Recipes, Sauces and Spreads
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Quark (Soft White Farmer’s Cheese)

Quark is a type of soft white farmer’s cheese; it tastes sort of like thick yogurt, at least when it is made with buttermilk.  It is apparently very popular in Germany.  It is a good way to use up leftover buttermilk.

You can use any kind of milk in this. Whole milk makes whole milk quark; skim milk makes skim milk quark.

Source: Modified from “Quark” from “Homemade Summer” by Yvette Van Boven

Quark (Soft White Farmer's Cheese)


  • 980 g (1 quart) whole milk, reduced fat milk, or skim milk
  • 435 g (1.5 cups) buttermilk

Special Equipment:

  • large heavy pot with a tight fitting lid
  • thermometer
  • cheesecloth

Combine the milk and buttermilk in a large heavy pot with a tight fitting lid.  Heat with the lid off until it reaches 100 F (40 C).  The milk should thicken slightly.

Remove from heat and cover with the lid.  Leave in a warm spot for 24 hours, until the milk is thick.

Drape the cheesecloth over a sieve and rinse with water (this helps to hold it in place when you pour in the milk mixture).  Pour the milk mixture into the cheesecloth.  Make sure you catch the curds (the solids) in the cheesecloth; the whey (liquid) should be drained.  Set the sieve in a bowl that is a bit smaller than the sieve so that the sieve doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.  Let the cheese drain for a few hours.  The milk mixture will look very liquid at first, but after you let it drain you will start seeing whey separate out and the cheese will get thicker.

Store in a clean jar in the refrigerator.

Some ideas for using quark are here and here.  We have mostly been using the plain quark as a spread for sliced bread, either on its own, with kumquat marmalade, or with nam prik pao.

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