8 November 2007

Yoghurt and quark

Yoghurt and quark can be made from ingredients usually found in the fridge or stockpile cupboard. With the price of food seeming to rise every week, they're handy recipes as you'll be able to make yoghurt for snacks and desserts, and quark for sandwiches and crackers. Quark is an easy to make from scratch simple cheese that's popular in the Germanic countries, and maybe also in Scandinavia. I hope one of the readers will tell me if that's right. It's a cheese made from yoghurt that can be either sweet or savory.

Here is my way of making yoghurt from scratch. If you buy yoghurt for this, make sure it has no preservatives, colourings, flavourings or gelatin. Greek yoghurt tends to be thick and will make up a good quark. But if you want to make your own yoghurt, this is a recipe I've cut from earlier in my blog:

I made yoghurt today. It's easy, delicious and inexpensive, costing about half the price of supermarket yoghurt. You can make yoghurt with any kind of milk, low fat cow's or from goat or sheep milk. All your equipment should be clean and make sure you use clean tea towels. Adding milk powder to the milk will make a thicker yoghurt.

You can use ordinary bought yoghurt as a starter, but make sure it doesn't contain gelatin. Generally the organic and biodynamic yoghurts have no gelatin. You can buy specialist milk thermometers, but for some reason they have very small dials. I've got a candy thermometer with a bigger dial for my older eyes. You probably need to use a thermometer until you know what the temps feel like on your clean finger. After that, it's easy enough to judge by poking your clean finger in the mix.

makes one litre (quart)
4 cups milk - the milk can be made with milk powder
½ cup instant milk powder, more if you want thicker yoghurt
3 tablespoons plain yoghurt at room temperature

Pour 4 cups milk into saucepan and clip a thermometer to the side of the pan. You need to pasturise the milk again to make sure only the beneficial bacteria grow. Heat milk to 80 - 95 degrees C (176 - 203F) or until little bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Stir the milk while it's heating to stop it scorching.

When the temperature is reached, remove the milk from the stove. Stir in the powdered milk.

Leave the thermometer clipped to the pan and cool the milk to 40 - 50 degrees C (104 - 122F). To speed up the cooling process, you can transfer it to a cool bowl or put it in the fridge.

Add the starter. Place the plain yoghurt in a small bowl, stir in 1/3 cup of the warm milk and mix until smooth. Then stir the starter mixture into remaining milk and mix well.

Incubate the yoghurt in the crockpot (or in a warm place like an oven on low heat). Preheat the crockpot on low for about 15 minutes, until it feels very warm to the fingertips. Pour yoghurt mixture into the crockpot, cover the crockpot, and turn off the heat. At 35 to 45-minutes intervals, heat the crockpot on low for 10 to 15 minutes then turn off the heat. Be warned that if you overheat the yoghurt, it will turn into a solid blob. Don't ask me how I know that. ; )

The mix needs to incubate for 3-5 hours at a temperature of 43-45 degrees C (110 - 113F). Do not shake or disturb it during incubation. After 3 hours, check to see if the yoghurt is set by gently tilting the container. If yoghurt is set and firm, place it in the refrigerator and chill for 6 hours before serving. If not, continue to incubate. Check the yoghurt every hour and place in refrigerator as soon as it sets. The longer the yoghurt incubates the tarter the flavor will be.

If your yoghurt sets within 3 hours, but you'd prefer more tartness, continue the incubation process for another hour or so. Yoghurt making is only successful if you use fresh viable cultures, so check the use by date on
your yoghurt starter and make it as soon as you can after buying it. Once you've made your own yoghurt you can use it as your next starter.


When you have your yoghurt made and you want to make quark, you need a large jug, a strainer and a piece of clean cotton cloth. Wash the cloth with pure soap, rinse well and wring it out so it's not dripping wet. Place the strainer in the jug and the cloth over the strainer. Then add the yoghurt.

Cover the yoghurt with the cloth, so the mix is entirely covered.

Put a plate on top and and weigh the plate down with something fairly heavy. I have used a pot of jam. The process of making quark involves removing the water (whey) from the yoghurt. You do that by sitting the yoghurt in the strainer, in the fridge, weighed down so the whey can drain from the yoghurt into the jug.

To get a suitable dry quark, you'll need to allow it to drain for at least 24 hours, possibly 48 hours. When you think it's able to be molded into a cheese shape, remove the quark from the strainer, pack it into a mold and then turn it out onto a plate.

The quark below is an old photo of quark I made a few months ago. The savory quark was made by adding salt and pepper to taste to the finished quark and adding some chopped chives. You could also add chilli and chilli sauce over the top of the quark.

This sweet quark below was sweetened with a little honey and then I added a small amount of homemade strawberry jam to the top of the quark.


Instead of making quark with your yoghurt, you could make frozen yoghurt popsicles or dessert. Just freeze some fruit - berries, banana, apple with a squeeze of lemon juice added to stop browning. Make sure the yoghurt is cold after making it.


If you intend making popsicles, put the frozen fruit in the blender and whizz it up. Add about ½ cup fresh orange juice and the yoghurt mix, then whizz it again until the mix is thoroughly combined. Pour the mix into popsicle molds and freeze.

Frozen yoghurt dessert

You could also make a bowl of frozen yoghurt by adding frozen fruit to a blender and whizz to break up the fruit. Add about third cup of honey and the yoghurt mix, and whizz again. Pour into a bowl and freeze.



