Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Making my own Quark - finally!

For all my constant whinging about not having German-style quark at my disposal, it has taken only about two and a half years to finally make my own. As usual, once you've started a new kitchen project that turned out much easier than you'd ever thought, you end up asking yourself why on earth... Well, no matter what, all my thanks go to Nora who gave the necessary cheese cloth to me (and it still took me a couple of months)!

Now, however, I definitely caught the quark-bug - pretty much every week since the first time, there's a big jar of milk sitting on my kitchen counter - slowly turning itself into something delicious...

After looking around online for a while, I found this recipe which seemed to be the easiest one. Indeed, all you have to do is throwing the two ingredients together, wait for two days, heat it up a little and then let it drain. Voila, there's no more quark deprivation in this household!

The resulting quark can be used for this cake, or this cake, or maybe this cake... Or add some whipped cream and macerated berries... Or make quark souffles... Or simply use it in place of butter on toast with honey or jam... Its tangy taste will cut down the sweetness of regular desserts ever so slightly, giving it a new dimension in taste without turning it into something too tart. The possibilities are endless!

PS: You will also get a lot of whey that shouldn't go down the drain. After all, it's got all the good stuff in it, calcium, vitamins, you name it. So far, I've mainly used it in place of water when bread baking. However, I'm also planning on trying some of these super-healthy whey drinks. Apparently they're not considered yummy but I want to find out for myself.

Homemade Quark (Curd)

The ingredients

1 litre milk (whole milk or fat-reduced, long-life works as well)
60g buttermilk

big jar with lid
fine-meshed sieve (with a hook to rest on a bowl)
cheese cloth
big salad bowl

Pour the buttermilk into the jar, followed by the milk (this way, you don't even have to stir it). Cover with lid and let stand at room temperature for 48 hours. The milk will have gotten thick earlier than that but I usually let it sit for full two days.

Heat the buttermilk-milk mixture for 1.5 to 2 hours to a temperature of 30-35 degrees Celsius. (This is roughly body temperature, to check without a thermometer simply stick your - washed - finger in and judge by yourself.)

For this step, I use my oven. However, it's pretty off and I have to use the fan-bake setting at 75 degrees Celsius to get the desired temperature - that's why you should check.

After that time, the whey should have separated from the curds and will partly float as a yellowish-greenish liquid on top.

Line the sieve with a cheese cloth (I use mine folded four times) and hang it on top of the bowl. There should be at least 5 centimeters of space between the bottom of the sieve and the bottom of the bowl.

Carefully pour the thickened milk into the lined sieve (it'll splatter) and let drain for 2-4 hours - depending on how firm you want the curd to be. In case it's too dry, simply stir back in some of the whey from the bowl.

Refrigerate curd and whey. Use within 5 days.

The source


Christina said...

Isn't it funny how the lack of one product can leave a big hole in ones food life? And the fact that certain products doesn't exist in other countries are just weird. How can the Australians live without German-styled quark?

For me it has taken 5 years to realize what buttermilk is. 5 years! I thought it had something to do with butter, until I one day realized that it is close to swedish kefir --which I have missed since it's great for baking.

I'll try your quark now.

Eva said...

Yes, it's absolutely weird - you can get any kind of yoghurt around here but quark is only available in gourmet food stores and at horrendous prices!

Give the quark a try and it might give you something close to buttermilk in the early stages (before draining). Maybe the undrained stuff could technically even be called buttermilk as this is the seed culture. However, I'm not too sure about the correct terms... Anyway, as long as it tastes good..;-)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

This does sound exciting! I taste quark in Europe but in Dallas . . . well it's not the same!
I've still got to make Brioche!

Meeta said...

Eva, this is fantastic. Living in Germany I appreciate the abundance in quark. I love the typical "kartofflen und quark!" I would still like to try making my own though!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Eva, this will come in very handy to me, since I have never found quark to buy here. Tks for sharing!

Nora B. said...

Hi Eva,
Hurray!!! Yes, this quark that you made did taste so good :-) Thanks again for making me a batch.

I wonder what is your next food making challenge...?


Eva said...

Hi Tanna, sometimes making your own is the only way to go (they do have quark around here in specialty stores but buying enough for a big cheesecake is enormously expensive). Looking forward to checking out your brioche!

Hi Meeta, that's exactly what we had last night for dinner - with homemade quark, this poor man's food tasted like pure luxury!

Hi Patricia, isn't it great that there's an easy way to do it yourself. I've missed it so much...

You're welcome, Nora! At the moment, I'm trying to revive my sourdough but that's rather punishment for the neglect on my side than a challenge...

Aparna said...

Does this taste sour? It seems a lot like what we call "hung curd/ yogurt" here.
If so, this is great for making low calorie dips.

Eva said...

Yes, it does, Aparna. In fact, for comparison, I've also drained yogurt (without heating it first) and the result was quite similar in taste. In times of need, that would be the fast alternative but I still prefer real quark (besides this method is the cheapest and it does make me feel good to produce something for little more than a dollar that would cost me 6-10 dollars in one of those gourmet stores..;-)

Katie said...

I love the idea of making my own quark. Will be giving this a go. Thanks.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, that's great! I love Quark!



Y said...

How cool. I'd like to try making this one day. That green whey is a bit scary though. Why does it go green? I thought you made matcha whey for a second there :D

Eva said...

Looking forward to seeing your results, Katie!

Me, too, Rosa! But I guess you won't have any trouble getting this in Switzerland..;-)

Quark is so versatile, Y, you can use it whenever ricotta is called for and the dish will be more flavourful. As for the colour, it's natural - you just can't see it in yogurt due to the milk solids. Maybe I'll try to make ricotta from it cos that's what you get when you cook the whey once more. Need to do some more research on that!

zorra said...

Jaja, in der Ferne fehlen einem manch gute Dinge aus der alten Heimat. ;-) Sieht lecker aus dein Quark. Da hab ich Glück, den gibt's hier dank Lidl zu kaufen, aber Ricotte ist schwieriger zu kriegen. Ich hab irgendwo ein Rezept, wenn ich's finde schicke ich's dir zu.

Eva said...

Dankeschoen, Zorra! Ich hab schon ein bisschen was uebers Ricotta-Machen gelesen, trotzdem kann ich mir nicht so richtig vorstellen, wie aus der gelbgruenen Bruehe was Cremig-Weisses werden soll..;-)

Tartelette said...

Love your dairy making post. I love making fresh cheese and always happy to try another recipe. The tartelettes you made with it are gorgeous!

Eva said...

I'm glad to hear that you like the tartelettes, Tartelette..;-)

Anonymous said...


I do not know how old this sight is but I do have a question. 23 years ago I had the privilege of living in Schlewzig Holstein Region, Feldeshide, Neimunster area. Anyway my host always made quark on Sunday Morning and served it with canned cherries for pie. I actually do not know what she made. She just called it quark. I thought for a long time quark was the dessert, not the ingredient. Can you help

Chi-Chi Missouri, USA

Anna said...

i always wondered what quark was. whenever i'm in germany i eat heaps of it but never knew what it was :)

judit said...

I making Quark from a long time. Warming the collagated mixture up a little bit more about 110 F or 40-42 C but very slowly, the small pieces in it have to be cooked otherwise go through the cloth.
It is very good we cook and bake wirh it.

Anna said...

I have lived in South Africa for almost 5 years without actually realizing that they also had kefir and tvorog there. It was simply called buttermilk and quark (respectively)! I originally came from Russia and grew up on these products (Especially quark. It was the next best thing after ice cream, and still is.) .