Friday, April 4, 2008

Paneer Cheese

I used this recipe for my brother's birthday dinner this past weekend- it was really simple, and had a very creamy (if slightly flavorless) result. Of course, for cheese to really have flavor it has to be aged, which this isn't. It's lightly lemony, and very creamy. The neat thing about this cheese is it doesn't melt- you can fry it, and it will retain its shape. Original recipe can be found here, but there are identical recipes all over the web. Directions include my own comments.

Paneer Cheese
10 cups whole milk
2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup lemon juice

1)Bring the milk to a full boil in a 6 quart pot, stirring occasionally. It will foam up at the end- a bigger pot might even be better. I ended up needing to stir, blow, and turn down the heat to keep this from boiling over.
2) Add the salt and lemon juice, and remove from heat. Slowly stir around the edge of the pot as the curd forms in the center, then let sit for 2 minutes. You'll be left with a mess of curds floating in yellow, clear liquid (curds and whey!)
3) Pour into a colander lined with a triple thickness of damp cheese cloth. Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth around the curds, and twist gently to get as much liquid out as possible. Wrap the whole package in a kitchen towel and put in a bowl, then cover with another bowl either filled with water or some heavy cans- this will compress the cheese and push any remaining liquid out. Let stand at room temperature for an hour, or until firm. Pour off any accumulated liquid and store in the refrigerator.

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