Quark is popular worldwide, probably because it is delicious (tasting like a more mild form of yogurt), but also because of its versatility as an ingredient and its ability to stand on its own. There are multiple varieties of quark: sahnequark (cream quark), made with a large portion of heavy cream; traditional quark, made with whole milk; magerquark (schichtkase) made with skim or 2% milk; and buttermilk quark, made with cultured buttermilk. Traditional quark recipes call for mesophilic cultures and calcium chloride, but this recipe makes quark easy for those not ready to rush headlong into serious cheesemaking.
- Heat the milk in a non-reactive stockpot to around 88°F.
- Once the milk has reached the proper temperature, add the starter by gently sprinkling it on the top of the warmed milk, then letting it float on top for around 1 minute.
- After the cultures have had time to rehydrate, gently incorporate them into the milk using a rubber spatula, moving in slow, up-and-down motions. Once you are satisfied that the starter has been thoroughly mixed in, cover the pot and let it stand undisturbed for 24 hours, or until it has set.
- Place a clean colander over a large bowl, and line the colander with damp butter muslin. Ladle all of the curds from the pot into the colander. Tie up the corners of the butter muslin into a knot, making a sack containing the cheese curds.
- Put the whole thing—colander, bowl, and curds in the sack—into a cooler, cellar, or some other place where they can remain under 55°F. Leave them there for 12 hours. You can put some water into a clean container and place them atop the curd sack to assist in quicker drainage.
- After 12 hours, check the quark. If it is too wet, leave it to drain some more. If it is too dry, spoon it into a non-reactive bowl, and add the tablespoons of cream to it, mixing thoroughly. Once the quark’s consistency reaches the point to your liking, you can store it in a covered container until you are ready to use it.
Quark will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.