH's work... they are a hungry bunch. If it wasn't for them, I would be about 800 lbs by now. I love cheesecake!

Sadiepix - I think what you said about the high heat for setting the top makes sense.... it definitely forms a 'skin' in those first few minutes. I think I'll try the lower heat first (300-350 then drop to 200) and see if the browning lessens.

Miny - funny you mention burning. I have very long hair which I normally put in a scrunchie when I'm baking. A few weeks ago I had taken it out of the scrunchie after I put the cheesecake in the oven. Well... about 10 minutes later I'm on the floor (my oven is a freestanding double oven...larger oven on bottom, smaller on top) with my alum. foil tent trying to ever so gently put it in there without burning my hands, and I was like... ewwww what the heck is that aweful smell icon_eek.gif ? Had to do a little trimmin on a few ends that night. icon_cry.gif

I will try your idea after sadiepix's. Foil in first with cake then remove later on in the baking process.

KoryAK - How long do you cook yours at 350... then how long at 200?

K8memphis - I'd never heard of the German style - need to talk to my mom about that (born & grew up in Germany). I think my cake would definitely fall under the New York category.... very tall and very dense/thick. In fact, I just looked at the original recipe that I started using and adjusting and it is a NY style. I use 5 eight ounce packages of cream cheese for the one cake.

Once again.... thank you all for the ideas!

Mike1394 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Mike1394 Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 9:06am
post #12 of 19

I just made a 10" last night. The 500 is way to high. I baked mine on 300 for about an 1 1/2 hour, turned the heat off left door closed for roughly 1/2 hr. I didn't use a water bath. What I did do was put wet towels around the outside of the pan, and let it bake that way.
My recipe has no flour, or sour cream in it. If yours does that will make a difference.


JodieF Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
JodieF Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 3:32pm
post #13 of 19

I've sold my 3 inch thick NY cheesecakes for 25 years. I start mine at 475 for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 275 for another 1 hour, 20 minutes. To answer your question about why you start out at a high temp, and then lower it, the high temperature brings the cheesecake mixture quickly up to temperature while the low temperature keeps the air from puffing inside the cheesecake.
A water bath will change the texture of a cheesecake. It makes it creamy (not that anything is wrong with creamy). But, if you want a dense cheesecake you can't use a waterbath.
Once mine are out of the oven I let them sit about 10 minutes and then carefully open the side of the springform pan an inch or two to loosen the cheesecake from the pan. When they cool, they shrink. If the side isn't loosened the cake will crack as the cake shrinks. After I know the cake isn't stuck to the sides, I close the pan and continue cooling.


KoryAK Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
KoryAK Posted 4 Aug 2008 , 10:19pm
post #14 of 19

I preheat the oven to 350 then drop it immediately. I then cook it at 250 ish ... until its done icon_smile.gif

I bake all sizes and rarely use a timer for anything anymore.

Roallin Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Roallin Posted 31 Mar 2014 , 2:21am
post #15 of 19

The purpose of cooking at 500 for 15 is to brown the top.

pinkpoodlekitch Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
pinkpoodlekitch Posted 25 Apr 2014 , 7:19pm
post #16 of 19

AI made some lemon cupcakes and my husband took them into work with him yesterday. Everybody LOVED them. He told me they were gone FAST. He said that I'm supposed to bake a cheesecake for two of his co-workers for Monday for their birthdays. One might be the boss....I can't remember now. I have my mom's cheesecake recipe which was okay when I baked it. It's always better when she bakes it! Honestly! :) I like the recipe, but I like to have more flavor. I want a recipe that makes people's eyes get all big and then roll back into their eyelids with pure delight from the bite of that heavenly cheesecake that they just put into their mouths. I want a recipe that is so good it'll make you wanna slap your grandma...or whatever that goofy saying is. I'll stop now.

All they want is a plain cheesecake. I'd like to maybe have some sort of yummy sauce that can be poured/spooned over each piece of cheesecake if they wanted to do so. (The cake will be sitting in the kitchen area but since it's for birthdays, they'll probably eat it all right up. I'm sure they'll know to refrigerate whatever is leftover. Right....?)

So I'm looking for an awesome, I don't need to be a rocket scientist to be able to bake it properly, creamy cheesecake recipe. I want my husband to be proud of it when he takes it in and they start eating it. :) Does anyone have any suggestions? And I'm still confused about whether to start at a higher temp then reduce to a lower temp or not. Thanks! Sorry for rambling on.

MBalaska Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
MBalaska Posted 25 Apr 2014 , 7:35pm
post #17 of 19
pinkpoodlekitch Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
pinkpoodlekitch Posted 25 Apr 2014 , 8:24pm
post #18 of 19

AThank you! I'm going to try your recipe!!! Now I need a sauce... This is fun! :grin:

MBalaska Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
MBalaska Posted 25 Apr 2014 , 8:34pm
post #19 of 19

You're welcome.  the recipe I gave is straight out of the 'Betty Crocker's new cookbook.'

Quote by @%username% on %date%