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Homemade Paneer Cheese

This year - 2014 - started our adventures in cheesemaking. We're not very accomplished yet, but we are trying! We've made homemade marscarpone, homemade ricotta, and homemade labneh korat (a yogurt cheese). Tonight I decided to give homemade paneer a whirl while the boys were asleep.


Paneer is an Indian cheese with a a mild flavor and slightly chewy consistency. It holds its shape well and doesn't melt; so you can saute it, grill it, or crumble it into just about anything. And it's a must for classic Indian dishes such as palak paneer. One of my friends gave me one of her recipes: Paneer Pizza. "Sauté the paneer in tandoori spice, spread over flatbread, bake, then drizzle with yogurt and chopped cilantro." Yum, Priya! I can't wait to try it.

Paneer is so easy to make, requiring nothing more than milk and lemon juice. I added a little bit of salt.

  • 8 C whole milk (make sure it's not ultra-pasturized...best is raw milk, if you can find it)
  • 3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 t freshly ground sea salt

Line a colander with a cheesecloth. In a large souppot over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil. Take care not to let it boil over. When it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and salt. Stir with a spatula until the milk separates into curds and whey. If it doesn't seem to be separating completely, add another tablespoon of lemon juice.


Pour the curds and whey into the cheesecloth. Let drain for 10 minutes.


Once it has cooled for 10 minutes, it should be cool enough to handle. Gather the corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. This can be used it immediately as cottage cheese or ricotta-style cheese.


To press it into a solid cheese, place the cheesecloth - wrapped into a bundle - in the middle of a plate with a lip to catch the liquid that will be expressed. Put another plate on top and press until the bundle has flattened into a disk approximately 1" tall. Leave the plate on and weight it down with something heavy - I used eight grapefruits.

Press the cheese for at least an hour. Drain off the liquid and unwrap the paneer. Use or refrigerate immediately. The cheese will firm up even more in the fridge.

You'll see this tomorrow in my palak paneer. But, if it tastes good, I'll make another batch to try Priya's Paneer Pizza.

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