Advent Calendar 3 – German Proteins

German Proteins

Hello every,

door 3  of our epic 2020 Advent Calendar. And today we’ll do something many of you have been waiting for for a long time – we’ll go over the German names of proteins. Hooray.
Nah, kidding, I actually want to tell you a really good source for proteins – it’s a white mushy substance, it tastes a bit like Aspirin and it’ll give you THE SICKEST GAINS YOU’VE EVER SEEN. #SWOLE

Provided, you’re working out, that is.
The substance I am talking about is

der Quark

 

 

And Quark is one of the most typical German foodstuff I know. And while in Germany you can find it in literally every supermarket and even in many gas stations and late shops and for me, it’s really hard to find when you’re abroad. Or at least that’s my experience. I couldn’t find proper Quark in Scandinavia, Bulgaria, North America and Italy. Italians would really hate it, I think :).
Though I guess you can find it in Poland and Czech republic and possible as far east as Russia, because the name is originally from there and  used to be twaróg,
So what is it exactly?
Well, when you look it up in English you’ll find curd. But that is a bit misleading because curd is more broad than Quark. And also, if you’re not a native speaker of English, you might not know what curd is, so let’s take a more practical approach:
Do you know these chunks that form in milk when it has overstayed its welcome in the fridge? Well… these chunks are basically Quark. Ugh.
And no, I’m not joking.
In fact, Quark is one of the easiest things to produce. Just take fresh milk, let it go sour at a warm place for a day or two and then strain it through some linen. That’s literally it.
You see, milk usually contains lactic acid bacteria. Those consume the lactose and turn the milk sour. And this sourness in turn will cause the milk proteins to ball up. Technically, you can even make Quark by just adding a fair bit of lemon juice to fresh milk. Same basic effect.
The solid chunks are the Quark and the liquid is called Molke, or whey in English.
German quark is constantly stirred why producing it, and it is left with a lot of whey, so it’s usually pretty creamy. But if you don’t stir, you get cottage cheese, and if you strain a lot of whey, you get something more solid like the Austrian Topfen.

Oh and in case you’re wondering about the difference to yogurt… yogurt is milk turned sour and thicker, but it’s ALL the milk. While for Quark, you strain a certain amount of whey. Also, Quark doesn’t have the specific yogurt taste because that comes from selected yogurt bacteria.
Quark could theoretically even be made by adding lemon juice to warm milk and wait for chunks to form.

Anyway, it’s really hard to describe how Quark tastes. It’s a bit rough, I would say. But I really really really love it and I eat it as a side to pretty much all dishes that I eat.
And Quark is incredibly healthy. It is low fat, has almost no lactose and a LOT of protein. Like… if you’re into fitness… it’s up to 14 grams per 100 gram.
No wonder German has a proverb about Quark.

  • Quark macht stark.
  • Quark makes [you] strong.

How does quark taste?
That’s really hard to describe. It’s not as sour as yogurt and usually thicker. It’s not as sweet as Mascarpone and not as “elegant” as Ricotta. I think you need to try it for yourself.
It’s absolutely amazing with herbs and onions and boiled potatoes. Or if you want even more specific… try Quark with potatoes and Linen seed oil. Very simple, but really really really good.

 

And I know many of you now say like “Wait a minute, that’s like sour cream.”
But trust me… Quark is much better. Sour Cream has all kinds of weird stuff in it, at least the version you can buy in Germany. Quark is simple. Humble. Pure.
Like… if “It ain’t much but it’s honest work” were a food – it would be quark.
And with that nonsensical comparison, we’ll wrap it up for the day.
I’m really curious about your thoughts and experiences… do you have quark in your country? Is it common? And have you tried German Quark and if you have, did you like it?
Let me know all your quark stories in the comments.
Have a great day, and see you tomorrow.

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divyenduz
1 year ago

TIL Quark is not curd and yet I am using it like curd for a year

Antonia
Antonia
1 year ago

We have ‘izvara’ in Bulgaria which I believe is pretty much the same thing. And then you have ‘sirene’ which is very similar to feta cheese which is the harder version

christibos
christibos
1 year ago

Ohh I love Quark! Ate alot of this in Germany when I was there. I have never found anything like it here in Canada. But it sounds easy enough to make!

Anne Maxwell-Jackson
Anne Maxwell-Jackson
1 year ago

Great article, which I shared with my non-German learning grown-up children, who are into health and make your own. Many thanks

Jinksy
Jinksy
1 year ago

But I think linseed oil would definitely taste better than oil made from linen (cotton sheets)!

