Make Homemade Quark Cheese

German quark cheese recipe

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 18 hrs 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 18 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
122 Calories
5g Fat
12g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 122
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 116mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 294mg 23%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 343mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Quark is a specialty fresh cheese common to Germany, Poland, Austria, Switzerland and several other European countries. It is not very common in the U.S., and purchasing it can be an expensive proposition unless you live near a dairy that makes it. For all that, it is easier to make than yogurt and requires no special equipment.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for German quark cheese
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. Heat the milk in a large pan with a tight-fighting lid to about 160 F for at least 30 seconds. It is fine if it has a skin on it. It is also fine if it comes to a boil for a few seconds, but that is not necessary.

    Heat milk
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  3. Put the lid on the milk and let the milk cool to room temperature.

    Put lid on
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  4. Using a whisk that is very clean (boil it or take it out of a hot dishwasher), whisk 1/4 teaspoon of the bacterial culture (in powdered form) into the milk until it's dissolved. If you are using buttermilk, stir it in instead of the freeze-dried culture.

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  5. Replace the lid and let the milk sit undisturbed at room temperature for at least 6 hours or follow package directions. If you are using buttermilk, you might have to let the culture sit for 18 to 24 hours. The amount of bacteria in the buttermilk is less than in the freeze-dried product, and it takes longer for it to grow.

    Replace lid
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack 
  6. Once the milk has soured and curdled, you can strain it. (If you do not strain it, it is "Dickmilch," or cultured buttermilk, which many people like to drink.) Layer a sieve with cheesecloth or a loosely woven cotton towel. Whichever one you use must be clean and preferably boiled. Pour the "Dickmilch" into the sieve and allow it to drain overnight in the refrigerator. You might need to stir it to get the quark to drain thoroughly. You can also use a special strainer if you prefer.

    Strain milk
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  7. Rennet is used in cheese to curdle the milk and separate the whey. If desired, you can add 1/4 to 1/2 tablet of rennet, dissolved in a little water, to your milk at the beginning or after your culture has soured if you want it to be more curdled. You can find rennet near the pudding section of the grocery store. 

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  8. Serve and enjoy!

    Serve German quark cheese
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack


  • Milk can be pasteurized, but do not use ultra-pasteurized milk or “H-Milch."
  • Quark bacteria are mesophilic and love a temperature of 60 to 85 F, whereas yogurt bacteria love body temperature (98 F).