Fresh Cheese, Quark and smoked cheese

Soured milk cheese can be made with or without rennet - rennet makes it firm.
Quark is made without rennet while fresh cheese is made with rennet. 
Smoked cheese is simply smoked quark or fresh cheese, commonly sprinkled with chives and cumin.

Choose any type of milk to make these cheeses - there are no set standards, only your preferences. 

Use anything from skimmed milk to full fat milk, soured milk - or even add in cream or creme fraiche for a creamier result.

Since you can mix and match as you please, outcomes differs endlessly - therefore only use this recipe as a basic guide to make any of these cheeses and to explore the many possibilities of variations.

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Ingredients for for 1½ kg fresh cheese, quark or smoked cheese :

2 litres of milk, soured milk or yogurt
Seasonings to taste.


Starter culture or 1 dl buttermilk/soured milk 
Cream or creme fraiche
Rennet - up to 1 ml

Required tools:

Pot with lid
Cheese cloth

Helpfull tools (non-essential):

Cheese tray
Cold smoking equipment 


If you make these cheeses with soured milk or yogurt, no futher fermentation is required and you can go straight to the first step in the recipe.  

If you use fresh milk/cream, it must fermented for around 24 hours prior to beginning this recipe. Do as follows:

  • Heat the milk to 25 - 32°C.
  • Add
    - 1 pinch of starter culture
       or 1 dl fresh buttermilk or soured milk
    - optionally 3 - 10 drops of rennet
    Stir thoroughly and cover with lid.
  • Let the milk ferment at room temperature, 20 - 22°C, for 24 hours.
  • Add the freshly fermented milk or the ready made yoghurt or creme fraiche to a bowl. 

  • If you prefer fresh cheese with firmer texture, and if you did not add rennet yet, add a few drops of rennet - up to ½ ml per liter milk/cream. Stir thoroughly, cover and leave it to coagulate at room temperature for ½ - 2 hours.

  • Scoop the curd into a collander lined with cheese cloth and suspend it over a bowl, cheese tray or similar to collect the whey. 

  • Let the curd drain for 8 hours, ideally in the fridge. When draining is complete, your fresh cheese is ready. 

  • If you want to smoke it, scoop the fresh cheese into a sieve or similar.

    For smoking, you need a charcoal grill or alternatively a small concrete pipe. Follow the instructions below:
Place the concrete pipe in vertical with the broad opening facing downwards. Place two bricks right underneath the opening to lift it off the ground. Place a pile of straws, preferably from rye or oats, in the little opening underneath the concrete pipe and set fire to it. When the fire is going nicely, throw a bunch of nettles and herbs over the flames. This will put them out and produce thick smoke. Get your sieve with the cheese and suspend it across the top of the concrete pipe hole through which blue/yellowish smoke rises. Add more straw if needed. Heat rising from below through the pipe must provide temperatures around 30 - 40°C near the cheese.
  • Smoke the cheese, from ½ minut to 10 minutes, as you prefer. When the characteristic brown crust has developed, smoking is complete.
  • Place the smoked cheese on a plate and sprinkle it with salt, cumin, chives or other seasonings.