The Advantages and Disadvantages of Copper Cookware

Copper is used for a lot of high end cookware on the market. But most cookware made with copper has a cooking surface made of stainless steel, nickel, or tin. And while cookware made of copper is excellent for heat conductivity, there are some advantages and disadvantages.


Because copper is a malleable and ductile metal, it is used in a lot of high end cookware, which is why high end cookware manufacturers prefer it above other materials. And of course, the look of copper is distinct and very attractive, making copper cookware the popular choice of many households.

But cookware made from copper does have functionality purposes too. When compared to stainless steel, glass, and aluminum, copper cookware distributes heat much more effectively, sometimes ten times as much. And it does not take long to prepare food in copper cookware than other types, reducing the amount of burn spots that are unfortunately seen on non copper cookware.

This kind of cookware made from copper is easier to clean and maintain. Although shiny copper looks amazing, there are plenty of people who prefer the aged look of scratched copper. Some models of copper high end cookware have a brushed look to them, which saves the user from the time it takes to polish.

As mentioned before, copper cookware is usually lined with a separate, different metal. By making cookware of copper in this fashion, the copper will not be able to react with the food and it can cook evenly.


Although there are many great aspects of copper cookware, there are some downsides experienced by amateur and professional chefs alike. First of all, because of the malleability of copper high end cookware, it tends to easily become scratched, and this is why manufacturers reinforce their copper cookware with other metals. However, metals like tin can become unstable at higher temperatures.

Heat can alter the color and appearance of copper. And since copper high end cookware will often be exposed to heat, there is no avoiding this. Most of the time, the beautiful copper color will change to orange, purple, and dark pink, but you can help slow this effect down by cleaning your copper cookware properly and regularly.

Acidic foods can also tarnish copper high end cookware, allowing the metal to seep into foods. Copper’s acid sensitivity can eventually render the copper cookware useless if it is lined with tin and the tin becomes worn all the way to the copper on the bottom; cooking on it will make your food toxic.

Of course, copper is heavier than tin and aluminum, so it is easier to dent high end cookware of copper. And the cost of copper far outweighs any other type of metal used to create cookware. You must care for your copper cookware properly in order to make it look the same as the day it was purchased.

Even with all of this cookware’s disadvantages, it is still the metal cookware of choice for chefs across the world as copper high end cookware can distribute heat better than any other type of cookware metal. And the beauty of copper cookware is unmatched, making it a household investment instead of a kitchen utility.

Source by Kirt Westred

Teflon Vs Ceramic Cookware – What’s The Big Deal?

For this article Teflon cookware is any cookware made with PTFE, PFOA, PFOE coating.

Today everyone wants to cook healthy and nonstick cookware allows you to cook many foods like fish eggs chicken and pork without using large amounts of oil and butter. The non stick surface keeps food from sticking without using

unhealthy oils and other fats. All non stick cookware is coated with either ceramic or Teflon but many manufactures use their own unique manufacturing process to produce what they say is the best most durable coating. But they are all variations of ceramic or Teflon.

The Teflon brand was the first non stick cookware introduced to the public. It was made using polytetrafluoroethylene PTFE which was discovered in 1938. One issue with all non ceramic coated cookware is it may release toxins that could be harmful. The main concern cooking with Teflon is overheating and using the wrong utensils, cooking at a temperature greater than 500 degrees F releases toxins some of which are considered to cause cancer. Always use wood or silicone utensils when using Teflon coated cookware to help prevent chipping and scratching the cooking surface. Teflon cookware is safe for use in ovens as long as you bake, roast and broil at temperatures no greater than 350 degrees F.

Ceramic coating cookware was born out of the health concerns associated with PTFE, PFOA, PFOE coated cookware. So what is the meaning of Ceramic? The technical meaning of Ceramic is ‘clay that has been fire hardened’. To make a pot or pan the typical manufacturing process starts with a base metal like hard anodized aluminum that is sprayed or dipped in a mineral gel that coats the product and then is cured. This process applies an inorganic coating on the product. The fact that the coating is inorganic is what makes the cookware safe for the environment. The Ceramic coating is completely free of PTFE, PFOA and PFOE and the FDA has strict requirements for the manufacturing of Ceramic products.

