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mkfradin

Cheesecake in a convection oven

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I've just started baking with a commercial convection oven and have had mostly good luck with most of my standard recipes, but cheesecake is giving me a horrible time! I think the problem is the temperature--the first time I made the cake, I could see the batter boiling in the oven (this at about 225 degrees), and the second time, altho I didn't see any active boiling, there was a suspicious looking bulge in one side that looked like an incipient bubble.

This would all be an academic question, except I've put cheesecake on my holiday menu, and several people have ordered it, and now I have to figure out a way to get a great product out to them fast (yes, I've learned my lesson this time, I think...). I've never been crazy about bain maries for cheesecakes; I prefer the dried, heavy texture of a NY style cheesecake, as did my tasters when I sampled cheesecakes last fall. What do I do? Suck it up and use my radiant oven, which would limit my production capability, or use the bain marie and tell my customers that it's better this way? Is there an alternative? Help me before I run out of cream cheese or go broke buying eggs!

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Does your oven have the option of turning off the fan but still able to bake? If not you could try placing the cheesecake inside of another taller pan and covering with foil to keep the fan from blowing on it and lower the temperature another 25 degrees. Also is your oven calibrated? Most convection ovens bake from 25 to 50 degrees hotter than a conventional oven,so you need to know if it is baking anywhere near what it is set at. If covering the cake does't work and you decide to use a baine marie make sure you use a lot of water almost to the top of the pan to keep the temperature even throughout the cheesecake. Good luck.


check out my baking and pastry books at the Pastrymama1 shop on www.Half.ebay.com

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Yes- wrap your spring form or pan you are using in foil around the bottom to seal it. Place the cheesecake into a water bath, cover with tented foil again, and bake it low and slow.( under 300) Rotate 1/2 way through and check it's progress. Poach-baking cheesecakes is THE way to go-- no cracks or valleys. If you do a sour cream topping or something like that, pull it out let it cool for 15 min, spread your goo, then return to a 350 oven for 5 miinutes.


Melissa McKinney

Chef/Owner Criollo Bakery

mel@criollobakery.com

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I like the baine method. And then just through a sheet pan on top of all the other pans, to prevent direct heat from above. This method always worked for me.


Cory Barrett

Pastry Chef

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Don't worry it can be done successfully. I bake cheesecakes in the convection all the time-although I'd prefer a non-convection...it's do-able, very do able!

First things first-forget what the temp. on your dial says with confections! If you baked according to the dial you'd ruin most baked goods. Typically you set you dial 50 degrees lower then what you want when using a convection. An example: for 350f oven set your dial on 300f. BUT heres the tricky part-EVERY oven is different and you do have to do some baking to experiement and find the small variables with yours.

The ovens I use at one club run 75 degrees hotter then the dial-regardless of the fact that the ovens have recently been calibrated. I work in a different oven thats stacked ontop of the first example the same brand oven at the same club and it's off 50f only.

Convection ovens are NOTHING like home ovens! I've run into countless professionals that don't know this. I "find" my ovens 350f by baking cakes that I know really well. For example I know when my cake is baking fast just by looking at it (later by taste and smell) and that innate bakers clock my brain has developed over the years.

So find a recipe you know better then the back of your hand. Then bake it multiple times judging how fast/correctly it's baking and adjust your ovens temp. up or down according to your findings. TRUST yourself, trust your recipe and find your ovens temp. THENnnnnnnnnnnnn, everything works up or down from there. Example: you now know that 275 on your dial seems to be 350f in reality. The next time you bake a cheesecake dial down accordingly. So if you want a 200f oven you would set your dial on 75f.

So what you found happened to you was normal and you were right! You were probably baking way too hot for a cheesecake and it was boiling. Surely you must have noticed other problems or inconsitancys in known products? Your cakes were probably over baking on the sides?

So after you get your temp. right you can do other things to aid in baking cheesecakes in convectional ovens. I always put a hotel pan of hot water on the bottom of my oven to increase the humiditty. Waterbaths are absolutely painless if you learn how to bake a cheesecake in a regular cake pan (which you should do anyway).

Hopefully you'll be on your way shortly. Keep at it, again trust your knowledge and work out from there. If you still need help, just come back. There are many experts hanging out here and your welcome to come hang with us anytime.

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Oh, I thought of something else. It's my opinion that the denseness of your final results is based on your recipe more then the method in which you baked your cheesecake. A ny baked in a waterbath is still going to be dense.

