Quark is a soured milk, fresh, unaged cheese product which is gaining popularity in the U.S. because of its versatility. You also will hear it called dry curd cheese, farmer's cheese and sometimes pot cheese.
It is found all over Germany, Poland where it is known as twaróg, and Austria. You can eat it straight like cottage cheese, as a spread on bread, for dessert and you can bake with it.
Quark is made in much the same way as crème fraîche, but Quark is drained afterward.
Making Your Own Quark
Quark requires the same bacteria that is used in making buttermilk. If you make your own quark, be sure the buttermilk is unpasteurized and has live cultures in it or you will get the wrong kind of bacterial growth.
Alternatively, you might want to buy the freeze-dried bacterial culture. This is useful because not all supermarkets carry unpasteurized buttermilk and the freeze-dried culture keeps in your freezer for several months with little loss of activity.
Fake Quark (Yogurt Cheese) Recipe
To make an approximation of quark using yogurt, which is a good substitute for non-baked foods, follow these directions.
- Pour 1 quart of yogurt into a colander lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Fold cheesecloth over the top of yogurt, place a plate on top of that which fits inside the colander and a weight on top of that (such as a mug of water).
- Place colander in or over a bowl and allow to drain two hours or overnight in the refrigerator. (Yogurt should not contain gelatin or the whey will not drain.) You will end up with about half the amount you started with.
Where to Buy Quark
Since shipping fresh quark is quite expensive, you might want to inquire in your area about the availability of Quark, either fresh or frozen. The best sources are German delis, European bakeries, and natural food stores and co-ops, but it can also be bought online.