Quark is a German soft cheese, excellent for making desserts, my favourite being cheesecake. Also known as Continental Bakers Cheese, it is used extensively in cooking, and the famous Kasekuchen, the German cheesecake, is made using Quark.
This is actually the first cheese I ever made. I was living in Pennsylvania at the time, where there is a significant Amish population, so it is not surprising that the first cheese I made was a German cheese. I had loads of fresh milk from my own dairy goats and a cow dairy right next door. It is wonderfully easy to make and very versatile.
It can also be eaten on its own, mixed with herbs or served with jam. I prefer to make the cheese from full cream milk, but it can also be made with reduced-fat milk.
- Two litres of full cream or low-fat milk. (I have used UHT milk with this cheese with good results.)
- Four drops of calcium chloride, diluted in ¼ cup of non-chlorinated water.
- Mesophilic soft curd starter culture. (See packet for the amount to add)
- Cheese Salt to taste.
- Stainless steel pot large enough for your two litres of milk.
- Dairy thermometer.
- Stainless steel perforated spoon.
- Tight weave cheese-making cloth.
- Large stainless steel or enamel colander.
- Somewhere to hang your cheese.
- Place two litres of milk into the stainless steel pot and add calcium chloride solution. Heat by direct heat to 30°C. Remove from heat.
- Add the starter culture and stir well. Cover and let stand undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours in a warm place to ensure the mixture's temperature does not drop below 22°C.
- Line the colander with your tight-weave cheesecloth. Carefully ladle your curds into the lined colander and drain for a few minutes. Tie the corners of the cloth together to form a bag and hang, using the string, and drain for a further 12 to 24 hours. The cheese is sufficiently drained when it is the consistency of cream cheese. Remove the cheese from the cloth, salt to taste and place in an airtight container and place in the fridge to chill before serving.
This recipe is from my book Home Cheese Making in Australia, now in its Second Edition. It is available in bookstores; you can also ask for it in your local library.
As always, live well.