CHEESECAKE BAKING TIPS FROM PHILADELPHIA CREAM CHEESE
Prep it Right: Set out ingredients about 10 minutes before baking to work with them at room temperature. Allow your oven to preheat while preparing your filling.
Be Gentle: Do not over-beat. Over-stirring can add too much air into the batter, which can cause cheesecake to crack. Beat in eggs, one at time, on low speed until just blended.
Practice Patience: Don’t peek! Opening the oven door while cheesecake is baking causes drafts that may lead to cracking.
Loosen Up: Another way to prevent cracking is to immediately run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake after baking to loosen it from the sides of the pan.
THE HISTORY OF CREAM CHEESE
Cheesecake dates all the way back to ancient Greece: Historians believe that a type of cheesecake was served to athletes during the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C.E. What type of cheesecake it was, and whether it was sweet or savory, is not known; but savory is a good guess.
More than 500 years later, in De re Rustica (“On Agriculture”), the Roman statesman Marcus Porcius Cato (Cato the Elder) described making cheesecake. De re Rustica is the oldest known book of Roman prose; vis-à-vis the printed record, the cheesecake had arrived.
Cheesecake—made with different fresh cheeses—traveled throughout Europe with the peripatetic Romans. But the history of modern cheesecake begins in 1872, when a dairyman named William Lawrence invented modern cream cheese in Chester, New York. It was a happy accident: Chester was trying to make Neufchâtel cheese*, a soft French cheese.
With bricks of cheese wrapped in foil, Lawrence’s Empire Company began to distribute cream cheese in 1880. He called the product Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese. At the time, Philadelphia was known for its fine cuisine; “Philadelphia” implied “gourmet.”
In 1903, the Phoenix Cheese Company of New York bought the Empire Company and Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese. In 1928, the Kraft Cheese Company bought the brand, which it owns to this day.
And where would be without it? Imagine all those lonely bagels!
FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE CHEESECAKE RECIPES.
*American Neufchâtel cheese is different from French Neufchâtel; the latter is a mold-ripened cheese similar to Camembert. American Neufchâtel has approximately 33% lower fat than cream cheese and a higher moisture content. It was long sold as a reduced-fat option to cream cheese. Philadelphia’s reduced fat cream cheese, however, is far superior to any American Neufchâtel we’ve had.