You don’t need to have your own cow or goat to make your own cheese. You can do it with just a few simple common ingredients you can find at the grocery store. While some cheeses require more complicated methods and specialized supplies, Indian Paneer is one of the easiest cheeses I’ve ever made.
Paneer is a soft Indian cheese that’s has small curds. It’s very similar to our cottage cheese. I started making my own paneer because I wanted to make sure that the cottage cheese I was eating wasn’t made with milk taken from cows that were given bovine growth hormone. Making my own paneer was my solution when I couldn’t find any cottage cheese labeled BGH free.
The more fat your milk contains, the better the paneer will set up. I use whole raw milk from a local dairy but not all states allow consumers to purchase raw milk. If your state doesn’t allow this, whole milk from the grocery store will work just fine. Do not get 2%, 1% or skim milk. It will not set properly.
1 quart of whole or raw cows milk
1/3 cup lemon juice - fresh squeezed is best
1. Bring milk to just below the boiling point (176F). Turn off the heat.
2. Add the lemon juice one teaspoon at a time. Do NOT add it all at once. Keep stirring constantly while adding the lemon juice until the curds (the solid part) begin to separate from the whey (the watery part).
3. Let it cool for half enough until it’s cool enough to handle.
4. Strain the curds through a doubled layer of cheese cloth to separate the curds from the whey.
5. Rinse the curds with cold water.
6. Fold the cheese cloth up so the curds are firmly held inside and gently continue to press out the liquid. Leaving more liquid will make it more like cottage cheese. Leaving less liquid will make it a more solid block that is suitable to cut.
7. If you want it solid so you can cut it and fry it, place the still wrapped curds on a plate and set a heavy pot or cutting board on top if it. Place the whole thing in the refrigerator. This will press more liquid out of the curds and make it more solid.
Enjoy! You can add herbs like mint if you want to but I prefer mine with just a tiny bit of salt and pepper. Paneer does not melt but you can crumble it over salad or just eat it with fresh fruit. Very easy to make and delicious!