A couple of weeks ago, I ventured into the scary esoteric world of cheese-making.  Luckily I made paneer, probably one of the easier cheeses to deal with and I came away feeling triumphant and ready to take on the world (or rather my enormous new Indian cookbook).  Not many steps involved in the process.  You just have to make sure your acid is acidic enough and your milk is fat enough.  I started out with a recipe from my new cookbook but had to switch over to another one found here when I realized the curds and whey weren’t separating properly.  Apparently lemon juice from a bottle doesn’t work well.

The nice thing about this cheese is that a) there are few ingredients and b) you can use spoiled milk to make it!  Yes, I see much paneer-making in my future….

Completely curdled milk looks gross and pock-marked.

For those of you who don’t know, the white part is the curd and green liquid is whey.  Apparently, you can use the whey for other things but i am not sure how you could do so.  I just threw mine out.  How wasteful.

Here is my pressing apparatus.  The paneer is sandwiched between two cutting boards with a pot of water on top.

Solid paneer!!

Ingredients:

2 litres whole milk

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

white vinegar

Equipment:

Cheesecloth (available at most grocery stores)

A pot

A mixing bowl

How to Make:

Bring milk to a boil in the pot.  Meanwhile, place the cheesecloth in a mixing bowl.  Once milk is boiling, add lemon juice and stir until milk curdles.  If it doesn’t curdle or curdles incompletely after a few minutes, add 1 tsp of white vinegar at a time until the milk curdles completely. Cool for a few minutes and then transfer to the cheesecloth.

Squeeze the whey out of the cheesecloth and run cold water through it while holding the top closed.  Squeeze excess liquid and tie a knot at the top of the bundle of curd.  Make a pressing apparatus and put curd between it ( I used two cutting boards and a pot of water).  It is important to make sure the curd is actually being pressed, otherwise the paneer will crumble when you cut into it.  Weigh down for 2 to 3 hours.  Remove paneer from cheesecloth and cut into cubes.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  ENJOY!

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