First of all, the name is pretty special don’t you think? The first time someone hears the name always gets a pretty good facial expression. Quark is mostly compared to cream cheese or sour cream, and makes a great substitute for either. This soft white cheese can also be compared to/substituted for ricotta and mascarpone. There are certain things to do when using Quark as a substitute, but overall it can be a great tasting, high protein, low fat alternative!
Quark is a German cheese classified as “fresh acid-set”. What that means, is the milk is heated, a coagulant (like an acid) is added, and it sets up overnight before it is packaged. I would describe the flavor most like a sour cream, but with a stronger, tangier aftertaste.
Cream cheese is made in a similar process as Quark in that it’s heated and a coagulant is added. Mascarpone is also made similarly, but it’s basically one step away from butter. SO rich! It’s richness is perfect in desserts such as tiramisu!
Sour cream however, is made by fermenting (heating) cream or milk, and adding a specific bacteria (in place of an acid) to thicken.
Ricotta is a little more fun because it’s a “whey cheese”. The whey is the byproduct of other cheeses such as Mozzarella. Ricotta is made by heating whey to a high temperature and adding an acid to create curd! It has a little more of a grainy, almost fluffy texture when eaten plain, but for the most part it’s a cooking cheese. The plain, very mild flavor blends well when baked into things like a cheesy lasagna!
Each of these cheeses have their own unique flavors and textures, but all are great! Check in on Thursday to see exactly how to use Quark as a substitute for any of these cheeses!