Kefir Cheese and Quark

Now that we have some kefir grains, we decided it was time to follow the recommendations of some of our readers and try making kefir cheese.

Iowerth wrote:

Make your kefir cheese much as you would make yogurt cheese:

First make your kefir. Then, strain out the grains, and place the kefir in a porous container such as a cloth bag or a large paper coffee filter (as we did, supporting it with an old coffee filter holder) so that the whey can be collected as it drips out.

Cover and place your kefir in the fridge and in about day, after which the whey should have all dripped out, you have kefir cheese. Add some salt and herbs (to taste) to your cheese and enjoy.

This sounded simple enough to us. . . and so it was. The kefir cheese was delicious mixed with a bit of sea salt and some herbs from the garden. We enjoyed it on top of pieces of sourdough toast.

Kefir cheese on sourdough toast

I’ve also been making another tasty treat using kefir cheese. I found a recipe for “Cheese Pucks” in the Summer 2006 edition of “Wise Traditions” — a publication put out by the Weston A. Price Foundation. The ingredient list looks a bit unlikely, and the name “cheese pucks” made me wonder if the results would be tooth-breakingly hard. I nearly didn’t try this recipe, but I’m very glad I did! The resulting “cheese pucks” are rich, cheesy and somewhat chewy in consistency. If you want to try the recipe, please note that I find I need to add extra arrowroot powder to get the dough into a suitable consistency to roll. Of course, that might be because I substitute kefir cheese for the cream cheese called for in the recipe! I also think that the recipe tastes extra good with a few chives or sprigs of fresh dill snipped into the mixture. The recipe is gluten free, but if you don’t do well on cooked dairy, or don’t want to destroy the live properties of the kefir by cooking it, then it’s probably not for you.

A couple of days ago, we also had our first attempt at making quark. Our neighbours along the road, and some Farmlet readers, have been telling us how easy it is to make. . . and how delicious!

Anita wrote:

I usually let two liters of raw milk stand in a stainless steel pot, lid slightly ajar, for two to three days at room temperature. When the natural souring process is complete, I skim the fresh soured cream off the top, which keeps well in the fridge, but usually gets used quickly in salad dressings, soups and sauces. The skimmed cheese gets poured in a cheesecloth lined bowl and hung for two hours or longer, depending on how wet or dry I want the cheese. Some of the whey gets used for fermenting veggies (our favorites are ginger carrots), some for pre-soaking beans and grains, but the bulk goes to the chickens who love it. The fresh cheese (we call it Quark in German) can be used in a variety of ways, but our absolute favorite is as a dessert. I use a puree stick to blend the cheese smooth and add raw honey, linseed oil and raw milk to get a creamy dessert that is just delicious with fresh or frozen berries.

Kevin and I have been wanting to try making quark for a while! A few days ago we had a couple of extra litres of raw milk, so we decided to give it a go. Mysteriously, we have ended up not with quark and whey, but with several litres of yoghurt. Somehow that milk must have become innoculated with yoghurt culture, though we have no idea how! The milk was handled carefully and soured in a clean stainless steel pot. Our neighbour laughed in disbelief when I confessed that our first quark effort had produced yoghurt. She says she’s never met with such an outcome in all her years of making quark. We will have to try making quark again soon. In the mean time, we have a large additional batch of yoghurt to enjoy. Not a bad consolation prize, though we were really looking forward to trying the quark! I’m about to start a big batch of yoghurt dough, in anticipation of making empanadas in the next day or so.

27 Responses to “Kefir Cheese and Quark”

  1. limukala says:

    Maybe you should try making the quark outside somewhere, or at least as far as possible from wherever you make yoghurt, since the bacteria are capable of airborne travel, and are probably well established in your kitchen by now (sort of like how you can make miso without starter if you have been doing it in the same place long enough).

  2. Rebecca says:

    Hi Limukala,
    Yes, our kitchen is no doubt full of yoghurt bacteria. Trying to make the quark somewhere else sounds like a good idea. We’ll have to do that next time.

  3. Sandra says:

    Hi Rebecca,

    I enjoyed reading about life on your farmlet and I have some questions. Were you successful in making quark eventually? Is it possible to make quark from goats milk? And finally, are you aware that privet is poisonous for goats? I am refering to one of your photos which shows a goat reaching for some privet leaves.

    I am living on a farmlet in Central Hawkes Bay. We have a male goat who keeps the grass verges trimmed, we also have some ducks and chickens. We are busy planting an organic vege garden at present. Are you farming organically?

    Bye for now,


  4. Rebecca says:

    Hi Sandra,

    Actually, we haven’t tried to make quark again, though there’s no reason why we couldn’t now that we are milking Coco. I guess we are just too contented with our other yummy milk treats (Caspian Sea yoghurt and kefir). Good question about the goat milk quark. I don’t know the answer to that, but I’m sure I’ll be wondering about it once we eventually start milking our goats.

