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Low-Fat, Homemade Quark Cheese

Author:

Raye gardens organically, harvests rainwater, strives to eat locally, and honors the gods from her home in the Pacific Northwest.

Did you say... Quark?

Although some people might think of physics particles or even an old 1970s science fiction television show when they hear the word "quark," what this Hub is talking about is a great, low-fat cheese which you can make at home yourself.

Quark is European in origin and is found in the cooking traditions of nearly every Scandinavian and Norther European country. The name is German (which translates to "curd"), although you will sometimes see it spelled "kwark" which is Dutch. The next most common name is "topfen" (pot cheese) which is what the Austrians call it. In the United States there are a variety of cheeses which are sort of like quark and yet none of them are really quark.

This soft cheese is made without rennet (the lining of calves' stomachs, which some people find objectionable) and can have a texture anywhere in between yogurt and a dry ricotta cheese depending on how you make it. It is very multipurpose, and you might find it referred to as pot cheese or white cheese depending on the recipe you are using.

It can be used as a spread, eaten by itself or cooked into a variety of dishes. When it is eaten as a straight-up cheese, it is often topped with fruits or nuts which compliment it's light and tangy flavor. Quark can be made so that it only has about 0.2% fat per serving, but some variations can run as high as 60%.


quark

Info about Quark

For making your own quark...

Preparation and Cooking Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

2 hours 30 min

12 hours

14 hours 30 min

yield depends on amount being prepared

Ingredients

  • a large, covered, oven-proof baking dish
  • one quart buttermilk
  • large strainer or colander
  • cheesecloth

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Quark Cheese Instructions

  1. Pour the buttermilk into the baking dish, cover and set in your oven overnight, with the heat as low as you can get it (most often 100˚-150˚ depending on your oven). In the morning, you will find the milk has curdled gently. The curds (lumps) are what will become quark. The clear-to-whitish fluid is whey, and you can drain that off and save it for other cooking purposes.
  2. Line the colander or strainer with the cheesecloth (or a clean dish towel if you don't have cheesecloth), and pour the curds into it, allowing it to drain for several hours. The drained cheese is your quark.
  3. The soft, spreadable cheese you get when the curds and whey are done draining is the quark. It's often like yogurt or sour cream when you first strain it. If you want something more like a cream cheese, drain it a bit longer. For a texture more like cottage cheese, press it gently for a little while by putting a bowl filled with water on top of the cheesecloth bundle. And for a ricotta-like version, squeeze out even more liquid. If you press it very hard, you can get it to form a solid wedge.
  4. Once drained and/or pressed, you can store it covered in the refrigerator. This fresh cheese has a short shelf life, so be sure to use it within a week of making it.

Unbleached Cheesecloth

Substituting Quark in Other Recipes

Because you can vary the moisture and texture when you cook with quark, it can be used in place of many other forms of cheese. The main benefit of quark is the low-fat content. It also is made without salt.

Try quark in place of:

  • farmer's cheese
  • pot cheese
  • cream cheese - spread quark on bagels and top with lox
  • mascarpone
  • ricotta cheese - try quark in place of ricotta in a lasagna
  • cottage cheese - press it moderately until you get a texture that matches how moist or dry you like your cottage cheese
  • sour cream - try some quark on top of your baked potatoes
  • yogurt - it's most like traditional Greek yogurt when left a bit more moist


Quark Comments and Contributions

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on May 19, 2016:

I have a batch going now. I like it in the spring and summer.

RTalloni on May 19, 2016:

I used to make something like this with local goat's milk but have not in a long time. You've made me think that maybe it's time to have some on hand again. I knew for sure what the ingredients were (and were not) and it really is very versatile, adding extra richness to desserts. Thanks!

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on April 29, 2015:

If you know the starting butterfat content of your milk, you should be able to figure out that same content for your cheese.

Jill Moore on April 29, 2015:

I'm on a healthy eating plan and I buy a lot of quark currently. I use it mixed with fruit (and low-fat drinking chocolate!) to satisfy my sweet tooth which is considerable! I'd love to have a go at making my own. Is there a way to know the fat content of the quark you make yourself? I'd be pitching for the o.2% fat end of the scale rather than the 60% ! I suppose it depends on the buttermilk.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on January 26, 2015:

I find quark substitutes into more recipes than sour cream because the taste is more mild.

Kellsay O. on January 25, 2015:

I found this at the store today! Im always looking for new yogurts but am pleasantly surprised by this elli quark cheese. Definitely going to try some chives with the plain one and use it on some potatoes. Such a great flavor!

Delia on October 08, 2014:

I remember as a child making Qwark in Germany...we used it to make cheesecake...I never knew they sold it here, will have to look for it.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on October 07, 2014:

EDE, Probably. I would think it could come down to your temperature controls. If you can keep the milk at the right, low temp, it should work just fine. The two dairy products are very similar.

Lynne Schroeder from Blue Mountains Australia on October 06, 2014:

I am wondering if I can use my EasiYo yoghurt maker instead of the oven to curdle the buttermilk?

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on August 20, 2014:

It is heated, but does fall below the heat threshold such that it still is considered raw.

Kari on August 20, 2014:

I was sure you were going to have to cook this to get it to curdle. I was surprised that you leave it in the fridge. Will try!

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on April 29, 2013:

If you can get milk, you can make quark!

Kymberly Fergusson from Germany on April 29, 2013:

I didn't realise just how easy quark was to make! Now that I live in Germany, it's easy to find, but it was impossible in Australia. Wish I'd found this recipe sooner!

Research Analyst on June 06, 2010:

This is a real interesting topic

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on June 05, 2010:

Chasuk, if you can find raw milk (which might be easier in South Korea vs the US), you can let that age and turn to buttermilk and then make quark from there.

Chasuk on June 05, 2010:

I'm living in South Korea currently, and I don't think I've seen buttermilk here. Maybe I'll find it at Costco.

Raye (author) from Seattle, WA on June 05, 2010:

Chasuk, you should be able to find buttermilk without too much trouble in US supermarkets.

Chasuk on June 05, 2010:

Thank you! I lived in England for about 11 years, and I would buy Quark at Sainsbury's all of the time. I loved it as a low-fat spread under my beans (on toast).

I couldn't find it anywhere in the US, and it doesn't exist in South Korea, either. Now I can make it at home, assuming that I can find the buttermilk.

Thanks again!

H P Roychoudhury from Guwahati, India on June 05, 2010:

Very good informative hub. Thanks.

Lee A Barton from New Mexico on June 04, 2010:

Bookmarked for future reference! Great information!

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on June 04, 2010:

I don't think I'll make it myself but I may pass it on the someone who might be interested.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on June 03, 2010:

I love it because you can mix it with cut finely chive or sugar and it makes a lovely tasting spread.

Philipo from Nigeria on June 03, 2010:

Very nice. thanks.

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