Another environmental reason for choosing ceramic is the manufacturing process is easier and usually only one coat is applied. Teflon requires several coatings, takes longer to cure and uses more energy. Also Ceramic coating can be heated to temperatures approaching 800 degrees F.

When it comes to the decision which to choose ask yourself theses questions.

  • When you cook on the stove do you mostly use medium heat?
  • Will you use wood or silicone utensils?
  • Will most of the food you cook in the oven be around 350 degrees F?
  • Will you mostly cook recipes that don’t require high heat?

If you answer yes to all questions Teflon is a good and safe choice.

If you’re concerned about cooking in a chemical free environment, normally use high heat want easy clean up, durability and the ability to color coordinate your cookware. Ceramic cookware would be a better choice.

Source by David Sabatelli

A Guide to Celebrating the 20th Wedding Anniversary

The 20th year wedding anniversary is one of the largest milestone anniversaries, and one that is well worth celebrating not only with your spouse and loved ones, but also with anyone in your life who wants to celebrate with you. As you celebrate this truly momentous occasion, you should be taking the time to reflect on the serious commitment that has been made to a lifetime of marriage between you and your spouse. Here is a guide to the ideas and symbols that are normally associated with the twentieth wedding anniversary. Planning a 20th year wedding anniversary is an event that should be taken seriously, and it has a lot more planning involved than simply throwing a celebratory party.

20th Anniversary Traditional Gifts: China is the traditional gift for the 20th wedding anniversary, as it is meant to symbolize the beauty, elegance and delicate nature of your love for one another over a period of the past twenty years.

20th Anniversary Modern or Contemporary Gifts: Platinum is the modern or contemporary choice for a 20th year wedding anniversary gift because it is strong and enduring in many of the same ways as your twenty year old marriage.

20th Anniversary Gemstone: The emerald is the traditional gemstone for celebrating the 20th year wedding anniversary, though yellow or golden diamonds are another available option.

20th Anniversary Color: The colors traditionally associated with the 20th year wedding anniversary are both emerald green and white.

20th Anniversary Flower: The flower normally associated with the 20th year wedding anniversary is the day lily. The meaning normally associated with the day lily is that of coquetry, including playful behavior toward your spouse and flirting.

Another opportunity available to you is to give a rose that is symbolic of this momentous occasion, the twentieth year anniversary. A few of the roses that you should consider include the China Doll rose, the Chinatown rose, the Weeping China Doll rose and the Precious Platinum rose.

There are a number of different ways that you can celebrate your twentieth year wedding anniversary. For example, you may want to consider planning an anniversary party that has a Chinese theme, possibly even making use of Chinese paper lanterns as part of the decorations. If you want to continue the China theme, you may consider planning a picnic using China glasses and plates rather than paper or Styrofoam. Take things to the next level by purchasing tickets to a concert, movie, sporting event or the theater and attend with your loved one. If you want to celebrate in style, which is recommended for this truly phenomenal wedding anniversary, you may even consider vacationing with your spouse to China or Hong Kong, where traditional China gifts can be purchased.

There are a variety of different gift ideas that you can consider when treating your spouse to a gift on your twentieth year wedding anniversary. Consider giving the gift of a Wedgwood china vase containing fresh day lilies or other flowers. You may also consider giving the gift of China plates, china baskets or China cake plates that match the style and décor of your home. If China kitchenware is not your style, China figurines or Chinese style figurines may make an excellent gift for your loved one. If China is not your style, there is always the option to choose platinum jewelry, as platinum is a contemporary gift choice for this particular wedding anniversary.

If you want to create a gift for your spouse rather than purchasing one, you may consider putting a piece of platinum and emerald jewelry, a single day lily, new paper money, love coupons and a love note in a China cup or China bowl, or otherwise combining small, beautiful gifts together in a simple way to show your most special loved one how much you care about them.

The twentieth year wedding anniversary is a large one, and traditionally is the anniversary where couples finally begin to include their friends and family in their celebrations. This does not mean that you cannot celebrate with one another privately, but to have reached twenty happy years with your husband or wife is certainly cause for a grand celebration.

