Low-Fat, Homemade Quark Cheese
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%.
Info about Quark
- Quark (cheese) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Learn more about this soft, white cheese that you can easily make yourself.
- Quark : Substitutes, Ingredients, Equivalents
Quark : A German whole or skimmed milk (or low fat) cheese made without rennet. Includes typical ingredients, equivalents and substitutes for Quark
- Making Quark
Various recipes for making your own quark, both with or without rennet.
For making your own quark...
Preparation and Cooking Time
- a large, covered, oven-proof baking dish
- one quart buttermilk
- large strainer or colander
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Quark Cheese Instructions
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
This is what you use to strain your cheese. It can be washed and reused, but it's good to keep extra on hand for a variety of kitchen projects.
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
- 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