Paneer cheese is often hard to find when you live in the southwest or other rural parts of the world. Fortunately, it is very easy to make and doesn’t take much time.
The main difference between Paneer cheese is like cream cheese in that they are both made from whole milk. That means if you can’t buy Paneer and don’t what to make it, you can substitute cream cheese, but its on you to confess your transgression to your dinner guests.
If you’ve never made cheese before, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to dip you toe into the cheesemonger world. While you should wear a turbine to make this cheese, it’s not required.
Ingredients to make 12 oz. cheese
- 64 oz. whole milk
- 2 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Line a large colander with a large double layer of cheesecloth, and set it in your sink.
- Rinse a large wide pot with water, pour water out but do not wipe. Pour in milk and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning the bottom. Be patient and let the milk come to boil slowly.
- Turn heat to low and add the lemon juice. Stirring gently, turn off heat and let milk rest. Quickly you will see the curds (white milk solids) and whey (the greenish liquid) separate.
- Carefully pour the contents into the cheesecloth-lined colander. If you want to keep the whey, put colander into a pot to catch it.*
- Gently rinse cheese with cool water to get rid of the lemon flavor.**
- Grab the ends of the cheesecloth and twist the ball of cheese to squeeze out the excess whey. Hang the cheesecloth to your kitchen faucet and allow the cheese to drain for about 5 minutes.
- Twisting the ball to compact the cheese into a block, place it on a plate with the twisted part of the cheesecloth on the side to ensure your block of cheese is nice and smooth.
- If you don’t have a cheese press, add a second plate on top of the cheese for weight and place something heavy on top.
- Put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to drain and cool.
Note: * Whey is high in protein and good for you. You can use it instead of water in baking recipes or use it to cook rice or corn on the cob. I like to drink it before exercising, but be careful, it has an effect.
** At step 5, you can squeeze out some of the liquid, and serve with some honey and some nuts, almost like a fresh ricotta.