Quark (the dairy product rather than the atomic particle) has always sounded rather exotic to me so I was keen to try making it. I was somewhat disappointed to discover that it is almost the same as the yoghurt cheese that I wrote about in a previous post, although it differs in the type of bacteria used to sour it. The recipe described it as a “quick and easy cheese, which is loved for its nutritional value”; “quark is a high protein and low fat food with lots of versatility”. According to Wikipedia quark is a fresh cheese popular in Northern European countries, made by souring milk and straining it. In some countries it is viewed as being a separate type of fresh cheese and in others it is seen as being the same as cottage cheese.
Regardless of how it is categorised, quark is very easy to make and if you follow the Northern Europeans you can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They “eat it with fruit for breakfast or dessert, herbed and spread on grain bread for lunch, and then use it as a low fat creamy sauce option on potatoes for dinner”.
1 litre full fat homogenized milk
1/64 tsp mesophilic starter culture
As with all cheeses, thoroughly sterilise all equipment first. Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat on a stove to 30C, then add the starter culture. Leave overnight (12-24 hours) to thicken at 20-30C. I put the saucepan on a heating pad that I usually use for making cider to keep it in the right temperature range.
Once thickened, drain the cheese in a cheese cloth lined colander until it is the desired thickness – this could be like Greek style yoghurt or until it is firm and spreadable like cream cheese. I went for a firmer texture because you can always just thin it again with a bit of milk to get a creamy yoghurt texture to serve with fruit for breakfast.
Quark is delicious mixed with chopped herbs and served on sour dough or wholegrain bread.
Quark is also apparently great for using in baking and is also the main ingredient used in German baked cheesecakes.