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Quark Cheese: What is Quark & How to make Quark Cheese 

Oma Gerhild

by: Gerhild Fulson  /  Cookbook Author, Blogger, German Oma!

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Making homemade Quark is about the only way you can enjoy this German soft cheese in many parts of the world. Why? Because Quark is often not available to buy outside of Germany and other European countries. But thankfully, it is so easy to make.

In fact, I'll show you two easy methods to make it. Both ways are inexpensive as well :)

The fact that it's so easy to make is good news, because there are so many delicious ways to use this uniquely German food!

Homemade Quark Cheese is perfect on its own, mixed with herbs or fruits or used for baking such as the German Cheesecake.

What is Quark?

Quark is a fresh dairy product made by warming soured milk until the desired amount of curdling is achieved, and then straining it. It is traditional in the cuisines of Baltic, Germanic, and Slavic-speaking countries.

It is sometimes translated as curd cheese, cottage cheese, farmer's cheese, or junket. But in Germany, Quark and cottage cheese are considered to be different types of fresh cheese.

While traditional Quark is technically a soft or fresh cheese, it has a texture of, and tastes more like, a thick yogurt - smooth and creamy with a mild, plain taste that's neither sweet nor sour. Delicious and required in so many German recipes!

Is Quark healthier than yogurt?

Yes, believe it or not Quark is better for you than yogurt! It also has more health benefits and is not as aggressive on your digestive system. Quark is very rich in protein and contains calcium and phosphorus! All of which are spectacular for your body.

Yogurts are high in fats and calories as well, while the fat content of Quark is very low. It actually contains less than 1% fat and has a low calorie count.

Quark makes for such a healthier alternative to yogurt and other dairy products like sour cream too! The texture and taste is so similar you can hardly tell the difference at all.

How to make Quark - two easy methods

Making Quark at home is very economical. The only ingredient you need is buttermilk.

  • Always ensure your buttermilk has active cultures.

Buttermilk costs less than $2.50 per quart where I live and makes about 1¾ - 2 cups of Quark.

There are all sorts of recipes for homemade Quark, but these two super easy methods I'm about to share with you yield absolutely amazing results!

1) Use a Greek yogurt maker

Using my Dash Greek Yogurt Maker is one of my favorite ways to make Quark. Not only is it great for making Greek yogurt, it's also fantastic for making Quark ... and definitely worth the cost of buying!

  • To make deliciously low-fat Quark, simply pour 1 quart (4 cups) buttermilk (with live cultures) into the Greek yogurt maker container. Cover and set it for a 12-hour incubation.
  • Pour the Quark into a sieve that is set into another container and let it drain in the fridge for about 6 hours.
  • Store the finished product in a covered container in the fridge.
How to make Quark showing a collage of step-by-step method using Greek Yogurt Maker and buttermilk

2) Or, use your oven ... no special equipment needed!

One of our readers and Facebook fans, Carmen McDermott, passed on these important tips regarding making your own Quark using the oven method.

  • Always ensure your buttermilk has active cultures.
  • Preheat your oven to its absolute lowest setting, turn on the oven light, and then let it cool slightly. (At my oven's lowest setting of 150°F, that means about 20 minutes).
  • Pour cultured buttermilk into a large casserole and cover with a lid.
  • Wrap your lidded casserole dish in a thick bath towel and keep in oven for 6 to 8 hours, with only the oven light on and the oven turned off!
  • Strain Quark through a cheese cloth or clean tea towel to desired consistency.
  • Store the finished Quark in a covered container in the fridge.

Carmen says that she's used this method at least a dozen times and it has never failed her.

How long can homemade Quark last?

Quark will last about the same as any fresh cheese will last in your fridge. You will start to notice a certain sourness to the Quark when it's nearing the end of its time.

While Quark already has a mild sourness to it resembling sour cream and cottage cheese, this sourness will be more potent and noticeable as a sign to make a new batch.

