27 April 2009

Making yoghurt (yogurt) and quark

I hope you had a lovely weekend. We are a home of four adults again. Shane and Sarndra asked if they can stay here till they get jobs and naturally we said yes. We all did our own thing during the day, each working on our projects, then Shane cooked us a delicious chick pea and vegetable stew last night for dinner. It's a real treat having someone prepare the evening meal, especially one of my sons.

I did some cooking - yoghurt, quark and tomato relish, and as Colleen asked for the quark recipe, I'm happy to share that with you again. Lucky I took photos, Colleen. ; - ) There are a few ways you can make quark, this is how I do it.

First, make the yoghurt. I made this last week. I bought a container of natural organic 'Barambah' yoghurt, the 'use by' date was one month away so I knew it was fresh. Make sure you use natural yoghurt, not vanilla or any other flavour, or anything with gelatin in it. To make yoghurt, I used a litre (quart) of full cream, non-homogensied local milk. This milk is pasturised.

  • Warm 1 litre (quart) of milk to 80C (180F) and remove from heat. Allow the milk to cool to 45C (110F). This is an important step that kills any bacteria present. You want bacteria to grow, but only the good stuff, this process pasturises the milk again.
  • When the milk has cooled to the right temperature, add half cup of yoghurt. Don't add the yoghurt before it has cooled or you will kill the beneficial bacteria.
  • Stir until the yoghurt has dissolved in the milk.
  • Set in an open wide casserole dish and place in a preheated oven. You want the temperature in the over to be no more than 45 - 50C (115 - 122F). Preheat the oven, then turn it off.
  • The yoghurt mix needs to stay warm for about 12 - 18 hours.
I make this in the early morning so I can monitor it during the day. When the oven temperature goes down, heat it up again, making sure it doesn't get too hot or too cold. If you over heat the yoghurt, you'll kill the beneficial bacteria. Leave the dish of yoghurt mix sit in the warm oven all day but don't stir it, just let it sit. At the end of the day, test it to see if it's thickened. If it has, you've made yoghurt. If it hasn't, reheat the oven and leave it longer. If you need to leave it in the oven overnight, that's fine but if you've used a good quality, fresh, natural yoghurt it will usually set in 12 hours.


You need to drain as much whey from the yoghurt as possible.
  • Take a large jug, that you can fit a strainer in. You'll need cheesecloth, if you don't have any, use open weave cotton. I used handkerchief cotton that I bought from Spotlight. Line the strainer with the cotton and pour the set yoghurt into the strainer.

  • Fold in the cotton over the top of the yoghurt and place a small plate on top. Then a tin of something to weigh the plate down.

  • Put the jug in the fridge so the whey can drain while the yoghurt stays cold.
  • This will take between 1 - 2 days.
  • Save the whey for a million other things, don't throw it away. You can see half the whey I collected in the jar above.

  • I divide the quark in two and make one sweet cheese and one savory. On the weekend I added a tablespoon of honey to one half the quark and stirred it in thoroughly. You could also use jam.
  • To make the savory quark, I added a sprinkling of chilli flakes, salt and pepper and sprinkled paprika on top. You could also add either tomato relish, finely chopped cucumber or herbs.

Place the quarks into bowls and store in the fridge. They will keep for at least a month but here they only last a week, if that.

The whey that drains from the quark contains live lactobacillus acidophilus which is very good for you and can be used in a variety of ways. It can be added to sauerkraut, relish, salsa or pickles. I also use whey in cakes and scones. The bacteria is killed during baking but the taste still comes through.

I hope you try this. It's an easy way to produce yoghurt and simple cheese.

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