Friday, June 7, 2013

Homemade Quark Cheese

Last year my sister lamented to me that she would love to find quark cheese locally since it was a cheese she loved to eat and cook with when living in Germany. So, the challenge was before me to create that exact cheese, in taste and consistency. 

If you are personally not familiar with quark don't be dismayed, neither was I, but I was willing to learn.  Quark, it so happens, is a cheese used almost solely in Germany and I think the best way to describe it is, its a soured soft cheese.  (By the way, it tastes great on baked potatoes!)  And, as you will see by the recipe below, it is made almost in the exact same manner as the soft cheese Fromage Blanc I posted a few weeks ago.  

Here is the recipe I used then and still use when making quark for both me and my sister:

Start out with 1 1/2 gallons of skimmed milk.

After sterilizing the pot, spoon, lid, and thermometer, pour in the milk and heat on medium low heat to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, making sure to stir frequently until a uniform temperature is reached. Remove from heat.

Next, sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of mesophilic culture on top of the warmed milk and let rehydrate for 5 minutes.  After the culture has re-hydrated, mix in the culture in with at least 20 up and down strokes. 

 Next mix in 1/8 teaspoon rennet that has been mixed into 1/4 cup cool water then mix the diluted rennet into the warmed milk.  Again, use the 20 up and down stokes a second time.

Cover the pot and let sit for 24 hours. (I put a sticky note on the pot to remind me what time I need to deal with it the next day - it helps with my forgetful tendency.)

After the 24 hours are over, prepare a large strainer lined with a poly cheese cloth. Ladle the semi-firmed up cheese into the prepared strainer, letting it drain down as you go.

Covered to keep the critters out.

Let the cheese drain for quite a few hours.

At night, I move the cheese to a smaller strainer and let it continue to drain in the refrigerator over night.

In the morning the cheese will be completely drained.

 At this point, whip the cheese with 1 teaspoon of salt.

That's it, quark cheese, a low-fat, soured soft cheese.

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