Another item ticked off in my mental To-Do check list! Just need to make note to I, myself & me to read the instructions properly.
The original Paneer recipe uses 1 US gallon or 3.78 litres of full cream (fresh!) milk whilst I used 1 litre of fresh full cream milk. When I think of the word fresh, it means fresh from origin and I don’t think that is the right word to be used for milk nowadays as we buy them from the supermarkets, off the shelf. So Fresh in this case, means fresh from the supermarket before it’s recommended expiry date. It still works.
Back to the recipe, it calls for 1/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed!) or 1/4 cup white vinegar (distilled or imitation? again, no mention). Based on past experience with pickling, please use distilled vinegar, if you are not into squeezing the lemon, as some brands of imitation vinegar are really meant to be used as a disinfectant for mopping. I kid you not, many of the ‘aunties’ or ‘older women normally home makers’ have told me that they, like me, add imitation white vinegar to their pails for mopping. Less chemicals less harm to our lungs.
Oops! I lost my train of recipe there! Sorry. My big big mistake in creating a sourish paneer was by adding 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice to my 1 litre of fresh full cream milk. Didn’t taste the difference when I used it in my Quiche – Spinach / Lorraine though I will make the calculations right in the recipe below.
1 litre full cream milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice or distilled white vinegar
metal pot, preferably stainless steel without any non-stick coating
sieve or colander
plastic basin or a bowl that the sieve or colander can fit in
muslin or think cloth (men’s cloth handkerchief works great here, if you still have one around!)
small or side plate that will fit into the colander
cans of food or something heavy
- Prepare the collectors (sieve, basin, muslin, cans).
- Place colander into basin, make sure it sits nicely as the basic will act as a collector of the water/whey
- Place the muslin on top of the colander, make sure that the ends are tucked in under the colander to prevent the muslin from slipping and your losing your cheese.
- Bring the milk to the boil in the pot. Make sure it just starts to boil (big bubbles) not boiling!!
- Turn off the stove / Remove from heat source.
- Add the lemon juice, stir and let sit. The lemon juice will curdle the milk, turning it into lumps or bits of white stuff.
- After about 10 minutes or so, you should see a white surface, from the soft cheese forming.
- Pour the contents into the colander. Make sure the muslin doesn’t slip!
- Allow the whey to drain into the basin. You can lift up the muslin to help the liquid drain into the basin at this stage.
- When the liquids are drained, fold the corners of the muslin over the soft cheese and gently press down to release any further liquids.
- Place a plate on top of the muslin and weigh down with the food cans. Let sit for about half an hour.
- Remove the plate & food cans. The muslin/cheese should have cooled sufficiently for you to squeeze (by hand) any excess liquids that might still be trapped in the cheese. You can add salt at this stage if you wish (cottage cheese) or leave it.
- Transfer to your container of choice and use as a spread (cream cheese) or in your cooking.
I hope you will enjoy a better cheese than I did with my experience!