Milk to yoghurt to cheese

21 October 2009
Yesterday we had a 500gram/16oz tub of yoghurt that cost $3.50 and turned it into two litres/quarts of yoghurt that cost about $4. One litre/quart of that was eaten as yoghurt - with one cup reserved to make the next batch, the other litre/quart was made into quark cheese. Quark is a simple fresh cheese that doesn't require any special equipment and will be ready for eating as soon a you finish making it.

Above is quark made on the weekend. I added finely chopped cucumbers that had been salted and allowed to drain for an hour, pepper and topped it with a sprinkling of paprika.

This is an extract from a post I wrote a long time about about making quark.

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 moulded into a cheese shape, remove the quark from the strainer, pack it into a mould 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 or 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.

Whey is a by-product of quark. It is the fluid part of the yoghurt that is full of live lactobacillus acidophilus and is very good for you. You can use whey in a number of ways, don't throw it away. (<- Nice sentence there.) Whey makes a nice drink, you can drink it as is or when it is cold. It could also be added to smoothies. It is an excellent replacement for milk in any baking you might be doing. Whey will give you a great result in cakes, scones or biscuits. It can be added to sauerkraut, relish or pickles to add live culture to those foods.

This is the amount of whey I got from one litre/quart of yoghurt.

You can also use it to make ricotta. You need an awful lot of whey to make ricotta. It takes the whey from 5 gallons of milk to make 1 kilo/2 pounds of ricotta, so I use the small amount of whey I usually have in another way. BTW, if you want to make ricotta and you have such a quantity of whey, go here to find out how to do it.

1 litre/quart milk - can be fresh cow's, powdered, UHT or goat's milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice or cider vinegar

If you want to use the ricotta for a dessert, you may like to add one cup of cream for a creamier ricotta.

The finished ricotta.

Place all ingredients in a heavy bottom saucepan and heat up to simmering point. Don't boil it and don't allow it to burn. Stir to prevent scalding the milk. Soon after you add the acid (lemon/vinegar) you will notice the curds separate from the whey.

When you notice small bubbles form it's hot enough. Turn off the heat and let it sit in the saucepan for 30 minutes.

Prepare a strainer with an open weave cotton cloth in it, in the same way you did when making quark. Place the strainer over a large jug with the cloth in the strainer. Take a slotted spoon and add the curds to the strainer and allow the whey to drain into the jug. This will take a few hours for a dry ricotta and maybe one hour for a smooth creamy ricotta suitable for dessert. When it's drained enough, wind the top of the cloth around so you can give it one last squeeze, then the ricotta is ready for use. I used mine in lasagna. It freezes well so you could wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it or store in the fridge for a day or two. It won't keep longer than that in the freezer.

The leftover whey doesn't contain much protein now, but you could still use it in baking. I give it to the chooks as an extra treat - we soak old bread in the whey and the chooks love it.

I hope you try these cheeses. They will be a healthy addition to your kitchen and another way you can be a self reliant cook. Don't forget that you can use any milk from fresh raw milk to UHT milk. Often that decision is made for you because you have to use the cheapest option. The raw milk will be live and the UHT will be sterile but you will still get good cheese no matter what you use.


  1. ohh, that looks so easy, thanks! could you use skim milk?

  2. Oh are a genius!! Reading your daily entry is one the high points of my day that I look forwad to. I cannot wait to try this out.

  3. I can not begin to tell you how much I learn from you Rhonda, your a blessing to read. I have a litre of plain yogurt in the fridge and I am now going to quark it.. I might save the whey and when I have enough try the ricotta, presuming whey keeps a wee while. I have heard the when instead or or in addition to home made bread helps improve the protein of the flour..

  4. Hi Rhonda,

    Thanks for that. I made fresh cheese using yogurt and your tutorial the other week and kept the whey but everytime i went to make my brad i forgot to add the whey. A week went by and I still had the whey in the fridge but I was afraid it had gone off so I threw it out. How long does whey last before you should use it? Thanks, Meagan. PS> I also love your new glasses.

  5. Dear Rhonda,
    Just a thank you for inspiring me to try making yoghurt. At the moment I am enjoying it for lunch. Would have never attempted it until I read your notes delicious. I followed your recipe but added some natural greek yoghurt. its yummy!
    Thank you for caring and sharing
    Many blessings

  6. I made this last week (it got left in the fridge for about 4 days, as I got busy doing other things!!!), and it turned out great! Even more surprisingly, my kids LOVED it - unflavoured!!! I make yoghurt, so am looking forward to making the quark from the yoghurt and experimenting with flavourings.

  7. Wow, that looks so easy, I will have to try it tomorrow. I'll let you know how it turns out!

  8. Rhonda I adore the bowl you have the paprika topped Quark in its just gorgeous!

  9. I didn't realise quark was the same as labneh. I make this often and use it as a spread in place of butter.

    I'd like to try making ricotta someday.

  10. I have been wanting to make yogurt and tada you write a post on it. Your posts are always so timely. Thanks.

    I have a couple of questions...

    In the end of your post it says something like 'It won't last longer than that in the freezer". I'm assuming that you meant 'will'? I'm not sure though b/c I haven't put any dairy products in the freezer except ice cream ;) So I wanted to check to see? Also what is UHT?

    Sorry for the rambling, I'm super foggy, so I may have just not read this right.


  11. I usually sweeten the yogurt cheese (same as quark?) with either honey or fruit and use as a dip. I've also seasoned it with herbs and thinned with milk to use as a dressing for potato salad. I normally use the whey for soaking grains. But next time I'll have to give the ricotta a try.

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. darn it, now i'm missing my goat's milk...i just dried them off last week. no more yoghurt, quark or mozzarella for 4 more months. :(

    i never tried making sour cream...i'll have to file your recipe and give it a try come spring.

    whey also makes a great feed for chickens if you've got 'way' too much. :D i'll pour it in their laying mash to give them a treat.

  13. What an excellent cheese-making tutorial!

  14. great post. I want to start making cheese. Thanks for all the great info.


  15. Wow! I've just heard about quark and I'm going to try making it! Thank-You for your simple instructions. I am definitely trying this out. I love trying to make different foods from scratch one recipe at a time. Cheers!

  16. Thanks for all of the great cheese recipes Rhonda... Just one question, how much whey do you use for the Ricotta???
    I've just made up some quark using your recipe and 1 litre of natural yoghurt, will I put all of the whey I have left from that in with the 1 litre of milk to make the Ricotta or is that too much???

    Take Care
    Jodie :)

  17. Jodie, you don't have to use any whey, but if you want to use it up, put all you have in there with the milk.

  18. Thanks for that Rhonda... What does the whey actually do when added to the Ricotta as opposed to not adding it at all???

    Take Care
    Jodie :)


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