Jinksy
Jinksy
1 year ago

Mein (Deutscher) Mann kann nicht leben ohne Quark! Es gibt kein in Schottland…

Lily
Lily
1 year ago

I live in Indiana, about an hour from Chicago. I’ve always known about Quark from my mother and grandmother, and later in many visits to relatives in Germany. Last year I was thrilled to find it at our local Aldi, but it was a 1 time fluke. It’s used in a coffee cake too.

Ti7kitty
Ti7kitty
1 year ago

I live in Switzerland and we have quark here- of course. I really like it and we use it like sour cream. I have even heard that they put it on woulds to assist in healing!

captaintrinity
captaintrinity
1 year ago

Hey Emanuel this was fun! First time I write here: so my first recollection of Quark is from the book Christiane F.! I was VERY young and I remember they mentioned eating this thing and I had to look it up, but still did not quite understand what it was… you are right I don’t think it would sell in Italy – not in Tuscany where I come from for sure ;) but then … I got to know it and it is great and makes fantastic cheesecake! Apologies for writing in English … in der Zukunft werde ich hier nur Deutsch schreiben – versprochen!

Victoria Martinez
Victoria Martinez
1 year ago

Unfortunately my gastroenterologist told me to stay away from milk products due to my digestive issues, and it has helped a lot to do so. Due to aging ( I am 76) and lack of strength training I continue to loose muscle exponentially, so I look forward to any other suggestions not involving dairy. The obvious one of using the weighs and bands I bought to try to build some strength would work if I could have a transplant of your Teutonic discipline gene.

clipsz
clipsz
1 year ago

We are can get Quark in Canada but i have never tried it but maybe i will now. I have made my own ricotta which is just add lemon juice to milk and separate out the curds. Same thing! BTW it was great and much better than store bought.

Elijah
Elijah
1 year ago

Yes, we have Quark in South Brazil. Made by, well… Germans, of course.

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin
1 year ago

In Schweden essen die Schweden „Kvarg“. Ich vermute Kvarg und Quark sind die gleichen Sachen.

Meiner Meinung nach, sind beide kalte, weiße, flüssige Milchprodukte und ich würde mich lieber mit einer Nachtischgabel in den linken Oberschenkel stechen, als ein Milchprodukt essen, das kein Käse ist.

Deshalb kann ich nicht mit Sicherheit sagen, ob Kvarg und Quark sind die gleiche Sachen. Aber, ist mir egal.

Bran
Bran
1 year ago

Das ist auch wie man paneer “Käse” herstellt: Milch mit einem säuren Mittel wie Zitrone oder Essig kochen, die resultierenden “Stückchen” sammeln und in einem Tuch ausdrücken.

Marianne
Marianne
1 year ago

Thanks for the interesting cultural post!
Kein Quark hier in Kamerun — und das ist keine Überraschung.

Since I already make my own yoghurt and it’s easy to sour milk here in the heat, I think it’d be easy enough to make based on your description. But I think I’d like to taste the real German Quark beforehand so that I’d know what to aim for in terms of taste and texture. :)

Carsten Midskov
Carsten Midskov
1 year ago
Reply to  Marianne

In Dänemark hanen wir Quark und es (er ? oder sie ?) ist sehr gegessen !

David Hart
David Hart
1 year ago

I live in Canada. One of my cousins in Germany loves Quark, eats it all the time, and is healthy as a healthy horse. I took one look at it and thought it looked disgusting and was having none of it. It reminded me of a dish my father, (from Germany) used to love, and that was butter milk with chunks of white bread and sugar. I thought that was disgusting too! But having read this article, and being older and perhaps a wee bit wiser these days, I shall give Quark a try next time I’m in Germany. I shall then let you all know about this newbie’s impressions! Love these articles … talk about a quirky way to inspire one’s appreciation for all things German … just great!! Keep it up!!

Pentatomidae
Pentatomidae
1 year ago

When I was a student in Oxford (UK) I pretty much lived on quark sandwiches. Cheap and good for you too! Thanks for the new recipe ideas.

Dr_Nick
Dr_Nick
1 year ago

Be careful about mentioning “humble” in an article about food. “‘Umble pie” is literally pie full of umbles (intestines) so the Engilish phrase “To eat humble pie” means to accede to an inferior position in the debate. To admit that one was wrong.

Rosemary MacKenzie
Rosemary MacKenzie
1 year ago

Can’t find that it is available in Canada, BUT I’ve found a recipe which makes it from buttermilk. Looks easy enough. Thanks for the article.

Nell
Nell
2 months ago

I buy it at Polish and German delis in Toronto and in The Niagara area.

Francesca M
Francesca M
1 year ago

kein Quark in Italian … ;)