Homemade Cheese....Paneer . This was fun to make... yet another dish inspired by Rose at AvocadoBravado. This recipe is a good start if you want to make your own cheese at home....not fussy at all. Paneer is a type of cheese used in Indian cooking....similar to ricotta except it gets weighed down and compacted. The texture of the cheese is firm, yet sort of soft. The paneer keeps its shape, so it is a good cheese that can be used for frying as it doesn't fall apart. You can use it as an appetizer... plain or seasoned. You can also use the paneer as a substitute for meat...in dishes like chicken tikka masala or chicken curry. It can also be used for making the classic dish known as saag paneer(fried cheese with spinach sauce).
If you are using just a half a gallon of whole milk, you won't get too much cheese...but it is enough for an appetizer or even for a main dish. You will probably get a 6-8 inch wide and 1/2 inch thick paneer cheese wheel. You will have more whey...which you can use instead of water when making roti(Indian flatbread) or any kind of bread, rice, beans, lentils, smoothies, etc. The whey is highly nutritious as it contains Beta-Lactoglobulin, Alpha-lactalbumin, Immunoglobulins( essential amino acids needed for a healthy body) and many other good things...like losing weight:).
Do give it a try, as it isn't complicated at all. If you want to make a larger batch, check out Saveur's version. You just might like making your own cheese at home...it isn't just for the country folks:)! Hope you enjoy....
You will need: Inspired and adapted from Rose at AvocadoBravado
1/2 gallon whole milk
2-3 TBS lemon juice
salt to taste
Add the milk to a large pot and bring to a full boil. Keep stirring so the milk will not scorch. Add the lemon juice and salt. Stir for about 2 minutes. Take pot off heat. You will see the milk start to separate. Let cool down for about 15 minutes. You will notice that the cheese curds have separated from the whey. Place a cheesecloth(I used a thin cotton dish towel) in a colander that has been placed over a large bowl. Pour the milk/curds in the cheese cloth lined colander. Drain. Cool until it is easy to handle. Gather the cheesecloth and twist to squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. The more liquid you squeeze out, the firmer the cheese.
Form the cheese( still in the cheesecloth) in a rectangular(oval) shape about 1/2 inch thick and place a flat plate on top. Place some heavy books(or cans) on top of the plate to press the cheese flat. Leave it pressed for about an hour or so.
Remove and cut in pieces.
You can then use the cheese as is...
Serve as an appetizer...
Sprinkle some paprika, salt and olive oil on the paneer. Toss to coat and fry in a pan until golden.
Serve as an appetizer with some smoked paprika oil( mix some paprika with olive oil and season...you can add a bit of lemon juice, if you like). Sprinkle with some chopped chives.
Serve as a main dish...
use instead of meat in any curry sauce, tikka masala, or use it to make saag paneer(fried cheese with a spinach sauce).
or like I did... Remember, the Shakshuka?
Just puree some leftover shakshuka sauce and add the paneer. Delicious!