How to make Quark (Kvark) at home

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Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Sep 13, 2010
near Montreal, Quebec
Quark is a fresh cheese. It is similar to cream cheese, but usually with a lower fat content.

According to Wikipedia,
Quark is traditional in the cuisines of Baltic, Germanic and Slavic-speaking countries as well as amongst Ashkenazi Jews and various Turkic peoples.
I know about it through Danish recipes, where it is called "kvark".

Yield: curds, about 30% of the weight or volume of milk that you use. So, about 300 grams or 300 ml from one litre of milk. There will also be a bit more than half a litre/quart of whey.

1 litre of milk, skim milk, 2%, whole milk - your preference
2 Tablespoons / 30 ml of starter: sour cream, crème fraiche, or quark from a previous batch, with live culture
or starter substitution:
100 ml cultured buttermilk

US customary measure:
1 quart of milk
2 Tablespoons of starter: sour cream, crème fraiche, or quark from a previous batch, with live culture
or starter substitution:
6½ Tablespoons of cultured buttermilk

  1. Pour the milk into a non-reactive bowl or jar.
  2. Gently stir the starter into the milk.
  3. Cover the bowl or jar and let it sit at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours. It will go quicker when the room temperature is warmer.
  4. When it is thick, leave it until the curds are floating on top of the whey or speed up the process by putting it in the oven at 100-150°F for two to three hours. It should go in the oven covered with a tea towel or a plate, not closed with a metal lid. The whey will be a greenish or yellowish liquid.
  5. Once the curds are floating on top of the whey (by waiting or by heating), line a non-reactive sieve or colander with a clean, wet tea towel or similar and put this over a bowl or other container. I use a 4 litre Pyrex measuring "cup".
  6. Carefully pour the curds and whey into sieve or colander and let it drip until the quark is a thick as you like.
  7. If it gets too thick, you can thin it with some of the whey or some milk or cream.
  8. Refrigerate the quark and the whey. They should be good for about a week.

  • I have not tried this, but I have read that you can just use a litre or quart of cultured buttermilk instead of stirring a starter into sweet milk. Continue as above, from right after the starter is stirred into the milk.
  • None of the measurements need to be exact.
  • Depending on intended use, you may want to stir in some salt to taste.
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I keep a half gallon of buttermilk in my fridge, using it in baking goods, until I get down to the last cup or so, and I get another half gallon of 2% milk, and add ½ c of the buttermilk to it, and let it sit at room temperature for about 12 hours, depending on the temperature, until it thickens. Like the yogurt, I have a never ending supply, just using the old batch as the culture. And I don't always do it with the BM, but like with the yogurt, if the milk is heated up to 180°, then cooled down (I do that in the Instant Pot, in that yogurt mode), it seems smoother, and seems to keep better, though I never have any go bad either way.
It's called kwark in Dutch, so pretty much the same as in Danish ;)
We just ate it / used it like you would use yoghurt (or ymer)

I've never seen buttermilk here, but will keep a look out. Also for kvark.
If you only let it get a little thick, I think it's what Danes call "tykmælk", which means thick milk. It has been made in Denmark for centuries. Ymer is similar, but only produced since 1930, with industrial precision and extra steps. I can't honestly say I ever noticed a difference between them. I think of kvark as the thick milk version of yogourt cheese.

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