Quark is a soft cottage cheese made out of cultured Milk (or kefir in this case) and is an essential part of the Budwig diet.
Quark has a very smooth and creamy texture and is slightly sweet but still sour if made with kefir. It has a very unique and very delicious taste. It can used in baking (cheesecake), cooking (Pirogi), as a dip with herbs (rosemary and garlic are my favourites), or most popularly as a dessert with fresh fruits or berries – yum, yum!
Even though Quark is very popular in Europe good Organic live Quark is not easy to find here in the UK but the fantastic news is, its super easy to make with Milk kefir.
So how do you make it?
- Make your Milk kefir-
Quark is made out of cultured milk. It can be cultured buttermilk, kefir, or junket; all three work, but are a bit different in taste. The mildest quark is made out of cultured buttermilk (good for beginners) and the strongest being kefir (obviously my favourite!).
The fat content of your quark will depend on the fat content of your milk. If you want really creamy quark, make sure to use whole milk or a 50/50 cream and Milk mix. You can even mix some cream into it. If you want low fat quark then you can use low fat milk but i have to admit this type of milk does not make great kefir so whilst it apparently works this is not one that i have actually tried as i never make kefir with low fat milk.
So the first thing you need to do is make your Milk kefir, you would do this like you normally would BUT i would only leave to ferment for 24 hours rather than the 24-48. In order to ensure that the kefir is ready in the 24 hours you may need to make sure that it is in a really nice an snug temperature or possibly increase the amount of grains slightly as the trick is to get good curds formed but without the kefir being too sour (unless you like sour quark in which case just brew as normal). If you add cream to your whole milk you will find you get really nice and thick curds but without the kefir being too sour. This bit is something that you may have to experiment with.
Raw or pasteurised Milk can be used but we would always encourage you to use Organic Milk.
- Mature your kefir-
For quark making you want the cultured milk to be well cultured, starting to separate the curd (solid) from the whey (liquid), so once you have strained your milk kefir you are going to pop it in a glass jar and leave it to separate. You will see other methods online that use a water bath to speed up this bit but we DO NOT recommend this method if you are looking to make a really healthy quark full of natural bacteria as the heat of the bath will kill off some of the bacteria. Just leave the kefir in the sealed jar until you see complete separation
How long this bit takes will depend on the temperature so it can sometimes only take a few hours or it may take a few days. In winter when it is cold you might find that standing the brew underneath a light (i use the spotlights in my kitchen) or on top of the fridge will help.
Once you see distinct kefir curds and kefir whey the kefir is mature and ready to go!
- Strain the kefir
Place a Plastic sieve or collander on top of a wide jug or bowl and line it with something to strain the kefir. There are lots of things you can use to do this, some are easier than others some are faster than others but ultimately they will all do the same thing so it comes down to personal preference.
- Nut Milk bags- Quick and Easy, not too bad to clean and dry easily
- Muslin- pretty much the same as the nut milk bags but i find i have to use several layer
- Old cotton Pillowcase- depends on the size as if it is too big it may be hard to use and it depends on how much Quark you are trying to make.
- Coffee Filter paper- Easy and disposable so no need to clean but they are much slower and sometimes a bit small. Again this depends on how much you are making
- Kitchen paper-my least favourite. This works ok if it is the thicker more expensive kitchen paper but the cheaper stuff falls apart and can make it very difficult. I would avoid using this personally but others manage so maybe its just me!
Once you have lined you sieve or colander pour the contents of the jar into the sieve/collander and leave for all the whey (clear liquid) to strain through. This can take a few hours or possibly over night so it is best to cover the top of collander/sieve and leave it to do its thing (i personally find using a nut milk bag or old pillowcase best as i can then tie this to my tap in the kitchen and just leave it to drip over the sink).
Once all the whey has been removed give it a shake and you should have a nice ball of quark in your cloth!
And that is it, it really is that simple. Now you can use your quark for whatever you want, quark is great as an ingredient for appetizers, salads, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts. It is a very healthy and delicious cultured milk product and it can be used for the Budwig diet.