How to Make Quark (aka Yo-Cheese)

Making Quark from Yoghurt: the whey drains into the bowl for use in baking later.

Have you ever tried making cream cheese out of yoghurt? It’s really very simple to do, and surprisingly good. You can make it out of plain yoghurt, flavoured yoghurt, or plain yoghurt with some fruit or herbs added.

(And if you don’t already know how to make your own yoghurt, take a look at this post.)

But wait, I hear you saying, didn’t you say there would be more giveaways this week? Is their a Norwex cloth for straining yo-cheese or something? Well you know, I don’t think there is. To find out what happened to the planned giveaways just read this post (it’s been edited since last week). In the meantime, I give you:

How to Make Quark Cream-Cheese

You will need

  • yoghurt
  • a piece of cheese cloth or similar
  • a strainer
  • a bowl and a plate
  • any herbs or fruit you would like to add
  • room in your fridge for the bowl and strainer to sit for a day or two.

Instructions:

1. Optionally mix any fruit or herbs you would like to flavour your yo-cheese into the yoghurt.

2 Place your strainer over the bowl.

3. Cover the strainer with cheese cloth – this needs to cover the whole strainer with a little hanging over the edge.

4. Pour your yoghurt into the strainer.

Making Quark - This is an especially good thing to do with runnier yoghurt - you can stop at a point when it’s a little thicker, or go all the way to quark. This was thick to start with, but I wanted quark so used what I had - SustainableSuburbia.net

5. Cover with a plate.

6. Place in the fridge, and leave to drain for 24-36 hours. The longer you leave it, the thicker and firmer your yo-cheese will be.

7. Eat your quark, and keep the whey (the clear liquid which drained out) for baking – use it in place of buttermilk.

 

How to Use Your Yo-Cheese

You can eat your quark anyway you like! For savory quark (made with plain yoghurt with or without herbs), spread it on a bagel, use it as a dip, make cheese cake, fill ravioli, or dollop it onto baked potatoes.

For sweet quark (made with sweetened yoghurt or unsweetened with fruit mixed in), mix with some muesli for breakfast, use it as a filling for crepes, or just eat it plain!

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This post will be shared over at IBOT with the inimitable Jess.

  30 comments for “How to Make Quark (aka Yo-Cheese)

  1. March 25, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    It’s amazing what you can do – I had no idea you could make cream cheese out of yoghurt. Thanks for sharing this Kirsten!
    Kirsty @ My Home Truths recently posted..FASTMy Profile

    • Kirsten
      March 26, 2014 at 9:41 am

      You’re welcome Kirsty – give it a try, it’s delish! 🙂

  2. March 25, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I just read a similar post from Flood Prone Mum yesterday!! Tanya is doing the same thing, I never knew it was possible, but to read it twice in one week – must be a sign… to go out and buy some 😉 Emily – visiting as part of #teamIBOT

    • Kirsten
      March 26, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Haha! I did have some *delicious* quark someone brought to my house recently that was shop bought – I think it was made with soured milk (using cultured buttermilk), rather than yoghurt, and it was stored in olive oil, the way Helen describes Labneh (in a comment below). But it was yummy! (also, I think it’s Flood *Proof* Mum, LOL!!).

  3. March 25, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    I’ve never heard of “Quark” before … but as I loathe yogurt I don’t think it’s something I’ll be doing soon 😉
    Janet aka Middle Aged Mama recently posted..Aussie Blogs for Middle Aged WomenMy Profile

    • Kirsten
      March 26, 2014 at 9:38 am

      Haha, no if you loathe yoghurt you may probably wouldn’t like it Janet, although you never know – mixed with herbs and treated as a cream cheese maybe? It’s a very different texture to yoghurt. Or, you might like it made just with soured milk, which I *think* has a smoother taste (although that would depend on the yoghurt too).

  4. March 26, 2014 at 12:08 am

    Hi Kirsty ,
    Just reading the word Quark always makes me think of Germany as we used to have it when I was a young girl in Adelaide. Mum and dad migrated from Germany just before I was born in 1951 along with other people looking for a better life after the war. …but Australia wasn’t really prepared for migrants compared to now and life was hard. No handouts. But they persevered.
    I think Quark is a German word for soft cheese…must check it.
    I have made it, draining it really well cause I wanted a firmer cheese using my homemade Greek yoghurt, and cut it into little wedges to have on crackers with quince paste which was marked down of course.
    It must be that Autumn has us wanting comfort foods.
    Take care and thanks
    Alexa from Sydney , Australia
    Blogging at http://www.Alexa-asimplelife.com
    Alexa McAllister recently posted..What does Simple Living meanMy Profile

    • Kirsten
      March 26, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Yes, maybe you are right about the autumn/comfort food thing Alexa. Do you make it with yoghurt or soured milk (as Krista points out is “true” quark)? I had some on rice cakes for breakfast this morning. Yum. 🙂

  5. March 26, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Thanks for this Kirsten – you have solved a mystery for me.
    I had no real idea what quark was, but now I realise it is pretty much the same as the middle Eastern Labneh, which is also awesome! They tend to make it only as savoury – the same process you describe, but the yoghurt is usually salted. Once firm you roll into balls, (and can roll the balls in chopped herbs and or spices) then they are stored in a jar of olive oil with more herbs and garlic. They taste like a cross between cream cheese and a marinated feta. There is a recipe here: http://www.taste.com.au/recipe/7011/labne+marinated+yoghurt+cheese+balls
    I’ve also seen versions just spread out in a bowl more like hummus and sprinkled with herbs etc on top.
    Now I’ve finally got the hang of making my own yoghurt each week I must get into this cheese as well and try and lower my butter consumption!
    cheers, Helen
    Helen recently posted..Greengages!My Profile

    • Kirsten
      March 26, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Yes, very similar to Labneh Helen. And yum! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  6. Krista
    March 26, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Actually, quark is made by heating soured milk until it coagulates and then draining it. Strained yoghurt is not quark.

