Home Made Paneer Cheese
This weekend was the first time in ages that I decided to cook an entire meal from scratch.
Taking things all the way back in order to build up the elements and make them awesome.
The first element as part of this meal was to produce a fryable hard cheese for use in a curry that I’d be cooking later in the day.
A 225g block of paneer cheese can be bought in the shops for between £1.50 and £2.00 in the shops, but this also depends on what shop you visit.
Very often we visit some of the big supermarkets and either cannot find it on the shelves or they are sold out which can be a pain in the butt!
2 Litres of whole milk comes in at around £1.10 and 3 good-sized lemons are just shy of a £1.
This means that a 250g block of paneer home-made will cost you around £2.10 which actually works out better value than the supermarkets, providing you are prepared to give about 30 to 40 minutes of your time to prepare.
Plus you can make it as and when you want it.
You will need a few things in order to make the cheese but most cooking items can be found in and around a typical kitchen setup.
You will need a cooking pan big enough to hold 2 litres of milk comfortably, a sieve or colander which will be used in part to separate the curds (Cheesy lumps) from the whey (Remaining liquid), a cheese cloth (You can also use a muslin cloth or a fine tea towel) to pass the liquid through and a bowl to catch everything.
Follow the steps below and you will have your own cheese in under an hour.
- 2 Litre bottle of whole milk (As fresh as possible, full fat and not UHT or it wont be suitable)
- 60ml Lemon Juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Pour all of the milk into a pan and warm up on a medium-high heat.
You want to bring this to a slight simmer, where the milk is beginning to foam and showing signs of steaming – I reached this at between 95°C and 105°C
- When your happy with the temperature and look of the milk, take it off the heat and pour in the lemon juice.
Give things a little stir here and add a touch more lemon juice if you see no changes.
- Put a lid on the pan and allow to sit for around 10 minutes, for the lemon juice to work its magic and separate the milk into curds and whey.
The milk solids are the curds and the left over yellowish liquid is the whey.
- Line your sieve\colander with the cheese cloth and place over a large mixing bowl.
- Carefully pour the curds and whey into the cheese cloth so that you capture all the curds. The whey will pass though into the bowl leaving you just the curds.
- Lift the cheese cloth and start to squeeze as much excess whey from the curds.
Do this carefully as the liquid may still be fairly hot.
- Place the cheese cloth onto a flat surface, open it up and pour the salt into the curds. Use a spoon to carefully mix this in and taste – Add more if necessary.
- Transfer the curds onto a flat plate and shape into a rough square or circle, keeping things flat as flat and even as you can – Around the thickness of 2cm was fine for us.
- Fold the cloth tightly around your formed curds and place an additional flat plate on top to hold things in place, then place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.
I placed two 400g tins of tomato on top to hold things in place.
- Once pressed, your paneer cheese is ready to rock.
It can be fairly fragile at this point so if you want it solid enough to fry or pop in the even then I’d recommend an additional 24 to 48 hours.
What About The Whey
The whey has multiple uses, particularly as it is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.
You can drink it as it is, use it as the replacement liquid for smoothies or shakes, it can be used in the process of fermenting vegetables and can be poured into your compost bin to help produce quality compost to name a few.
If you do compost, be sure to remove any left over remnents of the solids as it isn’t normally recommended to compost dairy products.
Voila, We Have Cheese!
My plan for the Paneer cheese is to fry it off in a pan of hot oil, prepare a curry sauce and add the cheese along with spinach.
Follow HopPilot.com to get the recipe for a tikka masala curry paste, homemade onion bhajees and the finished dish.