One of the most common questions I get is what to do with Quark. Most recipes using Quark are in German and when German cookbooks are translated into English, the publishers tend to substitute other products for Quark. Any traditional recipes come from customers who kindly share with me. If you have a favorite that you would like to share, I would love it!
I mainly use Quark in recipes as a substitute for other soft cheeses. Here is a rundown of when I would use Quark in a recipe, why I would substitute it for another cheese, and in what situations I would not substitute it.
Though sour cream is not a cheese, it’s probably the one I most often substitute. The consistency and moisture content is the closest to Quark.
When: I substitute Quark for sour cream in baking, dips, spreads, and sauces.
Why: Quark gives the baked goods a richer flavor and adds more moisture than sour cream. I can also save calories by using Fat Free Quark. (see fat free comparisons below). For sauces, dips, and spreads, Quark adds a full-bodied, tangy flavor.
When I would not: Milder flavored dishes such as potatoes. Quark has a much stronger flavor that can overpower some dishes.
Example: Raspberry Quark Muffins
When: I substitute Quark for cream cheese in baking, dips, and spreads.
Why: Quark is higher in moisture so this makes a cheesecake lighter and fluffier, and pastry fillings smoother.
When I would not: Cream cheese cookies. The higher moisture can make some baked goods soggy.
Example: Cocoa Cheesecake
When: Mascarpone is rich and delicious but I rarely use it because of the fat content.
Why: Mascarpone is 47 percent fat.
When I would not: Mascarpone is luscious and rich and cannot really be replaced. I have tried making Tiramisu with Quark, but it just isn’t the same flavor and it made a soggy mess.
When: Lasagna and pasta fillings, baking, and cheese pies.
Why: I find that Quark has a smoother texture and brighter flavor than ricotta in ravioli and lasagna. I also prefer Quark in baking over ricotta because of the moisture and texture.
When I would not: Actually, I always use Quark, it works so much better than ricotta in fillings and baking. Keep in mind, Quark is higher in moisture so a thickener is sometimes needed.
Example: I guess that I need to share my ravioli and lasagna recipes!
What I love most in substituting Quark for other ingredients is that it is a healthy alternative to other dairy products. We make Lowfat and Fat Free Quark by taking the fat out of the milk but not adding any stabilizers or ingredients that I can’t pronounce. That sounds like common sense, but see below for a comparison of ingredients between Fat Free Quark and other fat free dairy products.
Fat Free Quark
Pasteurized nonfat milk, culture, rennet, potassium sorbate
Fat Free Cream Cheese
Skim Milk, Whey, Contains Less than 2% of Sodium Tripolyphosphate (Ingredient Not in Regular Cream Cheese), Sugar (Ingredient Not in Regular Cream Cheese), Pasteurized Milk and Cream (Trivial Source of Fat), Salt, Artificial Color, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate (Ingredient Not in Regular Cream Cheese), and Calcium Propionate (Ingredient Not in Regular Cream Cheese) as Preservatives, Carrageenan, Cheese Culture, Sodium Phosphate (Ingredient Not in Regular Cream Cheese), Artificial Flavor, Carob Bean Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate.
Fat Free Sour Cream
Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Nonfat Dry Milk, Cultured Milk*, Whey Protein Concentrate, Modified Food Starch, Maltodextin, Artificial Color*, Potassium Sorbate (as preservative), Sodium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Carob Bean Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate**, *adds a trivial amount of fat, **not found in regular sour cream.
Fat Free Ricotta
Whey (Adds Trivial Amount of Fat), Skim Milk, Vinegar, Xanthan Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum (Stabilizers).
Fat Free Mascarpone