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Quark Cheese

Overview

Quark (or quarg) is a fresh unripened cheese prepared in a fashion similar to cottage cheese. As with other fresh cheeses, the first step in the creation of quark is pasteurization of the milk. Fresh cheeses are consumed without aging and so milk used must be pasteurized to ensure the safety of the cheese. Once the cheesemilk is prepared, starter culture is added to generate lactic acid from lactose. Acidification occurs until the pH is lowered to 4.6, which causes precipitation of the casein proteins. A very small amount of rennet is included with the cheesemilk and it functions to make the curd firmer. Unlike cottage cheese, the quark coagulum is not cut or cooked. The curd is simply broken by agitation and whey is removed by bag drainage or by centrifugal force in a mechanical curd concentrator. The product may then be salted. The resulting texture of the quark cheese is very smooth, unlike cottage cheese, which consists of distinct curds. Quark cheese is used as an ingredient to add sensory appeal, mild flavour, and nutritional value to foods. Quark is a fresh cheese with a smooth texture, a mild, slightly sour flavour and a white colour. Quark cheese can be prepared from skim milk, partially skim milk or whole milk. When the Quark cheese is made with fat, the fat contributes to the flavour and smoothness of the cheese. Quark cheese has a fairly short shelf life due to its relatively high moisture content. Since the curd is not washed (as in cottage cheese manufacture), quark cheese has a relatively high lactose content.



Composition 

Typical composition of
skim milk quark cheese
  

Moisture 

 82 %

Protein 

 12 %

Fat 

 0,2 %

Carbohydrate 

 3 %

Ash 

 1 %


Cheese is of high nutritional value due to its high concentration of proteins. Casein contains various levels of all the essential amino acids although it is relatively low in sulfur containing amino acids. As a result the protein quality of cheese is slightly less than that of milk, which retains the sulfur rich whey proteins. In terms of microbiological standards, all cheeses made from pasteurized milk must contain fewer than 100 Escherichia coli per gram and fewer than 100 Staphylococcus aureus per gram. 


Application Based on End Use

The mild flavour and smooth texture of quark make it excellent as a topping or filling for a variety of dishes.    

  • Quark cheese can often be substituted in place of sour cream, cottage cheese or ricotta cheese.  
  • Quark cheese can be blended with seasonings and used as a topping. For example, it may be blended with chives and used to top potatoes. The creamy texture of the quark cheese gives it the desired mouthfeel and viscosity for this application. The mild flavour and flavour carrying properties of the cheese are also important.  
  • Similarly, quark cheese can be blended with seasonings and used as a dip. Again the texture and flavour/flavour carrying ability are the important factors.  
  • Quark can be used as the filling in a variety of pasta dishes. The lightness of the cheese provides a pleasant texture and the mild flavour of the cheese compliments the flavour of the pasta sauce. As well, the white colour of the quark as a pasta filling or as a layer in lasagna is an attractive contrast to dark pasta sauces.  
  • Quark cheese can be blended into a sauce or dressing to provide viscosity. Quark can be mixed with fruit. The mild flavour of the cheese compliments the sweetness of the fruit. The light, creamy texture of the cheese is also important.  
  • Quark cheese can be baked into products such as cakes or brownies. The high moisture content of the quark helps to keep the product moist. The cheese also contributes to the browning when the product is baked.  
  • Quark cheese can be used as a cheesecake filling. The creaminess of the quark makes it suitable for this application and it can be used to replace cream cheese to provide a lower fat level and a lighter texture.    


Functional Properties 

  • Quark cheese has a mild, slightly sour flavour that compliments many other ingredients.  
  • Quark cheese can serve as a flavour carrier.  
  • Quark cheese has a relatively light, soft texture. This texture is good on its own, for example as a pasta filling, or quark can be used in place of other cheeses to give a lighter texture, for example as a replacement for cream cheese in cheesecake.  
  • Quark cheese has a smooth texture and can be used to add viscosity to a variety of products.  
  • Quark cheese has a high moisture content. Incorporating quark into baked goods will help keep the product moist.  

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