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Sunday, June 30, 2013

How to make German "Quark" (curd)

Now this is for all those Germans scattered over the world, who, like me, miss some German food (yes, there is good German food!) and for everybody else who loves this delicious dairy product.
I only live 700 km from Germany, still in Europe, but real curd is just not available over here. My parents bring lots of it when they come to see me, but I finally decided to try making it myself. I found several recipes in the internet, but as some list ingredients I cannot get here in Italy just as I can't get curd, I finally settled on trying two ways: for the first you only need fresh milk, for the second fresh milk and the juice of 1 lemon.

From what I understand curd is the solid matter that remains when you sift sour milk. The lemon simply helps to make the milk turn sour faster.

Now here's the setup:

I will put the fresh milk into the blue bowl and fresh milk with freshly squeezed lemon juice into the white bowl.

So I started waiting, checking on my two bowls every now and then and after about 38 hours the milk with the freshly squeezed lemon in it was sour (I prepared the bowls friday night and the milk turned sour between saturday evening and sunday morning) with the proteins nicely clotted while the pure milk was just starting get sour and was still very liquid.

To separate the Quark / curd from the remaining liquid (Molke / whey) prepare a bowl and a sifter.

Place a thin kitchen towl over the sifter and pour the sour milk into the sifter.

You can see the texture of the mass above while below the pure milk form the blue bowl is still very liquid.

I put the still liquid milk back in the blue bowl and left the milk with lemon juice from the white bowl in the sifter. It takes some time while the whey slowly drops into the bowl below.

While the curd gets thicker.

From 1 liter of fresh whole milk I got 0.7l of whey and about 300g of Quark / curd:

The texture is slightly chunky, a bit like cottage cheese but with really small chunks. The taste is fine, creamy and just as it is supposed to be. I tried it with lavender sugar and cherries and, my favourite, with banana and chocolate chips. It was perfect and it didn't taste like lemon at all so using lemon juice to speed up the process seems fine.

In the evening the second bowl had gone sour, too, so I put the mass in a sifter until it was of a nice texture. Unfortunately it tasted just like what it was: milk gone bad. I had to throw it out.

This is what it looked like:

From my little experiment it seems, that initiating the process of milk getting sour by adding some lemon works fine. It makes the protein clot without it actually going bad. The simple milk acutally gone bad produced a curd that had that slightly bad taste and was not really edible.

So in a nutshell, the version with fresh milk and lemon worked perfectly, and from the experience I described above I suggest you try that approach. It's just 3 little steps:

1) Place milk in a bowl with some freshly squeezed lemon juice and wait until the protein clots
2) Sift the mass to separate the curd from the whey
3) Enjoy

 Did you try this recipe? Let me know what you think, did you like it? Do you have any questions or suggestions? Let me know, leave a comment or send me an email using the contact form below or using my contact details.