  1. I'll give it a try next time I feel adventurous ;)

  2. Thanks Rhonda. I'll try the quark.

  3. Hi Rhoda, I've never tried quark...is it like Cream Cheese?
    Very interesting post.
    Have a wonderful Day!

  4. I have always wondered what quark is. I have a couple friends in England and a dear friend that moved here from Germany and they all talk about it but they have always purchased quark. I'm going to have to take a shot at this. Thank you for sharing the recipe

  5. Rhonda,

    Is quark the same as cream cheese in the U.S.? That is the way we eat it but it is not called quark:)

    Have you been sewing anything new lately? How are your curtains coming along?



  6. Good morning ladies. I'm pleased some of you will try this. It's a lovely fresh cheese. If you buy quark, it's quite expensive so making it at home gives you a good cheese for a fraction of the supermarket price.

    When you make your quark, flavour it with the flavours you like. That could be any of the culinary herbs, fruit, vegetables like chilli or peppers, garlic, shallots or chives, or just some salt and pepper, or honey for a sweet quark.

    Suzen, quark is a soft fresh unripe cheese. And yes Niki, it's similar to cream cheese with a tarter taste.

  7. hello renee, it's not quite the same as cream cheese, but similar. I'm making two aprons for the swap and am starting on some light quilts.

    The kitchen curtains are almost finished. I hope to get them done this week. We have the builders coming soon to fix the kitchen so I might wait until they've been here to hang them.

  8. This is great, Rhonda - I've made yogurt cheese (quark) at home from plain store-bought yogurt. I also found a great ranch-type salad dressing using plain yogurt. So, I've been talking to myself, working up to trying to make my own.

    I have done - way back in the 70s, when my girls were young & I was a stay-at-home earth mother (g) Now that I've got the sourdough experiment under control, making my own yogurt seems like the next natural step!

    Thanks AGAIN for the inspiration - and great instructions!!

    p.s. after yesterday blog entry, I went home & fished two jar tops out of the trash: a plastic one that will fit on canning jars & a wire-hinged one (plus the whole wire hinge contraption) from a glass jar that turned up broken in the back of my jar cupboard. After your great jar pantry entry, I moved my stash to a more accessible cupboard! I LUV your blog!!

  9. Might also have to try the quark - I make my own yoghurt too but use my easiyo container and a mixture of UHT milk, powered milk and a yoghurt starter. Details are on my blog if anyone is interested - I find it easier as I don't have to heat the milk - and since I had the easiyo thermos it was a case of using what I had. :)
    Thanks for the great recipes! Here's the link for anyone who is interested:


  10. Hi Carla, can you share you ranch type dressing with us? I'd like to try it and maybe some of the other readers would as well. Thanks love.

    Sharon, for some reason your last comment went to the previous post, so I've brought it over here:

    Anonymous said...
    Many years ago in the late 70's I was teaching at a university and had many students from Iran. When the shah fell from power my husband and I ended up with several of the girls at our. They made home made yogurt and added chopped cucumber, salt and pepper to it . We often ate it poured over rice and it was so good! Sharon

  11. Hi Lisa, your comment made me realise I left a bit of info out. If you're making yoghurt from UHL milk, you can skip the step where you lightly boil the milk. UHL milk is pre-sterilised. I'll check out your recipe later. Thanks love.

  12. Rhonda or anyone else reading this - could you use quark to make something like a cheesecake? - in place of ricotta cheese perhaps?

  13. Hi Rhonda Jean :) What an interesting post! I have never tried to make either, but am looking forward to trying - particularly the quark. And my sweeties will adore the frozen yogurt popsicles. Thanks so much! Love, Q

  14. Hi Lisa, though I've never used quark in a cheesecake, I know my German mother-in-law did. I think you could replace it weight for weight with the ricotta.

  15. Thank you for this post Rhonda Jean! When I was a little girl in Germany, my grandmother used to add a little liquid, maybe milk??? or more yogurt???, and whip it with honey and mashed bananas. Such a treat! I've craved quark for so long!

  16. What Rhonda describes is more correctly called labneh--the yoghurt cheese of the Middle East and South Asia.

    Qvark uses a Lactococcus culture whereas labneh (and many yoghurts) use starters that contain Lactobacillus and Streptococcus bacteria.

    Sorry for being a know-it-all. ;-)

  17. Finally a yogurt recipe that was simple and easy to follow,,,I just made a batch using your directions and it work wonderfully,,,thanks so much for the info,,,if by chance do you have suggestions about the best way to go about adding flavor (ie chocolate or vanilla) or fruits to yogurt,,,for adding fruit should I maybe make a thicker yogurt,,,also about how long can the yogurt be kepted (not that it will last more than 3-4 days in my house

  18. Dear Beth,
    You can add sugar or vanilla or fruit syrups or jams. Natural fruit are better to add when yoghurt is done. Although I heard pinapple is fine, Avoid adding sour fruit like raspberry, strawberry ets., it will spoil the taste.

    Yoghurt can be kept for 10 days, although in my fridge it never survived that long, you anderstand why :))

  19. Do you still read comments on very old posts? I hope so.

    I just made some of your quark for the second time from my own homemade yoghurt (made from skim milk the way you did one post). The consistency is great, but it's got a very sharp tangy taste. Will that decrease over time? Ideally I'd like it to be a mild soft cheese, more like cream cheese in flavour.

  20. I have so enjoyed reading your blog! Empty nesters after raising and homeschooling our sons and caring for a mil with alzheimers. Just now getting to health and time to reorganize the home simply to have time to enjoy the embroidery gardening cooking and sewing and crafts that I tried so hard to squeeze in all these years.
    RE: Qvark...I enjoyed this so much in Germany with my Grandfather. A cultured soft ripened cheese that we enjoyed with "Rote Rueben Syrup" Red beet syrup... finally found some here in Idaho, and enjoy it with Molasses on toast. Must try my hand at making it. Thanks


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