Source by Bennetta Elliott

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Electric Pizza Ovens, on Your Quest For the Ultimate Pizza

Any serious chef needs the right tools. This includes the freshest ingredients, the best instruments and of course, a good oven. Pizza is one of the most popular foods in the world, and it requires a very special method and special tools to make it just right. Of course, it is possible to make a good pizza n a traditional oven with traditional tools, but for the genuine Italian experience, a special type of oven is needed.

The Italian oven

Pizza is traditionally cooked in a huge stone oven heated by burning wood. This is a very expensive, time consuming and difficult process, but produces by far and away the best pizzas in the world. Naturally, all of this effort isn’t for everyone, so as an alternative I present to you the electric pizza oven. Effective and easy, but at what cost?


Two big advantages immediately spring to mind with this pizza oven; they are faster, and much, much smaller. There is no long wait for the oven to heat up, and it is very easy to get the oven to the right temperature. The electric oven is also much more portable than commercial pizza ovens, so you don’t have to have your whole garden or a special room in your house dedicated to this oven, as can be the case with the immense Italian oven. The size makes it perfect for home use and for caterers. The oven is also specially designed to bring out the flavors in the pizza.


There are honestly not a whole lot of disadvantages to using an electric pizza oven over the traditional Italian model. For a professional pizza restaurant the look of the traditional oven would be a big draw for customers, and it does taste better, but overall the electric oven is a great purchase for almost anyone.

Source by Gertrude E. Folse

How to Restore Antique or Old Furniture

You can easily transform a piece of furniture cheaply by stripping off the old paint and refinishing the wood as to its original state. By stripping old furniture down to the natural wood you can ensure a smooth surface – free of bumps and blemishes – which can be polished, varnished or even stenciled for a completely new look. Make sure first that you know what finish you are stripping because, paint, polish, lacquer or varnish all require different treatments.

Equipment: By hand, you need paint stripper, liquid or jelly form, methylated spirits, and turpentine. A pair of rubber gloves, old paint brush 25 – 50 mm wide, a scraper, course wire wool and sand paper fine to medium grade.

Paint Stripping: if you are professional for difficult work it can be removed by immersing the article in a caustic bath. A safer suggestion I would recommend by hand, using a chemical paint stripper; this gives great results as it adds an extra luster to the bare wood.

Method: Firstly make sure that your work area is well ventilated as paint stripper gives off unpleasant fumes. Remove all fittings handles, key guides etc, then start brushing the stripper on to the painted areas, work the stripper into all cracks/crevices. When you have covered a workable area, leave the stripper to act for several minutes. When it starts to bubble, remove the paint layer with your stripping knife or scraper, (put the paint shreds into an old paint tin as being caustic they are dangerous) repeat the process until you reach the wood. When all the paint has been stripped, next step is to wash the wood down with the manufactures recommendation on what neutralizer to use this will remove any remaining debris at the same time neutralizes the stripper. If the suggested neutralizer is say turpentine then soak a ball of wire wool and thoroughly rub down the stripped surface. When dry sandpaper down to a smooth finish. Important; always rub in the direction of the grain.

Stripping polish: before you can remove successfully, you must know firstly the type of polish. If it is French polish this can be removed quite easily with methylated spirits, wipe it on generously, leave for a few minutes. When the polish has softened, scrape it off with a scraper then with fine wire wool (soaked in Methylated spirits) when the wood is dry you can sandpaper down to a nice smooth finish. If it is a Wax polish (oily surface) this you can remove with fine steel wool soaked with turpentine. Repeat until you are at the bare wood, dry off with an absorbent cloth.

Varnished and Lacquered finishes: if the article being 50 years or more old it probably is an oil based varnish of which was made from resins dissolved in oils and solvents. The cleanest/easiest way is with a scraper; tilt the scraper away from you working along the grain (never across the grain). Polyurethane varnishes use a paint stripper. Cellulose-based varnishes can be removed by paint stripper, acetone, cellulose thinners, ammonia caustic soda, or turpentine. Suggest test a small area first to see which works best. Repairs, now you are able to see the various faults. Your repairs are necessary before the new finish can be applied, perhaps the draws require re-nailing or weak joints to be glued, cracks and holes must be filled. Minor cracks and holes you use a plastic wood or non-shrinking stopper all available in various natural wood colors. Large holes should be Plugged with a similar wood, cut to shape making sure the grain of the pug runs the same way as the rest of the surface, and then glue it in. Fine sandpaper all your repairs down to a smooth finish for the next stage.

