I’ve been following the blog of a Norwegian girl who is a competitive body fitness model, in fact she was my inspiration to starting my own blog detailing my every day diet, work outs and thoughts surrounding fitness. For those of you who read Norwegian, you can check out her blog here (she is also listed under my blog roll to the right). Like myself, she loves cooking and trying out new dishes and she was talking of quark day in and day out – she uses it as a breakfast food and topped it with granola, but also in desserts and other savory dishes as an addition in sauces, etc. The definition of quark from wikipedia reads as follows:
Quark (or qvark) is a fresh cheese of East European origin. Dictionaries usually translate it as curd cheese. It is soft, white and un-aged, similar to (but not the same as) fromage frais. It is not the same thing as cream cheese or cottage cheese. It is distinct from ricotta because ricotta (Italian: recooked) is made from scalded whey. It usually has much lower fat content (about the same as yoghurt) than cream cheeses and has no salt added.
In Germany, quark is widely sold as a creamy, sweet desert or treat in a small plastic tub with a fruit flavouring – indeed, much like yoghourt tubs sold in most parts of the world. (The yoghourt tub product is also seen widely in Germany, just as in other countries.) However, this particular variety of quark seems to be unique mainly to Germany. Thus a French person talking about quark probably means the soft white cheese (per se), whereas a German might mean the “tub treat” variety. This leads to confusion: for instance a USA visitor to Germany might well tend to think of quark as the “fruity youghourt-like treat in a tub that you see in supermarket shelves in Germany” product and have no idea about the white cheese “per se” sense of quark.
It’s very much a European product and much more common there, so despite being very resourceful I can only really find it a couple of places around here and when I do, it’s really expensive. So I decided to buy a Quark maker from the German Corner online, and make it myself! It’s lower in calories than non fat yogurt even but really rich, tangy and creamy much like creme fraiche and cottage cheese (but smoother in texture). So all you need is buttermilk – I bought the ones you see below from my local supermarket:
Above you can also see once I poured the buttermilk into glass canisters and put them in the machine. The machine pretty much heats up and helps coagulate the buttermilk, a process that takes about 16 hours, so you leave it over night and there’s a timer that goes off when the machine /process is done. I also took a picture of the buttermilk in the canister afterwards – as you can see there is liquid at the bottom that gathered up overnight. I let it come to room temperature, then I poured in into a cheesecloth over a colander and let the quark drain for 4-5 hours. You will end up with 12 ounces (340 gr) of quark per 1 quart of buttermilk. It smells heavenly and I can’t wait to taste it! The quarkmaker came with recipes and ideas on how to use quark, for examples quark souffle with ham, quark dumplings, quark creme with peaches, and a cheesecake and pancakes as well. You can flavor the quark any way you’d like, for instance with vanilla, herbs, fruit and so on. The possibilities are endless, and when using a product that is so low in fat (as I used lowfat buttermilk) it’s great to realize that eating healthy does NOT mean depriving yourself! Here’s a shot of my finished quark, beautiful isn’t it?: