Image Credit: RitaE on Pixabay / CC0 / Public Domain

Quark is a very soft, unaged cheese product. It’s a high-protein alternative to full-fat Greek yoghurt. Until recently, I thought it was widely available everywhere. When some American friends started asking questions, I found out that it’s unknown in the United States. Luckily, Quark is very easy to make yourself. You only need some time and a warm stove.

What do you need

1.5 litres of milk
350 ml of buttermilk, sometimes referred to as ‘cultured buttermilk’
a sauce pan
glass containers or a big 2.5 litre bowl 
a cheese cloth* or tea towel for straining

How to make it

Slowly heat the milk to a simmer using low to medium heat. Stir frequently. Once the milk has reached a simmer, take the saucepan off the hob and let the milk cool to room temperature.

Once the milk has cooled off, whisk the buttermilk into the milk. Then pour the mixture into the glass container or a big bowl and cover with a clean tea towel.  Let stand in a warm place for 12-48 hours. 

In the summer, when it’s warm, it usually only takes about 12 hours to set. In the winter it can take much longer, up to 48 hours. You can speed it up by combining quark making with baking activities. Put the containers or your big bowl on top of a warm oven to speed up the thickening process. Make sure to cover with a towel.

When the quark has thickened, you need to drain off the whey and thicken it up. The easiest way to do this is using a cheese cloth, but you can also use a large, thin tea towel for it. Amazon carries cheesecloths in various sizes, I got mine at Dille & Kamille.  To make sure no soap is in the cloth, I rinse and wring out the cloth before using it.

Take a big strainer, cover it with the cloth and pour in the mixture. Then you need to hang the cloth with your quark so the whey drips out.  You can tackle this in two ways. Method 1: I gather the corners and tie the cloth to my faucet and let the whey drain in the kitchen sink.

This method is also used to make the famous Dutch ‘Hangop‘. If you have a modern kitchen, this may not work because the bottom of the cloth must not touch the sink. 

The other way, method 2, is to take a long wooden spoon and a bucket or tall bowl. Tie the cloth to the spoon (or use a rubber band) and catch the whey in the bucket or bowl. 

Leave the mixture overnight until you have the nice thick, creamy substance we call quark. You can mix a bit of whey back in if you find it too thick.

I eat my quark plain with a bit of flaxseed and müsli, but you can flavour it if you want or eat with fresh fruit. Let me know how yours turned out and how you like it!

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