Baked Plain Cheesecake—Prototype 7:
I decided to go with a considerably sweeter batter. I also felt that the crust should be a little sweeter. Instead of regarding arrowroot as unfavorably affecting the taste, not only did I refrain from cutting it down, but I furthermore increased it just a little bit, for the sake of simplicity.

I switched back over to yogurt cheese. For this prototype I also changed the yogurt composition. In Prototype 5, the yogurt utilized was strictly the lowfat, 1 1/2% variety. For Prototype 7, I used a 50-50 mix of this lowfat yogurt and
nonfat yogurt.

Out of concern about giving the yogurt cultures a better chance to survive, I greatly cut down on the baking time, hoping that this cheesecake would not end up being undercooked.
Repeat Prototype 6, but make these changes:
For the crust, boost the granulated sugar by 1 tablespoon, to 1/4 cup.
For the batter, boost the granulated sugar by 1/4 cup, to 3/4 cup, and increase the arrowroot by 1/4 teaspoon (1/12 tablespoon) to 4 teaspoons (1 1/3 tablespoons).
Also, for both the crust and the batter, switch back to yogurt cheese, directly replacing all of the cream cheese. Furthermore, use a half-half combination of lowfat and nonfat yogurt. This means using 4 ounces of lowfat and 4 ounces of nonfat yogurt cheese for the crust, and 10 ounces of lowfat and 10 ounces of nonfat yogurt cheese for the batter.
Bake all this only for about 60 minutes.
Well, the cheesecake ended up being sufficiently firm under the 1-hour baking attempt, and the taste was hopefully more lively. It seemed like the sugar boost made a difference. However, I felt that there was still some kind of inferiority with the taste. I was moved to pick up a slice of a more established traditional cheesecake for comparison. I did something similar to this back around the late 1980's when I compared my chocolate prototypes of that time to Alden Merrell's chocolate cheesecake. This would be repeated in a plain-flavored way, but would the store-bought cheesecake still be Alden Merrell for the more recent test? The slice that I picked up was at a Market Basket, and the individually-sized packaging contained a label, supposedly store-printed, with the wording "Fine Dessert".

What happened was that Market Basket sold Alden Merrell products for many years. In later times the Alden Merrell brand presented itself as "Alden Merrell Fine Desserts" (sometime earlier it was "Alden Merrell Cheesecake Company"). More recently, the Alden Merrell name seemed to disappear from the packaging sold at Market Basket. Yet the desserts still looked identical. And although the labeling would now say "Market Basket Fine Desserts", it looked like the fancy font style used for the wording "Fine Desserts" remained unchanged as well—as long as the package contained an entire (multiple-servings) cake (plainer-looking print labels would remain in use on the individually-packaged items, just like in the past). Furthermore, I could not detect a change in the taste. All this led me to suspect that Market Basket was still selling Alden Merrell products—but now bearing the "Market Basket" name (perhaps under a recent agreement between this grocer and Alden Merrell).

So I compared this supposed "Alden Merrell" cheesecake, under the "Market Basket" name, to my prototype cheesecake. And what did I discover?

I felt that my cheesecake tasted sort of bitter, tart and less sweet (as well as perhaps having a paper and/or chalky tinge), compared to the store-bought counterpart.

A few weeks later, I decided to make the cottage-cheese-based Prototype 4 for my annual family reunion party, now that I had a more recent perspective on my cheesecakes. I wanted to know at this point if using cottage cheese would make a favorable difference, but I did
not keep my hopes up.

Indeed, as things turned out, I felt that this version hardly tasted better compared to its yogurt cheese or cream cheese counterparts. It still had that somewhat bitter, too tart, under-sweetened taste. This same old "ho-hum" did not surprise me. Furthermore, this cheesecake fared unsatisfactorily (at least in my opinion) at this party. In fact, a ricotta cheese pie (close to the size of my cheesecake) was fully gone within about one or two hours after it was served. I myself tried it. This pie had a sweet, somewhat lemon taste to it. But this ricotta treat certainly was no "lemon" in regard to its success—and this dessert seemed to be (at least to me) a fairly modest-looking supermarket bakery item, not some kind of high-end gourmet creation. Yet my treat looked like a sad loser compared to it.

So where to now? I have recently become more keenly aware that many cheesecake recipes did not call for milk (especially) or flour. Why was I using milk in particular? Perhaps this was simply rooted in the American Heart Association recipe that I started with. Anyway, I felt that drastic changes were warranted at this point.

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