No, I have never tried the water bath method but have always heard that it works. Sometimes is cracks & sometimes it doesn't...and I am a lazy cook! Do you set it in the water bath or just put a pan of water in the oven?
Thanks for answering.
I usually put the cheesecake pan in a hotel pan or roasting pan then fill the hotel pan with water only a little ways up the side of the cheesecake pan. About half way I think since Ive never measured the water. I bake my cheesecake at about 200-250*F for about an hr and a half or till its done. I never go by time, just by checking.
There's a couple reasons why cheesecakes crack and couple ways to help avoid it.
Why they can crack: too hot of an oven, over baked, cooled too quickly, over beaten batter, sides stuck to the pan while cooling forcing center to crack and probably a couple more I'm forgetting at this moment.
Tips: place cakes dirrectly in a water bath if your only baking one or two, place a pan of water on the bottom of your oven to increase humidity, don't use an over temp. over 350f (250 to 275 is best in my opinion), spray the sides of your pan with pan release before adding batter, when cooling run a knive between cake and pan to make sure it's not sticking to sides, avoid all drafts while cooling cake (underbake abit and cool in oven with door propped open), don't cool the cake quickly and don't refridgerate until it's complete down to room temp., don't whip your cream cheese while mixing.
I'm not one who bakes cheesecake in a water bath. But here are some suggestions to possibly avoid cracking...These apply to real, New York style cheesecake and not that fluffed up stuff from the west coast.
1. Do NOT overbeat your cheesecake batter. This causes excess air to be incorporated which makes the cake rise in the oven, then fall, and possibly crack.
2. When the baking time is done, run a paring knife around the edge of the cake to release it from the pan. As the cake contracts, it will come away from the pan instead of cracking to relieve the pressure of contraction.
3. Leave it in the oven for a while after it's finished, with the door ajar. This will slow the cooling process (you can run the knife around, then put it back in the "off" oven).
4. When you do remove it from the oven, beware of drafts. Drafts can cause uneven cooling. This is not the same as putting a cake in the fridge. That cooling is consistent.
I think the most important tip is not to whip a lot of excess air into your batter.
Thank you all very much! What a great resource this site is. I am a long time cafe owner/cook. Now the baked potato question.....I don't like microwaved potatoes and my cook insists that they are fine. Hmmmm.....I would rather do something with the leftover potatoes even if it means feeding them to the chickens. So, how best to bake and hold bakers for no more than 4 hours???
Ok the baked potato Question
i guess i'm the only daring one here,lol
I find that if u hold the bakers ina pan in the oven set at around 180 they hold pretty good. As for ur left overs u can do lots of things withhence, Soup, fried potato skins and then stuff them, also u can do twice baked potatoes,
Being that ur a resturant owner ur best moneymaker on them will be the potato skins stuffed it's a nice app.
The baked potato question.....sigh....I'm quite sure that any of the money we made in the restaurant biz has come from using up leftover baked potatoes! Make a good cream of potato soup. Was hoping for some new technology or something. Have tried everything (I think.....).
May I ask you all-if you were travelling and went into a cafe for dinner, what would you like to see on the menu? The old American good food kinda stuff. Any thoughts? We make all of our 'stuff' in house and am considering going back to making my own bread. I am sure this is some kind of mid-life insanity.
A beautiful simply roasted chicken, with gravy and mashed taters. Homemade chicken potpies (or beef potpies, or seafood potpies - how about those leftovers!). Baked ham on the bone, with sweet potatoes (see my sweet potato discussion!). A four-cheese mac and cheese with stewed tomatoes. Beef stew. I'm walking down memory lane, and thinking of the things my grandma would make (cooking skipped a generation - my mom's cooking was early 50's boxes and Swanson frozen dinners!). Highlight in-season foods, like fresh corn on the cob and tomatoes (how about a tomato sandwich or fried green tomatoes). Chicken and dumplings. Pot roast.
If the cafe is anywhere near a good source: fresh LOCAL fish, prepared simply -- grilled or baked or even fried.
Almost anything fried, as long as it's not greasy and not armor-plated. I wish I could live on fried chicken!
Seasonal vegetables, lots of them. Steamed green beans. Sweet-and-sour red cabbage. Mashed rutabagas. Peas with or without pearl onions, cooked with lettuce leaves and well-buttered. Sauteed brussel sprouts. Spinach a zillion ways, especially creamed with REAL cream. Corn a zillion ways, including fritters, pudding, spoonbread. Baked or mashed winter squashes. Scalloped tomatoes (especially if it's NOT tomato season and you have to use canned).
Homemade ketchup. Homemade mayonnaise. Little touches like that which say, "We care."
On the potato question: please, whatever you do, DON'T wrap them in foil! You can always grease the skins and stick them in a hot oven to crisp up again before serving. And NO NUKES. As a customer, I'd rather be told the place is out of baked potatoes, because then at least I'd know they were fresh when you have them.
Good old fashioned, hum....well my spouse and I drive for an hour each way to eat at our favorite diner. Hubby always orders pork grandma style, I order roast turkey. It's really old fashioned good cooking ....and they keep the crowd coming back.
