About a month ago, I wrote about Liana Krissoff’s most excellent book, Slow Cook Modern. In that blog post, I promised to share the recipe it contained for homemade quark. I finally here to make good on my promise (I’m only a bit later than intended).
I know that some of you are probably reading this and are thinking, what exactly is quark? Well, it’s a soft set cheese of European origin that is made with acid rather than rennet. It has a bright, tangy flavor and can be cooked, baked, or spread on toast.
It’s also one of those things that seems like it should be quite complicated to make, but is quite easy (particularly if you have a slow cooker or Instant Pot handy).
You start with half a gallon of cultured buttermilk (this is the nice, thick stuff you buy at the store, not the liquid leftover from making butter). Once you’ve procured your buttermilk, you pour it into the vessel of your choosing.
I opted for my Instant Pot set to run on the yogurt setting (I borrowed a tip I spotted on the internet and ran the pot at high pressure for 1 minute with a little water in it before adding the buttermilk, to sterilize the pot and ensure that the quark turned out well). Once the buttermilk was in the pot, I set the yogurt setting to run for 8 hours and walked away.
When the time was up, it was time to separate the cheese curds from the remaining liquid. I lined a fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth, perched it above a bowl, and used a slotted spoon to lift the solids out of the pot.
Once all the cheese solids were in the cheesecloth, I let it drain. It was evening when I started the draining process, so I ended up letting my quark sit and drain all night. I ended up with fairly dry cheese as a result. If you want something a bit more tender, shorten that draining process.
I ate the finished cheese on toasted rye bread, and heaped on slices of cucumber. It was a tasty treat that I will most certainly make again!
Homemade Quark from Slow Cook Modern
- 1/2 gallon 2 L cultured buttermilk, full-fat or low-fat
- Pour the buttermilk into the slow cooker. Cover and turn the cooker to the warm or keep-warm setting (or the yogurt setting at "normal" on an Instant Pot).
- The buttermilk will separate into a creamy top layer about the thickness of Greek yogurt (but fluffier in texture) and a watery bottom layer and will be firm and just warm to the touch in the center. This will take 2 to 8 hours, depending on your cooker.
- Put a sieve or colander over a bowl and line it with four layers of rinsed and squeezed cheesecloth and use a slotted spoon or skimmer to gently spoon the creamy top layer in, leaving the watery whey behind.
- Let drain at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours, then transfer to a sealable container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.