Quark (sometimes called European style cottage cheese or quarg) represents a group of soft fresh cheese of varying moisture and fat contents. The procedure described below produces a relatively firm, granular curd structure. If a smooth textured product (such as Baker's cheese) is desired, the pH at the time of breaking the curd should be 4.5 to 4.4 and no cooking is required. The soft smooth curd must then be separated in cloth bags or by a centrifuge. In Europe the majority of Quark and Cream type cheese are produced using ultra filtration to concentrate skim milk protein either before or after ripening.
- Pasteurize the skim milk at 62C for 30 min.
- Cool the skim milk to 32C.
- Add a low temperature cheese starter (Streptococcus lactis or cremoris) at the rate of 5%. Let milk set for 4-6 h until a soft gel is formed. The pH should be about 4.8 and clear whey should appear when the curd is cut with a spatula. Alternatively 1% of culture may be used with a setting time of 12-18 hours.
- Stir gently to break up the curd and heat slowly to 52C. Initial heating rate should not exceed 0.5C in 5 min. Hold at 52C until the curd is firm (about 1.5 h from the time of breaking the curd).
- Drain most of the whey and replace it with 10C water to leach the acid flavour from the curd. Washing may be omitted if you prefer an acid cheese. It may be convenient to drain the curd in a cloth bag, in which case, it could be washed by soaking the whole bag in cold water for 15 min.
- Add cream or cream dressing to the curd according to taste. Suggestion: 4 - 8% using 18% homogenized cream.