Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Fresh Paneer Cheese

I've made paneer cheese previously, but was always disappointed by how little came out from 6 pints of milk. I then heard that you can use a combination of cream and milk powder to make a more concentrated milk like substance which produces a considerably higher cheese yield.

Ingredients:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 400g skimmed milk powder
  • 3 litres of water
  • 4 to 8 tbsp lemon juice

Method:

  1. Place the cream, milk powder and water into a saucepan.
  2. Heat the mixture up to almost boiling, stirring often to make sure all the milk powder dissolves and it doesn't burn on the bottom. I'd recommend using a medium to high heat.
  3. When the super-concentrated milk is almost, but not quite, boiling then it's ready to add the lemon juice. I believe the required temperature is above 85 degrees Celsius, but below 100 degrees, if it's too hot or cold the proteins and fats won't combine correctly. However I've never measured the temperature exactly, I just do it by sight when I start to see the surface moving as if it's near the boil.
  4. When you've decided it's hot enough, remove from the heat and add about 4 tbsp of the lemon juice and stir well.
  5. After about 20 seconds you should see the milk separating out into the curds and whey. If nothing has happened then add a tbsp or more of lemon juice.
  6. Repeat the stiring and addition of more lemon juice until it has separated nicely into a mostly clear whey and lumps of curds.
  7. Use a cheese cloth (or fine tea towel) to strain the whey from the curds. I would recommend freezing the whey in ice cube trays and then using a couple of cubes as a replacement to vegetable stock in soups.
  8. Put the curds into a cheese press, or if you've not got that then you can try to bunch up the cloth and twist it to press the whey into a tight ball.
  9. Compress the curds using a heavy book or two (or the mechanism provided by your cheese press) and leave to set for 30 minutes. Make sure it's in a bowl as a fair bit of extra whey will come off it.
  10. Once it's pressed, remove the cheese from the cloth/teatowel and refrigerate, using it within a few days.
Makes about 400g to 500g of cheese, easily enough for using in a dish for 4 people.

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