Quark (meaning “curd” in German) is an ancient form of soft cheese that may date back over 2000 years. It is the consistency of sour cream or yogurt, making it a popular spread. But quark can be used in a large number of ways. It can be substituted for cream cheese in cheesecake, mixed with dried fruits for a quick breakfast, or blended with herbs and salt for a tasty cracker spread.
- Slowly heat both milks together in a non-reactive pot over low heat until the temperature reaches 72°F.
- Turn off heat and add the starter culture by sprinkling it onto the surface of the milk and allowing it to rehydrate for 4-5 minutes. Incorporate the culture into the milk using an up-and-down motion for about 30 seconds.
- Cover and maintain milk at 72°F for 30 minutes.
- Add diluted calcium chloride and stir for 1 minute in an up-and-down motion. Repeat with diluted rennet.
- Cover milk and let it set at room temperature for 12-18 hours, or until there is a clean break and a slight layer of yellow whey floating atop the curds.
- Return curds to 72°F, and begin cutting the curd into ½-inch pieces. Once the curd is cut, remove it from the heat and gently stir the curds for 5 minutes.
- Let the curds sink to the bottom of the pot, but maintain the temperature. Ladle off the top layer of whey until you can see the curds at the bottom.
- Line a colander with butter muslin and begin ladling the curds into it. Let the curds drain for 8-10 hours, or until the desired consistency is reached.
- Put the drained cheese in a bowl and mix in the salt, adjusting to taste.