Introduction: What the Quark??? DIY German Quark

Picture of What the Quark??? DIY German Quark

Quark, which is pronounced like "kvark", is a type of dairy product that's very common in any German-speaking country, but can also be found in other European countries, with some variations.

Quark can be used in many different ways. I think it's so popular because you can use it for sweet things such as German cheese cake, German plum cake, or other desserts or you can go the savory route adding salt/pepper etc. and have it with potatoes (my favorite dinner of all times).

It can easily be made at home and here I'll show you three ways you can do it:

1. The fastest version (5-6h)

2. The slower version (1-2days)

3. The cheater version (12-24h)

Step 1: The Fastest Version (5-6h)

Picture of The Fastest Version (5-6h)

Make sure you clean all your equipment well before using. I suggest pouring boiling water over them beforehand.

You will need:

- Buttermilk, 1 quart will yield approximately 0.5 pounds

- Cheese cloth

- Oven safe glass ware

- Colander

- Bowl

- Pitcher

- Stick/Spoon/Some longer utensil

Sorry, no pictures, since out of those three versions, I haven't tried this one yet.

Place the buttermilk in your heat resistant bowl and cover it up, either with another bowl, lid or aluminum foil. Heat your oven to a "low" 210F. Once it reaches its temperature, place your dish in the oven and leave it there for 2 hours. When the time is up, pull your dish out and let it cool down for another 2 hours or so. Next you want to prepare a bowl that can hold the colander. It will be used to catch the excess liquid in a minute. Place a clean cheese cloth over the colander and slowly pour the buttermilk into the colander. Fold the sides of the cheese cloth over and start turning it so that you're pressing out the excess liquid that is whey. Either let it sit there as is or tie a knot and stick a longer kitchen utensil through and let it hang inside a pitcher or such for another hour or so. Once that time is up, you should have Quark. Since this was made solely with buttermilk it will have a more sour/tart flavor.

Quark should have a similar consistency as sour cream. If you think it's more dense or runny, then use some of the whey that you caught and mix it back into the Quark or let it hang for a while longer.

Step 2: The Slower Version (1-2days)

Picture of The Slower Version (1-2days)

Again, make sure you clean all your equipment well before using.

You will need:
- Milk, ½ gallon at room temperature

- Buttermilk, 1 cup

- Rennet tablet, ¼

- Cheese cloth

- Simple cooking pot with lid

- Colander

- Bowl

- Pitcher

- Stick/Spoon/Some longer utensil

This recipe will yield about 0.9 pound of Quark.

Dissolve the rennet tablet in a cup of cool (filtered) water. Add the milk as well as the buttermilk in a pot and stir in the rennet once it is completely dissolved. Make sure you mix everything well before you cover it with a lid. Let this sit for 24 hours. Half way through you should already see how it thickened. After 24 hours, remove the lid and prepare your bowl with colander and cheese cloth on top. Slowly pour the thickened milk/buttermilk mixture into your cheese cloth. Go slow, it might splatter quite a bit if you rush it! Now pull together all sides of the cloth and start wrapping it tight so you're pressing out all the excess liquid which is whey. Let this drain for a couple of hours.

Your quark should have a similar consistency as sour cream, so if it's too thick, add some whey again and if it's too runny, it hasn't drained enough yet. Again, you have made quark!

Step 3: The Cheater Version (12-24h)

Picture of The Cheater Version (12-24h)

Now this might take longer than the "fasted" version, but it sure is less messy and requires a lot less work.

You will need:
- Plain yogurt

- Cheese cloth

- Colander

- Pitcher

- Stick/Spoon/Some longer utensil

Put your cheese cloth over your colander. Then pour the contents of your yogurt container onto the cloth. I used a 2 pound container and had about 1 pound of "Quark" afterwards. Pull all sides of your cloth together and tie a knot. Now put whatever utensil works best for you through the hole under the knot of the cheese cloth and let the yogurt lose its excess liquid, which the pitcher will catch. After about 1 day you should have "Quark". I actually think that 12 hours might be enough, because I had to add some extra whey again to make it less dense and more creamy again. Now, this is not "true" Quark, but it'll do the job and it sure is less work intensive!

Step 4: Step 2 & 3 Comparison

Picture of Step 2 & 3 Comparison

Here you can see both, step two and three right next to each other. They don't look different and the only major difference I was able to tell was that the one with buttermilk obviously tasted more sour/tart. Since I'm not going to get any deeper into the science of dairy making, I'm happy with the result of either version. I did add more whey to both of them, since you definitely want it to be creamy. Now get creative and try some things with it. I wouldn't suggest eating it just by itself, just as you wouldn't eat sour cream by itself. But just adding a little bit of sugar/honey or on the opposite salt and pepper will make a big difference. And for all the Germans out there, living out of reach of Quark, you don't need me to tell you all the possibilities you have now! ;)

I also added a short video to show you what consistency Quark should have.

Btw, if you don't know what to do with the whey, there are a plethora of ideas online. There are people that pay A LOT of money for whey powder since it's pure protein (I've read that it's become so popular, that cheese has become the side product and whey is now what everyone wants!). It can be added to shakes, coffee, other drinks, in food or I even give it to my dog (everything in moderation of course).

PS: Have a quick look at my other instructables.

Comments

flavrt (author)2015-08-29

Quark sounds like low-fat crème fraîche. Which sounds good.

This is an excellent companion to your plum cake recipe. So often people will post attractive recipes featuring an exotic ingredient I've never heard of, without a clue as to where to find it or substitute. You blanketed the topic and I appreciate it.

If you are routinely separating dairy curds from whey, this strainer will be useful.

madeinthegarage (author)flavrt2015-08-31

Thanks so much!!

Someone just showed me this strainer in the comments on my cake: https://www.lehmans.com/p-778-yogurt-cheese-maker....

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