Quark 101: Everything You Need To Know About The Fresh Cheese
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Quark is Germany's—and maybe the world's—best-kept dairy secret. It is technically a cottage cheese but tastes and feels more like yoghurt. Smooth and spreadable, this cheese goes well with almost everything, including cereals, almonds, fruits, and roasted veggies. If you don't reside in Germany or any other northern European country, you've probably never heard of it, but it's a great yoghurt substitute that's loaded with protein, calcium, and vitamin A.

What Is Quark?

Quark is the German word for a mild-tasting, spreadable, unaged cheese made in Northern and Eastern Europe since at least Roman times. It may be used in baking and cooking, although it's usually eaten for breakfast or spread over toast. Quark is not aged; rather, it is merely cultivated and filtered, giving it a very mild, milky flavour and texture that is closer to yoghurt than cheese.

How Is Quark Made?

Pasteurised milk is gradually heated and then cultured to create quark. At this stage, some quark producers add a very small quantity of rennet to increase the milk's coagulation and eliminate more whey, giving the end product a somewhat harder texture. After that, the milk is left to cool to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 24 hours, during which time it coagulates into a soft curd. The quark will get firmer and tangier the longer it sits.

After gently ladling the curd into a muslin bag or fine sieve, it is let to drain for a further 12 to 24 hours. During this stage, the cheesemaker has complete control over the final product's texture: a shorter draining time results in a higher moisture content and a softer end product, whereas a longer draining time yields a harder, drier cheese. A tiny quantity of cream may be added to the cheese to add richness, depending on how it will be consumed. Before packing, the quark can also be whipped to give it a lighter, airier texture.

Is Quark A Type Of Yoghurt?

There are quark variations that taste like strained Greek yoghurt, however they are uncommon and only found in certain places. It's difficult to eat this dairy product in a spoonful because of its richness.

Nevertheless, there are a few similarities between quark and yoghurt. It has a comparable fat-to-protein ratio to yoghurt, however, it has more protein and less fat. Because of this, quark and yoghurt are more similar than cheese. However, there is one more important distinction between the two: the process of manufacturing. While rennet and lactic acid are added to milk to make quark, live cultures are added to milk to make yoghurt. This results in a flavour that is very distinct and considerably milder than the tangy flavour of yoghurt.

Uses Of Quark

Quark is typically had for breakfast together with jam or fresh berries. It's also the major component of cheesecake, or Kaesekuchen, made in Germany. It may be used in the same ways as cream cheese or fromage blanc substitutes: spread over bagels, bread, or other baked goods; baked into savoury or sweet dishes; added to soups, casseroles, or macaroni and cheese to provide creaminess and moisture; or dolloped into quiches or tarts. It works great as the foundation for flavourful spreads or dips like Krautkaese, a spread served over baked potatoes that contains chopped onions and fresh herbs like parsley and chives. Additionally, quark can be used as a filler for pierogi, pasta, pastries, and crepes.

Storage Instructions

Quark is more delicate and less tolerant of prolonged storage than certain dairy products, which can be stored for several days or even weeks after their use-by date. Naturally, the production process affects this; some packaging extends the product's shelf life.

Quark should always be kept in the refrigerator and utilised before its expiration date, regardless of how it is manufactured or packaged. You can freeze quark for around six weeks to three months if you happen to have extra of it and don't want it to go to waste. It is important to note that freezing and thawing quark can cause significant texture changes, as it will separate, become mushy, and lose its creamy quality.