You want to try to finish your homemade Quark typically within the first 10 days of making it. Though with its tastiness, it may not be around for that long! I know when I make it in our house, hubby and I eat it very quickly. :)

How to use leftover whey

Whey is the liquid remaining after the buttermilk has been curdled and strained. The longer you allow the Quark to drain, the more whey you get. But don't throw it out! Whey can be used in all sorts of ways:

  • Use whey to cook pasta, potatoes, oatmeal, or rice
  • Use in place of water when you’re making soup or stew for an extra rich broth
  • Can be substituted for milk or water in most baked good recipes (bread, pancakes, muffins, etc.)
  • It is fantastic in my easy no-knead artisan bread recipe
  • Use it to make homemade ricotta cheese
  • Use it in your smoothies for some extra protein

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Oma says,

Oftentimes, for recipes on this website that normally use Quark, I've substituted other variations. Sometimes it's a mix of ricotta and sour cream. Other times, it's using drained Greek yogurt. But, using the real-deal, the real Quark, will give you the best results!

Thankfully, learning how to make Quark at home is so easy since you'll likely have a hard time finding Quark at your local grocery stores since it's not yet widely available throughout the United States and Canada.

Using Your Homemade Quark Cheese

  • Mix a bit of honey into it and serve it with your muesli or cereal
  • Top a baked potato with it along with a sprinkle of chives and a drizzle of flax oil
  • Mix together with honey and fresh berries or other fresh fruit for dessert
  • Spread it on your sandwiches
  • Use plain Quark as a base for chip and veggie dip

Ready to make some deliciously creamy Quark?

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 How to make Quark Cheese

If you want to learn how to make Quark, here are two easy methods to enjoy this wonderful German soft cheese in all its creamy goodness. It's so easy and so good, you'll always want to keep a batch of Quark handy!

Prep Time

5 minutes

Warm Time

8 - 12 hours

Total Time

18 hours

Servings:

Makes about 1¾ - 2 cups

Ingredients:

1 quart (0.95 l) buttermilk with live cultures

Instructions:

Using a Greek Yogurt Maker:

  • Pour buttermilk into Greek Yogurt Maker container. Cover and set for 12 hour incubation.
  • Pour into sieve set into another container and let the Quark drain in the fridge for about 6 hours.
  • Store the finished Quark in a covered container in the fridge.

Using an oven if temperature will go low enough:

  • Preheat your oven to its absolute lowest setting, no more than 150°F (65°C), turn on oven light, and then let cool slightly.
  • Pour cultured buttermilk (see note) into a large casserole dish. Cover with lid.
  • Wrap your covered casserole dish in a thick bath towel and keep in oven for 6 to 8 hours, with only the oven light on and the oven turned off!
  • Line a large colander or sieve with a clean kitchen towel. Pour the buttermilk into it. Put the lined colander in the fridge to drain for about 6 hours.
  • Store the finished Quark in a covered container in the fridge.

Notes/Hints:

  • IMPORTANT! Ensure that your buttermilk has active or live cultures.
  • Do not attempt to do this in the oven unless you KNOW your oven will stay at less than 150°F. If it gets too warm, the buttermilk cultures will die ... and no Quark!
  • Use the remaining liquid whey to make my easy and delicious artisan bread.
  • Use this homemade Quark cheese to make a traditional German-style cheesecake!

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Unless otherwise noted recipe, images and content © Just like Oma | www.quick-german-recipes.com

07.06.2024 revision update


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If you've been making quark in a different way, do let me know. I know there are ways of making this with rennet and whole milk, but I have yet to find someone who actually has made it this way.

I only like to promote recipes that I know have been used successfully. So, if you have one, do let me know! I'd love to share it here with others as well. 


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Homemade Quark Cheese is perfect on its own, mixed with herbs or fruits, or used for baking such as the German Cheesecake.

Quark Cheese: What is Quark & How to make Quark Cheese

By
Oma's Homemade Quark Cheese
Quark Cheese? Oma shares exactly what quark is and how to make quark at home. Easy steps and tips included to make your own delicious homemade quark.

Yield: 2 cups
Ingredients: buttermilk,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

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