Homemade cheese never appealed to me. Curdling the milk, straining with cheesecloth and numerous other steps seemed messy and time consuming. I’ve looked into several varieties – yogurt cheese seems easy to make but a bit expensive overall. Then I found quark. Quark is a European fresh soft cheese with a mild flavor and similar in texture to whipped butter or ricotta cheese. It’s actually the most popular cheese in Germany and there are a million uses for it, from pancakes to cheesecakes and souffles. In addition, it’s naturally low in fat with only 0.2g fat per serving. It’s difficult to find prepared quark in stores, but it takes very little work to make and costs less than $2 per batch. It’s a wonderful cheese, give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.
1 quart cultured buttermilk (1% fat)
1/4 cup skim milk, as needed
kosher salt, to taste
glass baking dish
kitchen towel, linen or cheesecloth
strainer or colander
1. Set oven to 150F. Pour buttermilk into the baking dish and cover with a lid or tinfoil. If the lid is plastic or rubber, make sure it’s dishwasher safe – if so, it should be fine at 150 degrees in the oven. Place the dish in the oven and let it sit overnight, or about 8-12 hours.
2. In the morning, remove the dish from the oven. Place the strainer in the sink or a large pot and line it with the linen. Spoon or pour the contents of the baking dish into the strainer. You’ll notice that the curd (solid) has partially separated from the whey (liquid). Cover the cheese with the ends of the cloth and let it drain in the sink for 30-60 minutes. To speed up the process, fill a bowl or sealed container with water and place on top to weigh it down. 30 min seemed sufficient for my batch.
3. Dump the contents into a bowl and refrigerate. Once chilled, add milk 2T at a time until it is smooth and easy to spread with a texture similar to creamy ricotta cheese. Add salt to taste. Makes 8oz or about 1 to 1-1/2 cups.
|Serving Size 1/2 cup|
Servings per Batch 3
|Amount Per Serving|
|Total Fat 0.2g|
|Saturated Fat 0g|
|Total Carbohydrate 4g|
|Dietary Fiber 0g|