Making paneer (Indian cottage cheese) at home is a simple and satisfying process. Here’s a foolproof method to make paneer from scratch:
1 liter of full-fat milk
2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar
Cheesecloth or muslin cloth
Strainer or colander
- Boil the Milk:
Pour the milk into a clean, heavy-bottomed pot and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or scorching.
2. Add Acid:
Once the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and slowly add the lemon juice or white vinegar while stirring gently. This will cause the milk to curdle, and you will see the whey separating from the curds. If you find that the milk isn’t curdling, add a little more lemon juice or vinegar.
3. Strain and Drain the Curds:
As the milk fully curdles and the whey becomes clear, turn off the heat. Line a strainer or colander with cheesecloth or muslin cloth and place it over a bowl to collect the whey.
Gently pour the curdled milk into the lined strainer. The whey will drain out, leaving you with the curds in the cloth.
4. Rinse the Curds (Optional):
If you want to remove the tanginess of the lemon juice or vinegar, you can rinse the curds under cold water very briefly. This step is optional and depends on your preference.
5. Tie and Hang the Cloth:
Gather the edges of the cloth and tie them together. Hang the cloth with the curds for about 30 minutes to 1 hour to let excess whey drain out. You can hang it on a kitchen faucet or tie it to a cabinet handle.
6. Shape and Store:
After the curds have drained and formed a solid mass, you can shape the paneer. Place the wrapped paneer on a plate or shallow dish and put a heavy object on top to press it gently. This will help it firm up.
After 2-3 hours, the paneer will be ready to use. Unwrap it and cut it into cubes or slices as needed. You can store the paneer in the freezer for 2-3 weeks and in the refrigerator for upto 2-3 days.
8. Use the paneer:
Remember that the quality of your paneer depends on the quality of the milk you use. Using full-fat milk will yield the best results. Additionally, you can adjust the amount of lemon juice or vinegar based on how quickly your milk curdles. This method is quite forgiving, so feel free to experiment and find the balance that works best for you.
Making low-fat paneer (Indian cottage cheese) involves using skimmed or low-fat milk instead of full-fat milk. Since low-fat milk has less fat content, the resulting paneer may be slightly less creamy than traditional paneer made from full-fat milk. However, it still provides a good source of protein and can be a healthier alternative in your cooking.
Make the paneer even better – Try masala paneer!