We’ve noticed a bit of buzz about quark in the food media recently - it seems we might be trending! Good Food even tipped it as the “next hot-protein health food” the other week. While quark has been a mainstay in the Central European diet for hundreds of years, it is a relatively new product in Australia. But here at Schulz Organic Farms, we’ve been making quark since Hermann’s days, so we’re a little ahead of the curve!
We often get questions about this product so we thought we’d take the opportunity to answer some of them here.
What is quark?
We’re not speaking about the subatomic particle that goes by the same name here! Quark is a German-style fresh cheese with a similar texture to fromage frais or mascarpone. As it contains the cultures of a yogurt, our quark has a mild tartness that lends itself well to both sweet and savoury dishes. Thicker than a yogurt but not quite as thick as cottage cheese, quark has a smooth, spoonable or spreadable consistency.
What makes Schulz quark different?
We've been making our quark the by hand in small 300L batches for three generations. Schulz Organic Farms Quark is made with only certified organic milk (from our happy cows here in Timboon, ofcourse) to which we add ABC cultures and microbial rennet. We add both yogurt and cheese cultures to the fresh milk, and after a period of inoculation (enough time to allow the good bacteria to multiply) we add rennet in to set the curd. We then cut the cheese into 15mm cubes and press it to extract the whey for use in some of our other products. From here we hoop the curd into a suspended muslin cloth inside a vat to further drain more whey from the curd. This takes around 12 hours before it reaches the right consistency for packaging.
How do I use quark?
The possibilities for quark are endless. Where a recipe calls for cottage cheese, mascarpone, crème fraiche, cream cheese, sour cream or even thick yogurt we suggest you try our quark instead. Use in dips, curries and pasta dishes or simply smear onto toast and top with jam or smoked salmon and dill. If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, quark is a suitable candidate for use in baking. It’s much fresher than sour cream and gives a lovely texture to cakes.
Why haven’t I heard of quark before now?
Though you may have noticed quark popping up more frequently recently, it has actually been a popular product in Central Europe for hundreds of years. It's usage in the German language dates back to the 14th century. It is possible that when the Roman historian Tacitus described the “thick milk” eaten by German people he was actually referring to quark! We like to think we’ve helped increase the popularity of this unique cheese.
Why should I be eating quark?
Hermann used to always rant on about quark being the most versatile cheese in the world. Quite aside from its versatility, Quark tends to be higher in protein and calcium than cream cheese and contains less sugar than yogurt. Healthy, versatile and delicious!