    You can read more on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quark_%28dairy_product%29
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strained_yogurt

    • Kirsten
      March 26, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Thanks for the links Krista.
      It is true that quark can also be made with soured milk (just add buttermilk to full cream milk and heat gently before straining – and in fact I presume you could use the strained whey for this purpose also, left over from straining yoghurt), but strained yoghurt is also often referred to a quark. Perhaps it is not “technically” correct (though in the English language that is almost a nonsensical phrase, since meaning in English is determined by usage), but it has become common – and is easier and quicker than heating soured milk, if you already have yoghurt. They do end up tasting a little different, but then, different yoghurts end with a different taste too.

  7. Bec S
    March 26, 2014 at 10:17 am

    I’ve never heard of quark but given I make my own yoghurt I’m sure can give this a go! Would it be similar to cream cheese? The kids (and hubby) love cream cheese on bread so may like this. Would be a great alternative as no preservatives etc.

    • Kirsten
      March 26, 2014 at 10:56 am

      Yep, similar in texture to cream cheese, but a tangier taste – depending on the yoghurt you start with of course! My 7 yo loves it and doesn’t love cream cheese as much, but then she’s always loved tangy yoghurt.

  8. Louise
    March 26, 2014 at 11:06 am

    I used to make my own yoghurt regularly, but got out of the habit. I loved making quark, and it was delicious in all sorts of foods. I would also use it in place of sour cream. I should try it again.

    • Kirsten
      April 9, 2014 at 10:42 am

      Yes, it’s is so versatile, isn’t it? Funny how we go in and out of food habits isn’t it, and then can almost forget about things we were previously making constantly.

  9. March 26, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Well I’ll be! I never knew you could do that!! Might have to do a cheesecake using some homemade quark! Thanks for the inspiration 😀 Jan x

    • Kirsten
      April 9, 2014 at 10:41 am

      Mmm, cheesecake. Yum.

  10. Jill
    March 26, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks Kirsten. I’ve been making this for a while now just using plain yoghurt which I’ve made following your recipe. I thought it was called labneh? It’s delicious! Adding fruit or herbs would be gorgeous. For those of your readers who might not know, straining your yoghurt for 3 or 4 hours will give you Greek yoghurt and is really helpful if it is runny.

    • Kirsten
      April 9, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Thanks Jill. I think it is also (or perhaps more correctly?) called labneh. Glad you are enjoying it 🙂

  11. Bel
    March 26, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    This sounds delicious and so easy!
    I can’t wait to try a herbed version on crackers for my two young sons!

    • Kirsten
      April 9, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Yum! It is easy 🙂 Enjoy!

  12. March 27, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Have been doing this for about 18 months. I just use it as a dessert with berries. Use the whey for the lightest, fluffiest pancakes ever, also good in cakes. The bread was a disaster using whey (tried several times).
    Deb H recently posted..GardenMy Profile

    • Kirsten
      March 31, 2014 at 11:31 am

      That’s interesting about the bread Deb. My son brought some home that he had made with my mum, and has been nagging me to collect up enough whey to make more, ever since, but I don’t have the recipe. I’ll have to ask her about it.

  13. March 29, 2014 at 12:11 am

    I’m loving Quark right now since it’s helping my weight loss. Mix it with a sachet of hot chocolate mix (low calorie) and you have the most amazing creamy cheesecake topping ever (I don’t eat mine with biscuits so it’s really, really low in calories for a tub). Would love to make it myself though, so will take this method down to use. Thank you!
    Jackie Allum recently posted..Not Just A Laughing Cow Today – Having A Pig OutMy Profile

    • Kirsten
      March 31, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Yum, that sounds delish Jackie! I have mixed it with cinnamon before too, which is yummy, with whatever sweetener of your choice 🙂

  14. March 31, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Hi Kirsten,

    I used to live with people from Germany and they made Quark regularly. I can’t remember how they made it but I think it may have been from soured milk. This was back in the late 1960s – early 1970s and I can’t remember eating yoghurt then.

    Thanks so much for the Norwex cloths. It was a nice surprise when I opened them when I got home from up north where I was visiting my granddaughters.
    Nanna Chel recently posted..A day with NannaMy Profile

    • Kirsten
      April 9, 2014 at 10:41 am

      Yes, I think – as someone pointed out further up in the comments – the original and perhaps more correct use of the name quark was for the same thing but made with soured milk rather than yoghurt.
      And as for the cloths – you are very welcome! Hope you are enjoying using them 🙂

  15. dorothy
    April 25, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Loved the quark ideas. Wondered if sour milk is fresh milk soured or milk
    past the use by date. Having an old gas fridge in a solar house away from town
    means we often have some solid old milk in cartons that seems ok.

    • Kirsten
      April 27, 2014 at 10:56 am

      It’s generally fresh milk soured Dorothy. One of the issues with milk past the use-by date is that it often foes “off” not “sour”, because the pasterisation process kills off the original bacteria, leaving room for it to become “infected” with other bacteria. But, if your old milk smells okay, just sour, you could try that and see what happens I guess. Just maybe try a little first and make sure it doesn’t make you sick!!

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