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I always prior to using any Convection Oven place several Thermometers in the Oven where I can read them easily. Set the oven to the temperature you desire.

Then after watching the temperature readings adjust the temperature until you are satisfied.

Important ! even after your pretty sure of your temperature, there is one more step, that I consider the most important.

Place into the oven the number of Racks or Pans that you'll generally be Baking for each recipe. If possible put weights onto the Pans that are about the approximate temperature of the ingredients that you'll be baking.

In most Ovens you'll need to further adjust your settings, due to the air circulation as well as temperature balance.

Another thing that works well, especially with High Density Cheesecakes baked under Convection Heat is to make Cut Outs from Parchment Paper, Spray one Side very lightly with Butter and cover each Cake pan with the Parchment paper Butter Side down to keep the air flow from interfering with your filling until it sets.

After your filling sets it easy to remove the Parchment Paper and allow the surface of your Cheesecakes to finish properly.

This way works for "Lindys" Cheesecakes every time.

Good Luck !

Irwin :biggrin:


I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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In most Ovens you'll need to further adjust your settings, due to the air circulation as well as temperature balance.

This is the point I was making in my previous post.

You should see that your ovens are correctly calibrated. BUT the simple fact is it doesn't ultimate make that big of a difference because no matter what, if it's a convection oven you will need to learn how to adjust to it.

A perfectly calibrated convection oven bakes much differently then a conventional oven due to the increased air flow. The air flow isn't a factor you can punch into a calulator and find a magic answer that will apply to every convection and every item you bake.

How much your air cirulates, hot spots in the oven, outside edges, whether the oven is stacked or not, what it's next to in the kitchen, it's humitity, all play into how your baked good turns out. It could also be calibrated perfectly and the oven fan may not be working properly (maybe too frequently, maybe less) and that would effect your baking too. The settings you choose on the exterior will be a factor. Do you use a high fan or low, do you use the cool down button at all?

If you could go about calucating as suggested you'd have to conduct endless experiements because you also have to factor in the temp.s of the other items (were they frozen and letting off cool air) in the oven, how many times you'll open your doors, how dense the other products are in the oven taking up air space, how big every items is blocking air flow, etc...

But I don't understand how the weight makes a difference, unless your refering to density and how an item blocks the air flow?

It can't be done perfectly.

Ultimately it comes down to being a good baker. Knowing your ovens you begin to gain a 6th sense, you just "know" when items are done compared to the countless other items you've baked in that oven and your basing that judgement considering size, density and all your past experience, etc....

I bake using an oven on a different floor from where I prep and I've yet to burn anything (knock on wood), even with out scent you do gain this extra sense/knowledge........those who don't have it.....usually aren't bakers for long or live off of timers.

I've never thought about the paper trick you mentioned Wesza but I'm darn curious about this and will have to give it a try next time I bake a cheesecake. Thanks for the tip, can I ask where you learned that?

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I always have a cheesecake on the menu (very popular in Hawaii); like Wendy I put a pan of water in with the cheesecakes (I do this with brownies too). Ricotta or marscapone cheesecakes I do in a bain marie. I prefer a conventional oven for them (but the world does not work that way!)- at 200- 250. Turn you fan low (or off if you can) and bake at 175-200- covering them with a sheet tray helps too.

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In most Ovens you'll need to further adjust your settings, due to the air circulation as well as temperature balance.

This is the point I was making in my previous post.

You should see that your ovens are correctly calibrated. BUT the simple fact is it doesn't ultimate make that big of a difference because no matter what, if it's a convection oven you will need to learn how to adjust to it.

A perfectly calibrated convection oven bakes much differently then a conventional oven due to the increased air flow. The air flow isn't a factor you can punch into a calulator and find a magic answer that will apply to every convection and every item you bake.

How much your air cirulates, hot spots in the oven, outside edges, whether the oven is stacked or not, what it's next to in the kitchen, it's humitity, all play into how your baked good turns out. It could also be calibrated perfectly and the oven fan may not be working properly (maybe too frequently, maybe less) and that would effect your baking too. The settings you choose on the exterior will be a factor. Do you use a high fan or low, do you use the cool down button at all?

If you could go about calucating as suggested you'd have to conduct endless experiements because you also have to factor in the temp.s of the other items (were they frozen and letting off cool air) in the oven, how many times you'll open your doors, how dense the other products are in the oven taking up air space, how big every items is blocking air flow, etc...

But I don't understand how the weight makes a difference, unless your refering to density and how an item blocks the air flow?

It can't be done perfectly.

Ultimately it comes down to being a good baker. Knowing your ovens you begin to gain a 6th sense, you just "know" when items are done compared to the countless other items you've baked in that oven and your basing that judgement considering size, density and all your past experience, etc....

I bake using an oven on a different floor from where I prep and I've yet to burn anything (knock on wood), even with out scent you do gain this extra sense/knowledge........those who don't have it.....usually aren't bakers for long or live off of timers.

I've never thought about the paper trick you mentioned Wesza but I'm darn curious about this and will have to give it a try next time I bake a cheesecake. Thanks for the tip, can I ask where you learned that?

Sinclair:

Putting the Parchment Paper over the Cheesecake Pans was something I learned from Bruno Cumin, the Head Pastry Chef at the in house Bakery that serviced the "Four Seasons" and "Brasserie" Restaurants in NYC's Seagram Building.

Baking "Lindy's Cheesecakes" with both Convection and Deck Oven was something I acquired In Hong Kong where we had installed the first convection overs imported into Asia at my "Lindy's Restaurants" since our volume was much greater then anticipated, especially since doing all in house baking from scratch daily, starting with excess of 600 Croissants made with Normandy Butter Daily plus averaging 50/60 Cheesecakes, Bagels, Dinner Rolls, Rye Bread, Chalah, Ruggelah, Deep Dish Latticed Pies, Sacher Tortes, Nesserole and Chiffon Pies we had a space, production problem.

Our original location was in a 2500 square foot space, with rents much higher then NYC or the Ginza in Japan at that time. We did retail and restaurant business averaging 300/500 lunch's daily with our 85 seats and about 300/400 diners with the same Menu served all day, every day.

We did have less problems since being experienced with Convection Ovens I pre-ordered them with 2 Fan Speeds, plus fan shut off and the best thermostat available in the market.

Often these options are available today without considerable expense to customize your Convection Ovens and can be considered.

There is no question that a experienced Baker is capable of managing to produce satisfactory products under adverse conditions. I once had a Baker who produced excellent baked goods with a Chitwood Smoke Oven, no proofer or retarder, but he said no problem and delivered the goods.

Irwin :rolleyes:

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I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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THanks everyone for the suggestions. I'm feeling a little better this morning, since I just took the cake out of the oven (275, totally dry), and it didn't have any cracks in it, the top was pale and set, and best of all--no bubbles! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I'm looking forward to going back and really reading the suggestions (morning is crunch time, so I'm just skimming here). When you're talking about a pan of water, Sinclair and I think Irwin, Im assuming it's a pan of water below the cake, not the bain marie, right? Also, since my oven has steam, should I be using that periodically? (I have to keep pressing the button if I do).

I love the oven in general, bu your' right, there's a learning curve and my scones and muffins were coming out dry and burned on top and undercooked till I learned to set the thermometer for 50-75 degrees less, and now they're perfect. The only problem I ever had was lemon bars; the tops were rubbery and definitely not edible. My standards for lemon bars are low (I love them!), so you know these were really bad!

I'll post later and let you know how the cake came out. I think we're having it for dessert at lunch in the kitchen.

Marjorie

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Great! I'm happy to read that you've got things figured out.

I've never worked with a steam injecting oven but I don't believe you want to use that feature on your cheesecakes. I'm really only familar with it being used for breads in regards to it's crust. I also recall A. Uster using steam for their frozen danish. When you get ahead of schedule and have some free time- you might want to start a thread and ask about the uses of a steam injecting oven..........I think it would be very interesting and educational. Your lucky to have this feature and I'm sure theres alot of product that could be enhansed using it.

I put a pan of hot water on the bottom of my oven to make it a more humid atmosphere. And or you can bake dirrectly in a waterbath, but use cake pans not springforms (their a hassle).

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You can come over and play with my oven some time (in your spare time, ha ha), since I don't think you're too far from me (I'm in Highland Park)--if you ever decide you want to use steam.

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Highland Park-good for you!!!! Location, location, location.........you picked a great one..........don't see how you could loose there! Thats auesome!

You should have tons of opportunities for wholesale if you wanted that too. I worked in that area catering (years ago). We got some highly creative work from that area, which is fun.

Hat's off to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey if you ever need another hand.........drop me a line.

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Wendy--Anytime you want to talk, just stop by!

