If you’ve ever wanted to try making homemade cheese, this recipe for Homemade Paneer is a perfect place to start! It’s super easy and makes a light cheese great by itself or in spicy Indian recipes!
I have wanted to learn to make my own cheese for years. If I were to have predicted, ricotta or mozzarella probably would have been my first endeavor but instead it turned out to be Homemade Paneer. Go figure.
I think my interest in cheese making stemmed from my original locavore experiment when I was trying to source all my protein and produce from a 100-mile radius over a Colorado winter. That lent itself to dabbling in a number of homesteading practices like root cellaring and canning.
I find it very gratifying to create food that I’d normally buy. I love learning new things and often find exploring making ingredients from scratch if often easier than one would guess. The results are usually something better tasting than what can be purchased too. In this case I love cheese so checking out making it myself was a natural pursuit.
For those unfamiliar, paneer is fresh cheese made by curdling cow’s milk with something acidic like lemon juice or vinegar. It is popular in South Asian recipes as well as eating by itself. Paneer is formed into a block which can be sliced or cubed and used in cooked dishes without it melting.
Before making Homemade Paneer I’d done some research and realized it is an easy process. Much like other recipes for ingredients normally purchased, after making it I was energized to try making other cheeses. Whole milk is heated and lemon juice added. While stirring, the milk separates into curds and whey just as referenced in the Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme. As the curds form (they look like cottage cheese curds) the liquid or whey has a green tinge so it’s obvious when it’s forming.
Once the curds have formed they are compressed in cheesecloth, rinsed and allowed to drain. Finally, the compressed curds and refrigerated with a weight to form a round block of fresh cheese. It has a light flavor and dense texture. Paneer is great for salads, in cooked dishes and crumbled with nuts and honey. I’ll be sharing it in a delicious vegetarian recipe next week so please check back!