When I discovered how easy it was to make paneer cheese I had to go for it. It's a type of cottage cheese, which means you don't have to leave it for months to mature. It's ready in under an hour from start to finish.
- 4 pints of whole milk, really needs to be whole milk
- 2 to 4 tbsp lemon juice
You'll also need a cheese cloth, fine muslin or a closely woven (and clean!) tea towel.
- Place the milk in a large saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. It doesn't matter if it does start boiling but don't boil it too energetically. It's also critical to get it above 85 degrees, so it does need to be boiling or very almost boiling.
- Add 2 tbsp of the lemon juice and stir well. You should start to see the curds separating from the whey.
- Keep stiring until the whey is a distinct and fairly clear liquid. If after a minute or two it doesn't seem to be doing much add a couple more tbsp of lemon juice.
- Place your cheese cloth/muslin/tea towel in a sieve or colander and carefully pour the curds and whey mixture into it. You're aiming to catch the curds (those are the solid bits) in the cloth and for the whey to run through. You might want to keep the whey in a jug in the fridge as it can be used as an alternative to stock.
- Gather the cloth together and holding the curds in it, wash them under running water for a minute or two.
- Press the curds together in the cloth and then either place a heavy weight on the cloth (to press into a block), use a cheese mold (as I did) or tightly twist the end of the cloth/tea towel to squeeze the curds into a tight ball.
- Leave for at least 30 minutes for the curds to set into a solid lump and then enjoy the cheese.
- It should keep for a day or so in the fridge, but it's best used after a couple of hours.
Makes about a 200g block of paneer.