There's so many wonder things you could make but what I really want is to eat what YOU make best. We ask our wait person about whats good specific to your place before we order. We both will try non-usual items if they come recommended. I hate seeing a place offer everything in the world and not make anything REALLY good. What's your speciality?
I agree with Riverrun; He's giving you some good advice on holding, what to do with leftovers, and using them for twice baked potatoes and potato skins.
In Demcember 1996 / Januray 1997 No.18 in an issue of Fine Cooking. Titled: A Perfectly Baked Potato; on pages 54/55.
Written: by Molly Stevens, Contributing Editor: for Fine Cooking Magazine. She will give you some great tips on baking potatoes.
I'm sorry that I can't E-Mail you the article because my scanner has broken down.
Here's the phone #/E-Mail address.
(1-800-283-7252) (Internet: [email protected])
"Okay" I hope that takes care of (problem #1)
To get this down to a science, you have to know the amount of potatoes you are using in a hour.
Example: Your dinner hour starts at 5:00 P.M. and ends at 9:00 P.M. you've estimated your using 50 baked potatoes per hour for the first two hours. 40 for the third hour, and 25 the last hour for a total 165 potatoes.
Note: You must keep a record for each night of what you use per hour, so you know how much to prep each day.
What I would do is prep. 50 potatoes and have them ready for 5:00, then I would have the prep. cook start baking 50 at 5:00 for 6:00 and so on. That way your only holding each batch for a hour at a time and that will keep your waste way down. This might sound hard to do but it's easy, give it a try! He's right about holding them in a pan in the oven; this is good for small amounts. On a larger volume, it could get pertty crowded in your ovens holding and cooking them, besides all the other foods your trying to prepare.
I recommend; You go to a 2 or 3 drawer warmer that has a temp. setting of a 100 to 200 degrees.
Look in the Federal Supply Co. catalog, on page #130
Web Site: (www.Federalsupply.com)
E-Mail address: ([email protected])
Phone #: (1-847-623-1310)
Thank you, Chef Alfonzo! I have used a steam table in the past to hold them and have never been quite satisfied. Do the potatoes dry out in the oven? Should I oil the skins? And baking in batches is the only smart thing to do, for sure. How about mashed potatoes? I tried holding some roasted garlic mashed in a crock pot and they held great for almost 3 hours. After that they got too hot around the middle. I am sure I could have turned the crock pot off after 3 hrs as our dinner hours are from 4 to 8.
I'm sorry I didn't write you sooner. I've been very busy preparing all the food for Easter at my restaurant.
"Ok," as far as oiling potato skins you can, but it is not necesseary. If you do, you can use olive oil, butter, or lard; any one of these will give the potato some type of flavor. I personally just take a knife and poke it at each end, three times on the front and three times on the back. This allows the moisture to come out of the potato, your goal is to draw out just enough moisture during the cooking, this will leave you with a life fluffy potato on the inside. A good way to check potatoes to see if they're done is to take a towel or oven mitt and squeeze them lightly, if they give slightly and feel soft they're done.
Question No. 2: (Mashed Potatoes; the best way to hold them.)
First I need to know what type of business you're running, is it a sit down restaurant or buffet style? How many people are you serving from 4 to 8? Although it sounds like your steam table is up too high. If you have a large volume of people, either at a buffet or in a sit down restaurant, then you can use a full pan in the steam table. Remember that if you have a buffet you must have someone stationed at the buffet at all times to see what you're running out of and making sure every thing is fresh.
That is the most important thing about running a buffet. You can have an excellent salad bar, main course, and dessert, but if you don't have someone keeping an eye on it at all times, it will completely destroy the excellent quality of the food you have just prepared. Try to size the pan to the volume of people you're serving per hour. I myself only hold mashed potatoes not any longer than a hour in a restaurant situation. The trick that I use is, I make enough for the four hours, I put in the steam table the amount that I need to start out with, cool down the rest and put each proportion it the refrigerator that I think I will use per hour. I store the proportions in plastic bags and make sure I get all the air out of the bag before I seal it. I found out that by not letting any air at them they willl not dry out. If you have a microwave you can put the bag in the microwave to warm it up a little. Put it in the steam table pan, whip it up, and put it in the steam table and it's good to go.
In the restaurant industry waste is a big issue. Most establishments are happy with a 21% waste factor. I feel that with the right control you can bring it down to an 18% waste factor; by monitoring it properly. A 21% waste factor is excellent, and an 18% waste factor is considered perfect! Although it is a goal to get your waste factor at a lower rate, "don't," think for one minute of sacrificing the quality of food you're serving to your costomers to reach this goal. Sometimes you have to waste food to assure that you're serving the freshest quality; it all works out in the long run,don't throw out the mashed potatoes each hour, save them, they might be too dry for mashed potatoes, but you can use them for other things. Such as soup, potato/cheese filled pierogi, potato lefse, and cheese or spinach Gnocchi. I could give you 15 more off the top of my head, the point is any leftovers can be put to good use to cut down your waste. If you have anymore questions feel free to ask, this is my e-mail address: [email protected]. The only thing is include your e-mail address, I answer a lot of e-mail, so I use Dragon Naturally Speaking and it works best by going directly from my e-mail to your e-mail address.