Pancake mornings were the best because Mom usually had a batch of “cottage cheese” freshly whipped up to dallop on our stacks. We later found out from our German neighbor that the creamy, slightly tart “cottage cheese” we were eating on our pancakes was called quark in her country. Join me in learning how to make raw milk quark cheese.
Recently I was shopping at Aldi. I love checking out their “fancy” cheese section. I was shocked when my eye caught a label that read “Quark!” Stunned, I realized I better hurry home and share with the world how to make your own raw milk quark cheese because to pay the price for that little container would forever deprive you of this delicious, traditional health food.
*Disclaimer: Do not try this with processed milk! Pasteurized milk will not ferment the same way raw milk does. I’ve never tried making quark with anything but raw milk but I’m certain processed milk will rot and not ferment.*
This is another thing about grandma’s house that I will miss: raw milk quark cheese. Of course, she only called it “cottage cheese” as well. Must be a Mennonite thing…
Read More: What I Learned from My Grandmother About Homemaking
There was something about how she made it that it would always be the so creamy and smooth without even the teeniest lump. Almost like frosting.
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How to Make Raw Milk Quark Cheese
(The Lazy Way)
Set a gallon of raw milk on the counter in a glass container . Put the lid loosely on and don’t disturb. I like to keep mine next to the oven on the side where the heat comes out.
After a day or two it will look like this. You can see the cream clearly separated out and it is starting to form a few air bubbles.
(The Non-Lazy Way)
Set a gallon of raw milk in the oven with the light on. Do not use the oven for anything else during this time! After 12 hours or overnight, check for separation. Leave the milk in the oven until it separates. Essentially, the light bulb heat speeds up the separation of curds and whey as you see in Step 2.
Let it sit out until it separates into whey and curds like this photo.
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Position a colander over a large bowl and line it with several layers of cheese cloth or a loose woven, non-linty kitchen towel.
If you don’t want to save the whey, simply set the lined colander in the sink.
But I beg you, discover all the healthful ways you can incorporate whey into your diet! The Weston A. Price Foundation has a great article here.
Slowly pour the separated whey and curds into the colander. Wait for it to go down so you don’t overflow the colander.
Once the majority of the whey has drained off, transfer the colander and bowl to the refrigerator. Let it drain in there for 12 hours or overnight.
Remove the drained curds from the fridge and scrape them into a bowl. Use a rubber spatula to get them off of the towel.
At this point, you can use the curds as you would ricotta in lasagna or on a salad. The curds are rather crumbly and dry.
In the mixing bowl with the curds, add a little bit of fresh milk and start the mixer. Mix and mix until all the milk is incorporated. If the curds are still crumbly, add more milk. If there are still lumps, mix longer.
There really shouldn’t be a grainy look any more. It should be shiny and smooth.
My grandma said that if she still had tiny lumps, she would transfer it to her food processor to whip. I’m lazy and a few little lumps don’t bother me.
Ways to Enjoy Raw Milk Quark Cheese
1. As Yogurt
My son loves to eat his quark plain. I put some in a little bowl and he gobbles it down like yogurt.
If you don’t do tangy foods well, add some maple syrup, honey, jam or canned fruit. I love to eat mine with some canned peaches.
2. As Sour Cream
I mentioned in Step 6 that the curds can be used like ricotta or feta. This whipped raw milk quark cheese can be used just like sour cream! It does have a little different flavor, but it works.
It is delicious in soups like borscht, as well.
3. As Cream Cheese
During the whipping phase, just don’t add as much milk. Mix it with a paddle or a wooden spoon instead of the whisk attachment. Keep it stiff while making it creamy. Enjoy it spread on crackers, bagels and toast.
4. On Pancakes!
Growing up, we always had this on our pancakes. We would stack up the pancakes layered with butter and then top them off with raw milk quark cheese. Or as we called it “cottage cheese.”
Pour a little syrup over top and you have the finest, most delicious stack of pancakes.