Baked Vanilla Cheesecake—Prototype 1:
 
Vanilla often seems to be portrayed as "plain" or "neutral". Perhaps this is due to its being very mild. In fact, this vanilla cheesecake debut is very similar to my latest plain cheesecakes, but with the vanilla extract obviously being increased—in hopes of a more "cream-like" taste. Other differences include the lower-tart cheese blend to match the mild vanilla and—likely for the first time in my baked cheesecakes—the omission of salt from the batter.

Sometime in the past, my attention was drawn to the sodium content of my cheesecakes. If I remember well enough, this occurred more than two years ago, during the winter of 2011, likely with my cousin Robin bringing up this issue. Anyway, I ended up questioning the addition of salt in my cheesecake recipes. This usage stemmed from the initial recipe out of
The American Heart Association Cookbook that I started my cheesecake prototypes with, back in the 1980's. I assumed that the salt in that recipe was there for good reason.

But several years later, I felt that perhaps I could get away with cutting back on the salt, e.g., cutting it in half, without adversely affecting the taste. So I made this move, beginning likely with Prototype 10 of my eggnog cheesecake.

Since then, I have looked at many cheesecake recipes on the Internet. In my reviewing these for added salt, it was omitted from an overwhelming majority. So I more recently felt that it was time to do away with whatever salt I was still adding to the batters in my cheesecake recipes.

I do not know why the salt was included in that American Heart Association recipe in the first place. But then again, I found that recipe to be overwhelmingly lemony as well. My cheesecake prototypes have come a long, refined way since then—over 100 baked at this point!
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time 16 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from one 32-ounce container of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 16 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 8 ounces (1 cup) of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese.

Crust:
1 oz. melted, white chocolate
4 oz. (1/2 cup) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 oz. Bran Buds, ground up

Pour this crust mixture into pan (9 to 9 1/2 inches) and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5 minutes, then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Batter:
2 tablespoons melted or softened butter
5/8 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot
20 oz. (2 1/2 cups) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs

Pour on top of crust. Then bake in tub at 300 degrees for 60 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan), cool (outside of oven and tub) for an hour, remove from pan and refrigerate.

Vanilla Cheesecake—Prototype 1

This was only a "single-sized" cheesecake, and it was gone (among a modest snack selection) in less than 15 minutes at Living Hope Church.

But I felt that this prototype was not sweet enough (especially the crust, whose taste here, if I ate it alone, put thoughts of—unfortunately—cardboard in my head). I also felt that this cheesecake could use a little more vanilla. Furthermore, I got a bit doubtful about my choice of the 2-to-1 yogurt-cottage blend (as opposed to all-yogurt) for the batter, at least if I tasted that alone, although I afterward somehow picked up a slight "tang" if I ate both the batter and crust together. Perhaps
chocolate batter was a good fit for the 2-to-1 cheese (see Baked Chocolate Cheesecake—Prototype 15 for more information on this). But maybe I needed to go all-yogurt for some "mellow" flavors like vanilla, not just plain or citrus ones.
 
Baked Vanilla Cheesecake—Prototype 2:
 
More sweetness, more vanilla!

But instead of going all-yogurt with the cheese, hold on to the 2-to-1 yogurt-cottage blend for now (actually, this was in order to use up the remaining half container of cottage cheese that I had left over from Prototype 1, as well as avoiding the need to utilize half of a container—as opposed to a whole one—of yogurt to make up for the cottage cheese's absence in an all-yogurt situation).
 
Repeat Prototype 1, but make these changes:
For the crust, increase the brown sugar by 1/2 tablespoon, to 2 tablespoons (note the usage here of both brown sugar and regular, i.e., granulated, sugar at 2 tablespoons apiece).
For the batter, increase the granulated sugar by 1/4 cup, to 7/8 cup, and increase the vanilla by 1 teaspoon, to a full tablespoon.

Vanilla Cheesecake—Prototype 2 (sliced)

A disappointing surprise broke out on me. As I poured the batter over the crust, the middle of it erupted upward. I did pre-bake earlier that crust for about 5 minutes. Maybe I needed to pour the batter more slowly in the future. But if I were to pour it too slowly, it would likely dribble on me. Perhaps using a rubber spatula would be helpful in deflecting such a mess.

This time, the batter turned out sweet enough and had what I somehow sensed to be a reasonable, "creamy" vanilla presence. Improvement was found in the crust's taste as well. But I also felt that a little more tanginess should be used (thus setting in order an all-yogurt plan) in the future.

This cheesecake did okay at Living Hope (among a somewhat small selection of refreshments, but also with perhaps a smaller than average crowd). There was some leftover.
 
Baked Vanilla Cheesecake—Prototype 3:
 
Presented here is a doubling of the previous prototype, although the Bran Buds got replaced with the regular All-Bran as well.
 
2-to-1 Blend of Yogurt Cheese and Cottage Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time 32 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from two 32-ounce containers of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 32 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 16 ounces (2 cups) of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese.

Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. All-Bran, ground up

Place the resulting mixture in the greased pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes, depending on the mixture's thickness (closer to 10 minutes if thin enough to be fully distributed across the pan's bottom by gentle shaking, closer to 5 minutes if thick enough to require spreading out this mixture by pressing on it with a utensil and/or fingers), then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Batter:
4 tablespoons melted or softened butter
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons arrowroot
40 oz. (5 cups) 2-to-1 blend of yogurt cheese and cottage cheese (see above)
2 tablespoons vanilla
4 eggs

Wrap the pan in foil just before adding the batter (to minimize the foil's disturbance and therefore its leakage risk, do not put it on any earlier).

Next, pour the batter over the crust and bake this cheesecake in a hot water tub at 300 degrees for 100 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then cool the cheesecake down while still in oven (with this oven shut off) and in tub with door slightly ajar for an hour. Afterwards, remove from oven and tub and continue to cool down at room temperature for another 100 minutes, then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Vanilla Cheesecake—Prototype 3

This one featured a nice, sweet taste, not too tart. It was about 3/4 of the way gone after roughly 30 minutes, having been served among a moderate selection of snacks at Living Hope Church. Someone later on took one of the remaining slices, and I took home the rest.
 

Back to my bushy homepage