Finishing with polyurethane: this gives bare wood a lustrous, hard wearing finish of which is easy to clean and maintain. Polyurethane can withstand heat without marking although intense heat will damage the wood. There is a variety of natural wood colors available as well as clear all matt or gloss finish. It is important to let Polyurethane set; some brands can take up to two weeks to achieve maximum hardness. Apply the varnish directly to the sanded wood with a brush as the varnish must be applied in coats. It is a good idea with the first coat to dilute with spirit so that it soaks in and seals the wood. After each subsequent coat (when dry) lightly rub down with a fine sand paper. If you are using one of the colored varieties it would pay you to apply the first coat with a clear, this will save any likelihood of a patchy finish. If you want a matt finish after using colored varnish make the final coat with a clear matt.

Finishing with Wax Polish: Wax polish can be used either by itself or in conjunction with polyurethane as an alternate finish. Although wax gives a wonderful warm mellow look to the wood it is not very practical, because it has very little resistance to heat, it marks quite easily therefore it is advisable that it be used on more decorative pieces. For the wax finish all you need is pure beeswax, turpentine, cheese grater and a glass jar. Grate the wax with the cheese grater into a jar cover with turpentine – stand the jar in a pan of very hot water and stir until the mixture melts and forms a thick paste. Dip a clean rag in the wax and rub into the clean wood surface, taking care to spread the wax evenly. Apply enough wax to soak into the grain avoid leaving excess on the surface. When the wax has hardened (approximately an hour or so) buff up the surface with a fine cloth. With Polyurethane, use a proprietary white wax polish. After the final coat of varnish has dried rub it over lightly with a very fine “0000” grade of wire wool. Brush away the dust; now rub in the polish with a course piece of fabric giving you an even matt sheen. Finally buff the surface with a fine cloth. Successive layers of polish, built up at a rate of one every two days, will deepen and harden the surface finish. Not bad for a small amount of effort! Cheers Darryl.

Source by Darryl Alfred Jackson

Pros and Cons of Using Hard Anodized Cookware

Hard anodized cookware is made from aluminum processed by a series of electro-chemical interaction process. The addition of an acidic chemical compound and electrical charge to the aluminum forms a hard aluminum ceramic-like layer and that is what makes hard anodized cookware durable – it is even 30% harder than stainless steel. However, there are also some drawbacks of using this material for your cookware. Learn the pros and cons of using this kind of cookware before deciding on purchasing it.

The Pros

1. Stronger and more durable

Compared to regular aluminum cookware, kitchen utensils made of electrochemically altered aluminum is stronger. Hard anodized pans are also resistant to dents and dings. With proper handling, they can last for years.

2. Oven-friendly

If equipped with metal handles, these pots and pans can be used for cooking food in the oven.

3. Require less oil for cooking

Since hard anodized cookware has a stick-resistant surface, you don’t need to use lots of oil for cooking. Still, you will need a little oil or butter to lubricate the food. Not only is this more economical, less oil in cooking is also healthier for you.

4. Easier to clean

The non-stick surface makes the utensil easier to clean. No need to worry about burnt or stuck food anymore. If you get stains or caked-on food, apply a paste of baking soda with warm water for 30 minutes and then wash with warm soapy water to remove them easily.

5. Cook faster

The base material, being aluminum, conducts evenly and faster not only to the bottom of the utensil but also to the sides.

The Cons

1. More expensive

The production of a deep anodized surface requires processing time. It’s no wonder that hard anodized cookware will cost you more than the regular stamped-out pots and pans.

2. Aluminum contamination

Although still unproven, some experts believe that some aluminum can leach into and contaminate the food despite the hard anodized coating. Too much aluminum in our body is suspected of having a link to Alzheimer’s disease. But so is paracetamol linked to AD, and everyone pops this headache remedy on a frequent basis.

