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    Wiki: Paneer Cheese Making Recipe

    This Wiki Article is a generic recipe for making Paneer. Paneer, sometimes spelt Panir is a simple traditional South Asian India originated cooking cheese used in many vegetarian dishes. Paneer is a direct acid, semi-soft, non-melting, non-salted fresh cheese.

    Direct acid means an acidic solution, lemon juice is added directly to the milk to lower the pH and cause the milk to separate into curds and whey. Semi-soft because the texture is soft as the curds are lightly pressed to expel more whey and make a denser cheese. Non-salted versus many cheeses where salt is used primarily to reduce acidification from the micro-organisms in a starter culture. Fresh as the cheese is not aged (also called ripening), and thus can be eaten imediately.

    Paneer is a very easy to make cheese as it i) does not use a starter culture to acidify the milk, and ii) as it is fresh so the learning curve time is minimal versus some cheeses which require months to years to ripen. The consequence of no culture is a very milky tasting cheese. The consequence of being soft and moist is this cheese has a short shelf life, consume within 1 week.

    Paneer can be eaten strait but is more commonly used as a cooking cheese as it absorbs the flavours of whatever it is cooked or fried with.

    Paneer is very similar to Spanish Queso Blanco (White Cheese) except that Queso Blanco commonly uses vinegar to acidify the milk and is not lightly pressed.

    Namaste!

    Equipment

    • Vat to hold and in which to cook the milk.
    • Stirring tool.
    • Colander.
    • Cheese Cloth.
    • Hygenic (as will get wet) weight to press ball of curds or weight wrapped in plastic bag.
    • Draining surface, ie draining area on side of sink or under dish rack.
    • Food grade storage container.

    Ingredients

    Makes ~1.0 kg / ~1.75 pounds of Paneer Cheese:

    Directions

    1. Pour milk into vat.
    2. Heat milk and stir frequently to ensure even temperature and so that milk doesn’t catch/form skin where heat is applied, ie bottom of vat.
    3. When gently simmering, turn down heat and dribble in diluted lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time while gently stirring thoroughly to distribute. Stop adding lemon juice when milk has separated into large fluffy curds and green transparent watery whey.
      • Note: All milk’s are different (raw, pasteurized and homogenized, skim, 2%, full fat etc) and lemon juice acidity varies by type and age of lemon, thus above acid amount is minimum recommended. Add more juice while gently simmering until get good separation.
      • Note: Adding excess acid makes the Paneer softer.
    4. Let sit and when curds no longer float (~10 minutes), ladle or pour the curds and whey through a fine weave cheese cloth lining a colander placed in sink allowing whey to be disposed down drain.
      • Note: Place colander on top of container if want to retain and use whey.
    5. When curds are reasonably drained, bring 4 corners of cheesecloth together and lift curds up out of colander, then twist cloth until curds are in ball at end (middle of cloth). Squeeze lightly to remove more whey.
      • Note: If whey is milky, then you have not used enough lemon juice.
    6. Place the ball on flat draining surface at room temp, place heavy weight (roughly equal to the initial weight of milk) on top, and let sit for ~1-2 hours until the Paneer is firm with a springy consistency.
      • Note: Excessive weight or time will result in excessive moisture/whey loss and the Paneer will be too hard and not melt in mouth.
    7. Use cheese immediately or place in food grade covered container in fridge for up to 2 weeks.
    8. Cut into 1-2 cm/0.5-1 inch cubes or crumble to use.

    Notes

    • Optional: Use vinegar instead of lemon juice, ensure do not add excess otherwise Paneer will smell of vinegar which is generaly unwanted.
    • Optional: Common Paneer flavoring is to add a pinch of cumin seeds, pinch of dried diced mint leaves, and a pinch of pepper to milk before heating.

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