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I would like to try to make quark cheese sauce for pasta, but I'm not confident I can make the cheese melt properly as I've never done it before. What I would like to use specifically is the Polish version, twaróg, ~8% fat. Is it doable? What proportions should I use? How should I add the cheese in order for it to melt properly into the bechamel?

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Quark doesn't melt at all. What you can do is to stir it into the sauce.

From there on, it depends on the version you have available. I haven't seen the Polish one. If it is firm and crumbly like some of the quarks I've had, it will remain that way in the sauce, and you will have a grainy texture. The German type is similar to yogurt in texture, and it will blend with a sauce perfectly (but not melt). Polish cuisine borrows from both Russian (which has firm quark) and German (which has the aforementioned yogurty quark) so I can't predict what will happen with what you have.

Note that having a somewhat crumbly texture in a sauce is not necessarily a bad thing. Personally, I like a lot a sauce/dip made from 50% mayonnaise and 50% firm quark, stirred together and served with black olives. It depends purely on your taste. My advice is to make the sauce and see if you like eating it.

  • Thank you for your answer, but you can actually melt quark. The way I know (but haven't tried myself) is to put it in a saucepan and then to put the saucepan into boiling water. I don't know the name for this procedure in English. See here for the result: mindfuleating.blog.pl/2013/10/10/… – ymar Nov 7 '14 at 16:47
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    @ymar the quark there is not molten. This is an emulsion of an egg yolk in water, and the quark is stirred into it. The majority of the dry mass in quark is protein, and it is physically impossible for protein to melt. It gets rubbery when heated. Setting a pan in another pan with water is called a "water bath" or "bain marie" in English, and is used to prevent the inner pan from heating up. On the bright side, if Polish quark gets stirred there without too grainy a texture, it should work in bechamel the same way - although I see quite a few grains in her picture. – rumtscho Nov 7 '14 at 17:25
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    @rumtscho : 'water bath' is generally used for baked items to slow the cooking (eg, flan, cheesecake). Although the french 'bain marie' is used, we also call it a 'double boiler' – Joe Nov 7 '14 at 21:50
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    @Joe thank you, I wasn't aware of this detail and had assumed that "water bath" and "double boiler" are interchangeable. – rumtscho Nov 8 '14 at 17:23
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    @rumtscho : they're related, but not interchangeable. Water bath can mean a few things, but in this context (slowing down cooking speed), it's typically used in an oven and the water directly contacts the container of the item being heated ... a double boiler is always stove top, and you don't want the water from the lower vessel contacting the vessel above (with the item being warmed). – Joe Nov 9 '14 at 16:56

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