I’ve been fascinated by paneer since my first bite of saag paneer many years ago. It is a fresh cheese used in Indian cuisine. It doesn’t melt so you can add it to soups and various hot dishes and even BBQ it.
Like so many things, homemade paneer can’t be beat by grocery store varieties. It is simple to make and probably habit forming.
6 cups whole milk (or about 1.5 liters)
4 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
a medium, heavy bottomed stock pot (I use a 5 quart size)
an 18” square of thin cotton or cheese cloth
a long spoon
1 metal strainer that fits inside a large mixing bowl
Place the cloth over the strainer so the ends overlap the edges of it. Place strainer in mixing bowl and set aside.
Pour milk into stockpot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
While the milk heats, measure the vinegar and place in a cup near the stove.
Keep an eye on the milk. It will start to get small bubbles and then begin to rise, let it rise just below the top of the pot and then quickly remove from heat and pour in the vinegar. Stir a few times and let sit for 3-5 minutes. You will see the milk separate. The paneer will float up to the top and around it will be the yellow whey. If it doesn’t seem to separate add another tablespoon of vinegar.
Carefully pour everything into the cloth lined strainer. You can collect and save the whey (although I am not sure what to do with it…for example, you can use it instead of vinegar for your next batch or paneer, and some people use it to make chapati bread) or you could do what most people do and just toss it. That feels like a waste to me, so if you have some great uses for it, please met me know! Rinse the paneer in cold water for a few minutes and then squeeze the cloth to remove excess liquid. Be careful, even though you rinsed it with cold water the paneer will still be very hot. Take care to not burn yourself!
Place the paneer, tightly wrapped in cloth on a clean plate. Place a pot (I used a kettle) on top (filled 1/2 way with water for extra weight). Let stand for 1 hour for the most firm paneer. If you like your paneer less firm, then you can let it cool slightly, then slice.
Gently unwrap the cloth and behold your homemade paneer!
Isn’t it delicious!? Cut into cubes and use in your favorite recipe.