Saturday, September 17, 2011

Home Made Paneer Cheese

Last week Ferdzy, the publisher of Seasonal Ontario Food, posted Beans & Cabbage with Paneer recipe. It brought back memory of my favorite non-melting cheeses. Of course, Halloumi is my favorite, but since it is made with sheep and goat milk there is no chance I can make it myself. Paneer, however, being a cow’s milk cheese is another animal all together (pun intended J). The reason I am saying that is that one of my colleagues (back in my working days) had many lunches that had paneer in it and he said that his wife made fresh cheese on daily basis. Well, if you make cheese every day it does have to be simple, right? And is it ever! It is so simple that you can use just a quart or 1 liter of milk or even less. On top of it, as proven by me on my very first try, it is idiot proof!
When I finished pressing my first curds I have noticed that the whey wasn’t clear and light green as I saw on YouTube. No problem, I said. I put the pot back on burner and when it started to simmer I have added more lemon juice. And what do you know, new curds started to form and whey has turned clear and light green.
Lesson learned: make sure you have more lemon juice than you think you will need.

Here goes a long list of ingredients.
2 L 3.25% milk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Yup, that’s it.

Heavy bottom pot
Muslin cloth
Slotted spoon

Now the hard part. Yeah, right J

Bring the milk to simmer, scrapping bottom of a pot as you go. When the milk starts to roll over slowly pour in about a 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Keep stirring until curds start to form. If the milk doesn’t separate into clear and light green whey, add more lemon juice 1 teaspoon at the time. Juice of one large lemon should be enough to make a clear separation of milk solids and whey but it is always better to be on safe side and have some more juice ready, just in case.
When the whey turns green remove the curds with slotted spoon into a colander or strainer lined with muslin.
Let it drain for about 20 minutes and then tie up the muslin into a ball and put some weight on top to compact the cheese. What I did was that I put the bag with cheese in potato ricer (it does have small holes all around) and placed 1 quart jar on top. Perfect fit!
Let the weight compact the paneer to consistency that you like.
Well, the paneer is done and when eaten still warm and fresh with some strawberry jam, it is a heaven!
Next day I did try to shallow fry some slices with little salt and hot sauce and it was delicious!
Thanks, Ferdzy!

Note: Here are some video links that will help you understand the process.

On this video notice how fast the milky whey turns into a clear greenish whey with just a tee-spoon of lemon juice.

This one is interesting that it shows how to make very smooth paneer. She is using oversized Indian spice grinder but I am sure that mini-chopper will do same thing.

Very innovative and original way to use paneer. It is a definite “Must try soon” for me.

How I made Paneer
 Lemon juice was added and curds started to form.

 Curds started to separate in about 2 minutes.

Curds are placed in fine mesh bag and let drain for 15 minutes...

and then I put the bag in potato ricer (to form nice round cake) and a full jar of honey on top. In under one hour from milk to paneer!!! And, is it ever good still warm and super fresh!


Anonymous said...

And, is it ever good still warm and super fresh!

Absolutely light and delicious especially warm.

The best fast cheese ever.

Marjo. ( The official taster).

Ferdzy said...

Wow, I will have to try that. Amazing. Thanks for posting.