Paneer is a soft type of cheese used in many Indian-style dishes. It is fairly easy to prepare and works well in many dishes such as Saag Paneer, one of our favorites.
1 Liter whole millk
¼ cup vinegar or lemon juice
Directions and Notes:
1. Bring the milk to about 80 degrees Celsius (about 175 degrees Fahrenheit) and turn off the heat.
2. Add the vinegar or lemon juice one teaspoon at a time, stirring the milk as you add the acid. The curds will separate from the watery whey. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes until it’s cool enough to handle.
3. Strain the milk through a cheese cloth (or a steamer basket cloth from Chinese markets works as well). Rinse the curds with fresh water to help remove the taste of the acid. The whey can be discarded.
4. Use your hand to squeeze out additional moisture from the curds inside the cheese cloth. Then allow it to hang for 1-2 hours (optional) so more moisture can drip out from it. The more moisture that comes out of the cheese, the more firm the resulting cheese will be. Add some salt to the paneer before it becomes too set.
5. Another optional step for firmer paneer: Shape the paneer if desired and place something heavy (a bucket of water, a heavy box, etc.) on top of the paneer to continue forcing out more moisture for 1-3 more hours.
Note: The pictures here show the paneer after it was cut into pieces and fried in yellow-tinted oil. Before frying, the paneer will be white.