Today, I’m not talking about particle physics, or about Ferengi bar owners (nerd points if you know what I’m talking about). I’m talking about cheese! German cheese, to be exact. I’ve ventured into the land of cheese-making a couple of times, making fresh cheese from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian back when I was in graduate school, and homemade ricotta a year or so ago. But lately I’ve been digging through recipe clippings, old German cookbooks, and tons of authentic recipes that my paternal grandmother, Bernadine, collected. In it, I found recipes for German cheesecake, using Quark! I had actually never heard of quark until a few days ago.
I have never seen Quark in the store here (though I haven’t looked very hard) and so I decided to take my try at making some, per one of these old recipes. I made a smaller batch than the original, halving the recipe. It is so simple!
(makes a scant cup)
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
kosher salt, to taste (optional)
Heat the milk to a simmer, whisk in buttermilk. Let sit, covered, at room temperature for 24 hours. At this point, you should have curds (see image above). Drain them in a cheesecloth lined strainer overnight, and voila! You have quark! I drained mine in a paper-towel lined strainer because I had to improvise. I also lightly salted mine when I got done. This had a very mild flavor, which is what makes it so versatile! I must admit, I was hoping it would be creamier and maybe a little tangier, but I’m going to keep trying this with different brands of milk and buttermilk and possibly some different ratios of buttermilk to whole milk.
Regardless, it was delicious both with eggs for breakfast and with my ginger preserves! I plan to keep making this and to try out either a tart or cheesecake featuring this awesome fresh cheese sometime soon.
Have any of you ever made your own cheese? I’d love to hear your stories!
Happy Wednesday, brave friends!