Recipe for traditional quark that is a delicious spoonable cheese similar in texture to Greek yogurt, but milder in flavor similar to ricotta.
Heat the milk to 115°F/ 46°C in a medium sized pot on the stovetop. Do not exceed 117°F/ 47°C or the probiotics and enzymes will be lost.
Pour the warm milk into a glass bowl or large mason jar. Stir in the cultured buttermilk that is at room temperature. You can use it cold right out of the fridge, but this may inhibit the setting of the quark.
Cover the bowl or jar with a small, clean dishtowel.
Leave the glass container in a warm place for 12-24 hours. If your home is cool, placing the bowl on the warming zone on the stove set to low for a few hours (and then turned off) works very well. Do not use a cooking burner! Other ideas include placing the bowl in the oven with the pilot light on or a microwave or convection oven with the door closed and the light on. If your oven has a warming drawer, this is a good place to use as well.
Once the quark is slightly thickened and set, drain the whey by using one of three methods. Pour the quark into a bowl lined with a large flour sack cloth or doubled, fine mesh cheesecloth. Gather up the ends, tie with a large rubber band and hang from the knob of an upper cabinet. Keep the bowl underneath to catch the dripping whey. Alternatively, tie up the ends of the towel and fasten to the sink spigot or a large mixing spoon suspended on the sides of the bowl underneath.
Drain for two hours. If you drain too much whey and the quark is too thick, simply mix some back in until you achieve the consistency of Greek yogurt.
Refrigerate quark in a jar or bowl with a sealed lid. Enjoy alone with 1 Tbl fruit jam stirred into 8 ounces or blended into smoothies, dips or spreads. It is a wonderful change from yogurt and kefir!
If your quark has not set within 24 hours, leave it for an additional 12 hours. If it still has not set, the mixture likely was too cool for the culture to take. This has not happened to me, but I have a warm kitchen year round.
Wondering what to do with the leftover whey? Try making homemade gjetost cheese.