HOMEMADE PANEER – Indian Cheese
Homemade cheese sounds more complicated than it really is to make. The only issue I find is waiting for the milk to boil to a frothy stage for at least 20 minutes and to ensure the milk doesn’t burn or catch too much at the bottom of the pan. The rest of it is easy and so delicious.
- 4 litres full fat fresh milk
- Juice of 1 lemon or 1 tbsp vinegar (acid)
- A large pot
- A muslin/cheese cloth
- Sea salt
- Begin by heating the milk over medium heat in a large vessel for 20 minutes just under the boil and until very frothy.
- Stir in the lemon juice or vinegar (acid) which will cause the milk to curdle. It should take about 1 minute to occur. If it still hasn’t clearly separated, add small increments of juice or vinegar until the curdling occurs. Set aside for 10 minutes to let the curds form.
- The milk fats will fully separate from the water (whey) and you’ll have little lumps of soft white matter. That’s your cheese.
- Next, pour the milk mixture into a colander lined with cheese cloth or a clean dish towel. Your cheese won’t look too pretty at this point, but will instead resemble really wet cottage cheese.
- Let the milk water (whey) drain, (collect it for other uses). Only the milk fat will remain in your cloth. Sprinkle some salt over the cheese.
- Then combine the curds and wrap them in cheesecloth. Hang from your tap for 10 minutes to allow it to drain. Before hanging, help it along by tightly turning the cheesecloth to wring out as much water as you can.
- After 10 minutes, give the ball of cheese another good twist then place the cheesecloth covered ball into the bottom of a colander. Cover with a plate and an added weight such as a mortar/pestle on top of the plate. The weight will act as a press to remove additional moisture. Allow the cheese to be pressed for about 40 minutes or leave in the fridge for a couple hours. At this point, the cheese will be firm enough to slice and will retain its shape.. Some more water will come out, just discard it.
- You can cut it in pieces and pan-fry it for 3-4 minutes in a little oil or ghee for longer preservation or use immediately. For an additional twist, sprinkle some chopped fresh coriander, crushed dry chillies, sea salt flakes and extra virgin olive oil over the paneer.