3. Heavier

Aluminum itself is quite lightweight; however the electro-chemical coating makes these heavier. Always be very careful when carrying a hot hard anodized pot full of food.

4. Not suitable for storing food

The lids for hard anodized cookware are not designed to be tightly shut. Remove the food immediately from the pan after cooking to prevent your food from becoming spoiled.

5. Not dishwasher-friendly

The chemically harsh detergent used in dishwashers can damage the aluminum coating. The best way to wash these utensils is by using warm water with mild soap and a dishcloth or soft sponge.

Source by Michael Danson

Difference Between T304 and T316 Waterless Stainless Steel Cookware

When shopping for waterless cookware, it is important to determine your priorities. What cookware pieces are you most likely to use? What type of steam control mechanism would you like-steam valve or thermo control knob? To be classified as waterless cookware, the cookware must be at least 5 ply (layers), have some type of steam-control valve and have a flat, encapsulated bottom that contains the metal layers enclosed in stainless steel. Waterless cookware is typically sold on the Internet, home parties, or state and county fairs. The cookware sold in department store environments is generally 3-ply. Waterless cookware because of its composition and construction is more expensive than conventional cookware. However, even within the waterless cookware market, there is quite a price range between competitors. Most waterless cookware is T304 surgical stainless steel. T304 cookware has the following advantages including corrosion resistance, temperature resistance, flavor protection, and ease in cleaning. With proper care and maintenance, this cookware will keep its shine and beauty for a lifetime. Recently, a few companies have started to use T316 in their cookware. While there are some distinct differences between the two, the visible eye cannot detect any difference between the two. Further, there is not a distinguishable difference in taste either. What then is the actual difference between the two grades of stainless steel?

Type 304 contains 20% chromium or more and 10% nickel, comed with 0.08% carbon. It is used for chemical processing equipment, for food, dairy and beverage industries, for heat exchangers, and for milder chemicals. In the cookware industry, the 304 steel is most often used in the manufacturing process. T304 has the ability to withstand the corrosive action of various acids found in fruits, meats, milk, and vegetables. Therefore, it is often used for sinks, tabletops, coffee urns, stoves, refrigerators, milk and cream dispensers and steam tables.

Type 316 contains 16% to 18% chromium and 11% to 14% nickel. Type 316 also contains 2% molybdenum. The molybdenum is added to help resist corrosion to chlorides (like sea water and de-icing salts.) Type 316 is the main stainless steel used in the marine environment, with the exception of screws, bolts, nuts, and other fasteners where strength and wear resistance are necessary. Then Type 304 is typically used.

Do the differences specified above justify spending over $3000 for Saladmaster that now uses 316 stainless steel? Saladmaster offers a great product but many people simply cannot afford such an investment in cookware. When comparing the two grades, the differences are negligible. When exposed to harsh sea salt conditions 24 hours a day for 7 days a week, T316 would last longer under those conditions. If exposed to high concentrations of sodium chloride, T316 is definitely preferable. Therefore, if you are were to put one cup of sodium chloride (table salt) into 4 ounces of water on a daily basis, you would benefit from using the 316 stainless steel over the 304.

If you are considering the purchase of this cookware, two of your primary questions should be: (1) Which cookware set offers the pieces that I would most likely use? (2) What type of steam control valve would I prefer-the steam-control value that has an open/shut lever or the Thermo-control value that has a color-coded dial that visibly shows the cooking temperature.

Waterless cookware is a lifetime investment. While T316 cookware might be the best option for marine use, the majority of cooks can feel comfortable using T304 surgical stainless steel. If you can’t afford several thousand dollars for state-of-the-art cookware, don’t be dismayed. You can still buy quality waterless cookware at a fraction of that cost.. Check out our site-The Gourmets Cookware for some great deals on waterless cookware. In addition, we offer tips for cooking with waterless cookware, cleaning your stainless steel cookware, and great recipes to try with your waterless cookware.

Source by Marcia Klun

How I Became A Successful (Part-Time) Import/Export Agent

Several years ago, when I was invited to sit on the board of Wade World Trade, an educational institution established in 1946 to help entrepreneurs become import/export agents, I thought I would try it out for myself. I have to say that although I am not a natural entrepreneur (I hate anything which smacks of ‘selling’) I have never regretted the decision.

