Quark Cheese, Rennet and a Recipe for Healthy Goat's Milk Quark
by Tony Isaacs
Quark cheese is a soft and fresh kind of cheese that is made without the enzymes known as rennet which are used to coagulate milk in most forms of cheese. Although quark is traditionally made with cow milk, goat milk quark is every bit as appealing and useful and has healthy benefits over cow milk quark.
Although relatively unheard of in the United States , quark is popular in much of Europe, where it is also commonly referred to as curd cheese. It was quark cheese, and not it's relative cottage cheese, which Johanna Budwig used in combination with flaxseed in her famous and highly successful Budwig diet for cancer.
Unlike quark, most commercial cottage cheese is made with rennet the same as most cheeses. Rennet production methods and rennet sources may raise eyebrows among the health conscious, including lacto-vegetarians and people concerned about GMO foods.
Natural rennet is a complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother's milk, and is often used in the production of cheese. Rennet contains many enzymes, including the proteolytic enzyme protease, pepsin and lipase, which cause milk to coagulate and separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). Most rennet today is not natural.
Traditionally, rennet for cheese making has been obtained from dried and cleaned stomachs of young calves which are sliced into small pieces and then put into saltwater or whey, together with vinegar or wine to lower the pH. Today, this method is used almost exclusively by traditional cheese-makers in central Europe. In the rest of the world where calve stomachs are used today, most cheese makers instead use deep-frozen calves stomach which are milled and put into an enzyme-extracting solution.
Because of the limited availability of stomachs for rennet production, cheese makers have looked for other ways to coagulate the milk for ages. There are many sources of enzymes, including plants, fungi, and microbial sources, that will substitute for animal rennet and which would be suitable for lacto-vegetarians; however, no worldwide production from such sources exists. Instead, cheese makers who do not use calves stomachs are increasingly using GMO rennet. In the United States, as much as 90% or more of the rennet is genetically engineered, such as Pfizer's Chymax. Cheese from Europe is more likely to be made from animal rennet due to tradition.
Quark made from goat milk has all the advantages and appeal of cow milk quark and then some. Not only is goat milk healthier and more nutrient dense, it is also often tolerated by people who are otherwise lactose intolerant. Of course, as is true with cow milk, raw goat milk is by far the healthiest and most preferred form. Following is a healthy recipe for making quark from goat milk.
How to make Goat Milk Quark Cheese
First, heat 1 quart of goat milk to 88 °F In a pot and then add 1 tablespoon of buttermilk with active cultures. If your buttermilk is not quite fresh, add an extra tablespoon, as the culture activity declines over time.
Cover the pot, and leave it at room temperature for 24 hours. At the end of that time, the mixture should have a consistency very similar to yogurt.
Pour the mixture into a cheese cloth-lined colander. Either leave the cheese in the colander and cover, or tie the cheese cloth corners together over a wooden spoon or stick and hang over a pot.
Leave the cheese to drain for 12-24 hours in the refrigerator. Remove from the cheese cloth, place in a dish, and enjoy! Normally, you will get about 8 oz. of quark from 1 quart of milk.
You know, I am not sure - but it seems like you should. If you try it, let us know how it turns out.