[Sca-cooks] quark

Volker Bach carlton_bach at yahoo.de
Sat Aug 6 01:11:54 PDT 2011

--- Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com> schrieb am Sa, 6.8.2011:

> Von: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>
> Betreff: [Sca-cooks] quark
> An: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
> Datum: Samstag, 6. August, 2011 09:09 Uhr
> Liutgard inquired:
> <<< How about quark? Anyone here worked with it?
> There is apparently a
> possible mention of it in Tacitus, which has me rummaging
> through my
> books to see if I have his stuff on the Germanic
> peoples..>>>.
> Doing a search on the Florilegium finds a number of
> mentions, although the one that seems to have a period
> mention of it, is in this file:
> fd-Germany-msg (152K) 9/20/10 Medieval and Period German
> food. Cookbooks.
> Part of the problem is determining what makes quark
> different from any other cream cheese, other than the name.

Not a lot, really. Quark is made from (usually skimmed) milk, curdled with rennet at room temperature, lightly drained, then passed through a fine sieve to produce an even consistency. Commercially produced varieties have their fat content standardised by adding cream (anywhere between the lowest German standsard type of 10% and the highest Swiss type at 55% fat in dried form is possible). Artisanal quark is not normalised, and its fat content depends on the milk used. The typical DIY-guides for Quark I've found all suggest using buttermilk to intrroduce the curdling agent, so I suppose it really doesn't matter that much. 

AFAIK most cream cheeses have higher fat contents and less moisture than quark. Quark is pretty moist, almost semi-liquid, and does not hold together at all. That's about it. 

BTB, the Tacitus reference is to lac concretum, supposedly the same thing elsewhere referred to as melca. We do not know the curdling agent, but I would suppose rennet, being rather more difficult to obtain than lactic acid bacteria or plant juices, would not have been used all the time. A fifteenth-century reference to Herbstmilch, a curdled milk that can be stored in cool rooms for a long time, only mentions introducing an already curdled starter. That suggests lactic acid bacteria. Though my Latin is limited, I guess 'lac concretum' also fits this better.



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