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. Quark is generally made with skim milk, but higher-fat milks can be used, and a bit of cream can be added to the final product to create a creamier cheese.
- Slowly heat both milks together in a non-reactive cheese pot over low heat until the temperature reaches 72°F.
- Turn off the heat when the milk reaches temperature and add the cultures by sprinkling them onto the surface of the milk and allowing them to rehydrate there for 4 to 5 minutes. Then incorporate them into the milk using an up-and-down motion for about 30 seconds.
- Cover and maintain the milk at 72°F for 30 minutes.
- Add the diluted calcium chloride and stir for 1 minutes in an up-and-down motion. Repeat the same process with the diluted rennet.
- Cover the milk and let it set at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours, or until there is a clean break and a slight layer of yellow whey floating atop the curds.
- Return the curd to 72°F, and begin cutting it into 1/2-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 about 8 to 10 hours, or until the desired consistency is reached.
- Put the drained cheese into a bowl and mix in the salt, adding more or less to accommodate your own personal taste.
Store your quark in a covered container in the refrigerator, and use within 2 weeks.