Sweet Memories

1852 First Street

HP

At the very least, I'll get the face to go with the name!

Marjorie

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I have good results using the intermittent setting for the convection. The fan works in regular bursts, rather than constant on or constant off. Also, when not using the constant convection, I only need to reduce my temperature by 25 degrees, as opposed to the usual 50 degrees when using it constantly.


Aidan

"Ess! Ess! It's a mitzvah!"

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On 3/27/2004 at 8:04 PM, wesza said:

Putting the Parchment Paper over the Cheesecake Pans was something I learned from Bruno Cumin, the Head Pastry Chef at the in house Bakery that serviced the "Four Seasons" and "Brasserie" Restaurants in NYC's Seagram Building.

Hello Wesza - I tried your suggestion about parchment over my cheesecake last night and baked it in my commercial convection oven with a pan of water on the bottom shelf.  The paper came away easily without sticking - the only problem I have is that under the paper, the texture of the top of my cheesecake was pitted.  Any idea why this would happen?

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Pitted in what way? large air pockets or small bubbles?  Is this a dense cheesecake recipe? (as in, NY Style?)  Had you been having problems with it baking before?  Did this method give you an improvement or no change as far as consistency/cracking/etc? I guess I'm trying to figure out if the pitting is new with this method (with the paper) or if it always happened and the paper made no difference.

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1 hour ago, JeanneCake said:

Pitted in what way? large air pockets or small bubbles?  Is this a dense cheesecake recipe? (as in, NY Style?)  Had you been having problems with it baking before?  Did this method give you an improvement or no change as far as consistency/cracking/etc? I guess I'm trying to figure out if the pitting is new with this method (with the paper) or if it always happened and the paper made no difference.

Thanks for the response JeanneCake!  Sorry for the lack of details in my original post.  This is a New York style cheesecake so yes, it is dense.  This was my first time baking a cheesecake in my professional convection oven.  Before this, I made cheesecakes in my conventional oven in a bain marie and had no problems.  This was the first time I used the method with buttered paper on top and a pan of water on the bottom shelf rather than the bain marie.  The texture and taste of the final product were fine.  There are what I would consider small indentations making it look like the surface of the moon rather than the nicely flat cheesecake that I am accustomed to.  My first guess is that perhaps there was too much air in the batter which escaped during cooking and rather than being able to escape the paper caused the air to create the defect in the surface.  Thinking that I need to let batter sit in the pan for a few minutes to settle or tap the pan.  OR - is it better to cover the pan rather than the surface of the cake as I need to do with my chocolate cake?  I realize trial and error is a part of the game but would like to minimize the error side of the equation.  I would appreciate your input. . .

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I've been baking a creamier style cheesecake in my convection ovens for years, and I typically do individual 3 inch rings and only the larger sizes (8, 9 or 10 inch rounds) during the holidays.  I'm not using a bain marie for the individuals, but I do with the larger sizes.  I don't use the buttered parchment  circles on top.  I've found I need to lower the temp - for the rings I'm baking at 250 (the oven runs a little hot so the oven thermometer reads around 275) for about 30 minutes then letting them sit in the turned-off oven. I tend to get more air bubbles, not any pitting; and I would say that maybe the bubbles could look like craters.  We're making some individuals this week so I will take pictures if I am there when they get made.

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All my baking is in an industrial convection oven. I also do individual cheesecakes (NY style) in rings (7cm diameter and 5cm height). All are placed on a thick baking sheet with the moulds on a Teflon sheet. I bake at 110°C (230°F) for 18 minutes and then turn the oven off and remove the product after a further 18 minutes standing in the oven. I did try buttered disks on the product which resulted in "moonscape" tops but now simply place an upturned sheet pan over the rings. It works for me and I now get perfect tops each time. I did find that when I started baking the individual cheesecakes, I placed the moulds too close to each other which resulted in some problems. I found that leaving a minimum of 25mm (1 inch) gaps between the rings gave me an even bake and perfect result. My oven has a steam function which I do not use and I do not use a tray of water on the bottom shelf either.

 

I do not get too many orders for cheesecakes as they are very expensive to make in my little part of the world. However, I am at present doing some experimenting to produce a lighter (less dense) cheesecake, more on what we call a continental cheesecake, but have come up with a few problems which I will slowly try to solve over the next few months.


Cape Town - At the foot of a flat topped mountain with a tablecloth covering it.

Some time ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please don't let Kevin Bacon die.

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