My first challenge was to find something to import or export. After much thought I decided I had to pick an area I was interested in anyway so I chose food. Since ‘artisan’ food producers are not very commercial it was a good decision. They find it easy to sell their products locally but tend to be hopeless at marketing overseas. I soon negotiated agency agreements with half a dozen companies for a range of related products – jams, chutneys, oaten biscuits, relishes, tea, hot chocolate and chocolate. All were manufactured (or at least packaged) in the UK and none had ever been exported.

The next step was finding possible buyers. My approach was to send an email containing photographs of the products I had on offer to – literally – thousands of buyers in Europe, the USA and Commonwealth countries. In the email I offered a ‘sample’ pack for the cost of postage. I also sent out about 2,000 mail shots. All together I must have spent close to £1,500. But I received requests for 70 sample packs and from this I obtained 15 regular customers. With three months I had made back by £1,500. Within a year I was generating a very nice income. It probably absorbs about 8 or 10 hours a week of my time BUT the beauty of it is that I can work at it largely when it suits me – in the evenings and weekends.

How to get into the lucrative world of Import/Export without a penny in capital and without leaving home.

If you would like to know more about becoming a successful Import/Export Agent then why not visit the Wade World Trade website ( If you decide to take their course as a reader of the Power Report you will be entitled to the full £100 discount.

Source by Justin Power

Common Problems to Avoid With a Catering Function?

A Catering business is like any other business, in that like every other business there has to be a small percentage for error. Even though it seems like caterers perform miracles, they are not, in fact, miracle workers. And just as your electricity goes off sometimes, or you don’t get very good cell phone reception in certain areas or the supermarket is out of your favourite food item; catering companies can encounter problems if you do not follow all of the correct steps, albeit a small percentage of that happening.

The chances are that your catering company encountered ten or more problems during the last function that you attended, but they were both manageable and small enough, plus the catering company were professional enough that it did not show on the outside.

There is an old saying which says “a caterer is like a duck, smooth and graceful on the surface, but paddling like crazy underneath“.

In this article there are four of the most important pieces of information which you should be asked to provide which would help in the eventuality that something might crop up that your catering company doesn’t know about.

1. You should give your caterer at least three different contact numbers.

If it is six or twelve months out from your wedding and you have locked in a caterer and contracts have been signed, it is difficult to see ahead and to know exactly what is going to happen on the day. If something happens, for example; the chef gets lost or involved in a traffic accident, the caterer will need to be able to contact someone. They will not want to be phoning the bride, groom during the service and add a memory that should not be there.

2. Is there parking available on-site?

This sounds like an obvious one, but it is so obvious that it easily gets missed. Also, a party at a private residence for thirty or more guests, plus a band, plus other entertainment can easily fill the parking spaces up fast. If possible try to save your catering company and other professionals at your event, a parking space nearby, even it is just for loading and unloading only.

3. Are there amenities on-site?

A caterer is bound by certain health and safety laws, such as having running water to wash their hands and many others. The local caterers in your jurisdiction will also be bound by similar laws and regulations. If the catering site is remote then your caterer would need to know if there is electricity, running water, toilets, shelter from the elements and more. All of these potential problems are easily dealt with if your caterer is notified beforehand.

4. Final numbers and late RSVP.

Final numbers and late comers are not a problem, as long as the caterer is made aware of it. A simple phone call the day before just to touch base with the caterer is fine. As a procedure, your caterer should include some extra food at no extra cost to the client. This should be in their costings. The amount included extra is dependent on the types of menu and the number of guests. Your caterer should do this for a number of reasons, firstly in case of extra numbers. Secondly they should cater extra food in case of any accidents. As I mentioned before, accidents do happen sometimes and your catering company need to have something up their sleeves. Lastly, if the correct numbers arrive, there are no accidents then you will just be provided with the extra food.

If these simple recommendations can be followed then it could be the difference between a successful catering function and a potential disaster. Let your caterer know as soon as possible when something changes or something you feel might be an issue, it doesn’t matter how small of a deal you think it is.

