Paneer

This very simple cheese doesn’t melt when heated and is brilliant for frying as croutons for your soups, adding cubes to curries and stews or sliced and used as the ‘bread’ under a grilled cheese toastie.

Milk is heated to just boiling and an acid is added to separate the curds and whey. You can use any vinegar but each type (white vinegar, Apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar etc) will give you a different taste to the paneer. Lemon juice can also be used and in traditional Indian paneer, yoghurt was used as the acid which gave the cheese a natural delicate flavour.

Ingredients

4 litres milk (any milk will do except UHT)

½ to ¾ cup of vinegar, or 1 cup of fresh lemon juice, or 2 litres of yoghurt or kefir.

1 Tbsp. salt (optional)

Method

Bring the milk to the boil (85 to 95°C) over a medium high heat. Stir the milk often to prevent it scorching on the bottom of the pot.

Bringing the milk to the boil, the potato masher is great for holder the thermometer in place!
And yes that is a massive thermometer, its our compost one (well washed) as someone broke my cheese one!

Turn of the heat and let the milk rest for a couple of minutes so its settles from the stirring.

Pour in the first measure of vinegar or lemon juice and gently stir a couple of times to mix the acid through the milk. Do not over stir as the curds are delicate.

Curds starting to separate…

Your whey should be a yellowy colour, if it is still whitish, I add more vinegar approx. ¼ cup. It seems that there is perhaps a lot of variances in the strength of different vinegars which affects the yield if the milk proteins do not separate properly.

The whey has gone from milky white to yellowy

Let the curds settle for about 5 minutes. You will see them separating from the whey. As they cool, they will clump together.

Scoop the curds from the pot and strain in a colander.

Straining the curds

If you would like to add salt, spices or herbs to your paneer mix them through now.

Put the warm curds into a mould (or just a container with holes to drain the whey) on a draining rack and place another container or jar full of warm whey on top of the curd for a press.

Once the paneer has cooled it is ready to use, it can be stored in the fridge for up to a week and can also be frozen.

The yield from this 4 litre lot of milk was 553g (yes I tared the plate :-))
Paneer cubes fried in butter.
Paneer croutons in pumpkin soup with fresh cream

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