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What the Heck is Quark? Luisa Weiss Fills Us In

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This month, our Baking Club members started making their way through Luisa Weiss' latest cookbook, Classic German Baking.

Now, we're excited to announce that Luisa herself has joined the club and is ready and waiting to answer your questions. Just head over to Facebook, request to join the Baking Club, and you'll see a post on the wall where she introduces herself and has been answering questions—she'll be popping on all throughout the month to answer them.

Miss our kick-off post for June? Catch up now:
Get Ready to Bake a Lot of Pastries That Are Easier to Eat Than Pronounce
Get Ready to Bake a Lot of Pastries That Are Easier to Eat Than Pronounce

So far she’s tackled multiple questions about Quark, but first, what exactly is Quark anyway? In Luisa’s words:

Quark, a sour, fresh cheese that is often compared—erroneously, in my opinion—to ricotta, is essential to the German kitchen. Quark is sourer than ricotta and lighter, too, unless you are lucky enough to find a source for [the super thick] Sahnequark (cream Quark), in which case you should simply drizzle it with a little honey or fold in fresh berries, and dig in for a decadent treat.

Anna Maria Genova: I live an hour from Atlanta. My grocery stores are good but don't carry Quark—do you think Greek yogurt is a good substitute?

Luisa Weiss: Hi Anna Maria, I don't think Greek yogurt is a good substitute for Quark unless the recipe calls for a very small amount that gets folded into the dough, for example. But as the others have mentioned, you can make your own Quark! It's very easy.

Not only can you make your own, Luisa helpfully provides a recipe for it in her book: All you need is buttermilk, an oven, and time—8 to 12 hours of it. Her recipe calls for cooking it at 150° F, but not all ovens go that low, prompting this question from a member:

Sharon Gollman: Hi Luisa! I'm very excited to be baking with your book! I grew up in Milwaukee, and there were a lot of German bakeries. Sadly, they are mostly gone, so now with your book hopefully, we can have delicious baked goods again! I have a question about the quark—my oven only goes as low as 170° F. Is that okay?

Luisa Weiss: You can stick the handle of a wooden spoon in the oven door while you bake. That's what Melissa Clark did when she tested the recipe for Quark and her oven also didn't go that low.

If that information wasn't enough to convince you to pick up the book, these seven tempting photos from our members' recent baking adventures just might:

Fruit = breakfast

A post shared by Lindsay-Jean Hard (@lindsayjeanhard) on

Nussecken #classicgermanbaking #f52bakingclub #cookies #nussecken

A post shared by Dara Mao (@daramkeller) on

Tell us: What's your favorite German sweet treat?

Tags: Books, Cookbook Club, Baking Club