Source by Noah P Davis

How to Fix Your Cheesecake – A Troubleshooting Guide

A cheesecake should be relatively trouble free but occasionally problems do come up. Over the years, we’ve been asked the following questions.

“What’s the easiest way to make crumbs for my crust?”

Lots of folks use a food processor; we don’t bother. We use a heavy duty zipper-type plastic bag and crush the crackers or cookies with a rolling pin a few at a time. We save the plastic bag for the next crust. If we’re in a hurry, we just use packaged graham cracker crumbs rather than crushing crackers.

“I have lumps in my cheesecake. How do avoid those?”

Most likely the lumps are from globules of cream cheese in your batter. Before adding any of the other ingredients, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together until completely mixed. The sugar crystals will cut through the cream cheese breaking up the globules. In the heat of the oven, the sugar will melt further breaking up any pieces.

If your recipe calls for chocolate, either white or dark, the lumps could be chocolate. When the chocolate is mixed into the cool batter, it solidifies and creates lumps. To avoid that, make sure your melted chocolate is hot, well above the melt point. With your mixer running, drizzle the hot chocolate into the batter. With the chocolate hotter, it will disperse before setting up.

“I bake my cheesecake for the time specified in the recipe and the center is still soft. What am I doing wrong?”

You’re probably doing nothing wrong. Baking times in recipes are always estimates and can be affected by the temperature in your oven (calibrated temperatures are seldom right), the depth of the batter, whether the pan is light or dark (dark pans bake faster), how cold your batter is, and other factors. Don’t worry about the time and just bake it until it done. (See the next question.)

“How do I tell when my cheesecake is done?”

There are three ways. You can gently shake the cheesecake. If only the center is still jiggly, it’s done. This is not very precise but with practice, you can get good with this method.

The most common way is to stick a knife in the batter about one-inch from the center. If it’s done, it will come out clean.

The most precise way to tell when a cheesecake is done is with an insta-read thermometer. Stick the probe in the center of the cheesecake and see what it reads. A cheesecake is done when the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. That’s when the proteins in the eggs coagulate.

“How do I stop my cheesecake from cracking?”

A cheesecake top without a crack seems to be the ultimate measure of success. It shouldn’t be. A crack doesn’t affect the taste. Many cheesecakes are topped and the topping covers any cracks.

There may be a number of reasons for cracks:

– Too much air incorporated into the filling may cause cracks.

– Too much baking time will over bake the filling and is a common cause of cracks.

– Uneven baking may be a cause. If you are using light gauge, reflective pans, consider switching to heavier gauge, dark pans.

– Too high of heat may cause cracking. Consider baking at 325 degrees instead of at 350 degrees.

– It your cheesecake cools too rapidly, it may develop cracks. Don’t let your cheesecake cool in a draft.

Cheesecakes with starch in the filling are less prone to cracking.

“My crusts crumble when I try to serve my cheesecake. What am I doing wrong?”

It’s the butter that acts as the mortar holding the crumbs together. The butter needs to be well mixed with crumbs. There has to be enough butter, a minimum of four tablespoons per crust. The mixture needs to be compacted with firm pressure. We use a pastry tamper or heavy mug to compress the bottom and to press the sides.

Always cut and serve your cheesecake cold. That way the butter is a solid. If the cheesecake gets too warm, the butter melts and the crust will crumble.

Baking a crust is not necessary but it does tend to hold the crust together. The sugar melts in baking and tends to hold things in place once it cools and sets.

“I always seem to muck up my slices when I cut my cheesecake. What’s the best way to cut a cheesecake?”

Use the right knife, a sharp, thin-bladed knife. Don’t use a serrated knife as filling and crumbs tend to stick to the serrations.

Cut with a downward pressure, dragging the knife as little as possible. After each cut, wash and dry the knife so that you have a clean blade slicing through the cheesecake.

“My slices seem to stick to the base and it’s hard to remove them. Is there an easy way to neatly remove my slices?”

There is an easy way to get slices to slide of the pan base. Heat a wet kitchen towel in the microwave. Lay the towel on the counter and place the cheesecake directly on the hot towel. In a couple minutes, the heat will soften the butter against the base and slices will easily slip off.

It helps to have a springform pan with a smooth base.

Source by Dennis R Weaver