    Yes, I’ve heard about goats and privet. I actually remarked about this in the comment thread for a post called “Goat Fence: Project Complete” that I wrote back on May 15th. In case you are interested in having a look, here’s the link:
    or you can find the post by going to the Farmlet home page and scrolling down until you get to the “goats” category. We are still trying to learn more about the goat/privet business, and would certainly be interested in any information/experiences that you have to share.

    Nice to hear about your place in the Central Hawkes Bay. We’d love to get some ducks and chickens here as well. That’s still a big feature on our “to do” list! Yes, we are farming organically, though we are not certified organic or anything like that.

    Good luck with your garden and animals, and thanks for your interest in the website.


  5. Debbie Walsh says:

    Hi there,
    I am trying to source uncreamed cottage cheese (or dry curd cottage cheese). My son is lactose intolerant and it has less than 1% lactose in it. Do you produce anything like this?

    Kind Regards,

  6. Rebecca says:

    Hi Debbie,
    I have kefir grains and a Caspian Sea yoghurt culture, but don’t make cottage cheese. Sorry we can’t help you with this.
    Did you know that some lactose intolerant people can drink raw milk, because it still contains lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose)? Pasteurisation kills the lactase. Kevin is actually lactose intolerant, and he’s fine with raw milk, though I believe it doesn’t work like that for everyone. Maybe you already know this, but I thought I’d mention it just in case!
    All the best to you and your son.

  7. Robin says:

    Yoghurt culture. Rebecca. Do you have yoghurt culture to share? Would it be possible to pick some up or have it sent by courier at my expense?

  8. Bella says:

    Hi Rebecca,

    Have had a great read of your site and Kevin’s Cryptogon also. A relative of mine is about to buy a Jersey cow and I am interested in making quark and would appreciate if you have a recipe you wouldn’t mind sharing with me.

    Many thanks & regards

  9. Heidi says:

    That’s all good, but where can I buy Quark. New World and Fresh Choice don’t sell this any more.
    I would love to know a place where I could order Quark.
    Thank you

  10. Shona says:

    I am looking forward to the answer to Heidi’s question – I would also like to know where to buy quark now that New World no longer stocks it.
    Thanking you

  11. Rebecca says:

    Hi Shona and Heidi,
    The Northland cheese makers, “Mahoe Cheese Factory,” make quark sometimes. They are based near Kerikeri. I’m not sure if retailers in other parts of the country stock this particular product of theirs, or if they can ship it to customers, but you could try contacting them about it. The phone number for their farm shop is: (09) 405-9681.
    Good luck with your search!

  12. Rebecca says:

    Hi Bella,
    The only recipe I have for quark is the advice from Anita that is actually quoted in the post. Sorry I can’t help you any further with that. I hope you’ll soon be enjoying lots of lovely creamy milk from that Jersey cow.
    Best wishes,

  13. ruth says:

    hi to all of you looking for a supplier of quark. im not sure where in nz you are, but in wellington and of course the hawkes bay, hohepa
    makes amazing quark.
    and commonsense organics stocks it, as well as their yoghurt! i hope this can be of help to anyone who cant get their hands on raw milk.

  14. Josh says:

    Quark is very easy to make (I just made my first batch about a week ago). You take a quart of buttermilk and put it in a large enough glass container (like a Pyrex pitcher or something similar) then place it in the oven at the lowest temp (my oven only goes down to 170 degrees F) overnight. In the morning, the cheese will have separated from the whey and you strain it through cheesecloth. Super easy and very tasty!

  15. Sandra says:

    Any one has kefir grains to share with me in Hamilton? i want to try some. Is it necessary to use raw milk for kefir and do you know any farmers around Hamilton that could provide such raw milk?
    How does milk kefir taste?
    I make yougurt all the time very sucessfully.

  16. alan rockell says:

    hi we run an biogrow certified organice dairy farm here at kerikeri an would be willing to sell raw milk to people who want it. hope this helps.

  17. alan rockell says:

    kerikeri biogrow cetified organic raw milk sales. ph 0276530818

  18. Mairi says:

    Hi Alan

    Do you know of anyone who sells raw organic milk in the Waikato area? If not do you frieght raw milk to other areas?

  19. Sarah says:

    Hello, it’s wonderful reading about your farmlet.

    Can you tell me where to buy quark starter. piima starter, and kiefer starter, actually how to find a seller I cold telephone who would ship to Gisborne?

    I would rather talk with someone than try the internet auction process.

    Cheers, Sarah

  20. Maria says:

    Hi does anybody know where i can buy raw organic milk from in the surrounding Hamilton area.

  21. Jonnie says:

    Im also in Hamilton looking for Raw milk…

  22. Christine says:

    Still looking for organic raw goats {preferably}or cows milk in Hamilton…

  23. Tricia says:

    Yes you can get raw milk in Hamilton theres a farmer on Waitatuna rd who sells it for $2.oo pr litre from the gate organic to boot!

  24. Tricia says:

    does any one know where I can buy Quark in Hamilton?

  25. alan rockell says:

    regarding raw mik in Kerikeri area hi my ph number is now 0220610734 thanks Alan

  26. Desiree says:

    Anyone know of a supplier of quark on the Auckland area?