Introduction: How to Make Paneer, the Indian Cheese
Cheese is made by coagulating the milk which separates curd and whey from milk.Traditionally Rennet, a coagulating agent, is used for this. Rennet is an enzyme extracted from the stomachs of baby calves or baby lambs when they are on a milk-only diet. In India most people do not eat cheese made with rennet. Instead we use a vegetarian method to make cheese, which is very popularly known as Paneer.
This instructable will guide you on how to make Indian Cheese, which is very simple and does not require many ingredients.
Step 1: What You Need...
- A suitable vessel to boil the required amount of milk. Here I have taken a vessel of about 2 litres capacity for boiling one litre of milk
- A strainer
- Another vessel to hold the strainer in which the whey will be collected
- A cheese cloth or any other suitable material to filter out the whey. Sterilize the cloth in boiling water for few minutes before using.
Step 2: Lemon Juice
We will use Lemon juice instead of rennet to coagulate the milk. Juice from one medium sized lemon is enough to coagulate half a litre of milk. So we need juice from two lemons for one litre of milk.
Extract juice from one lemon and remove the seeds from the juice. We will use another one if required.
Step 3: Boil the Milk
Take one litre of milk in the vessel and keep it over medium heat. Heat till the milk starts to boil.
Step 4: Add Lemon Juice
- Once the milk starts to boil, put off the flame.
- First add the lemon juice from one lemon into the boiling milk
- Stir with a ladle and see whether the milk is properly coagulated. The third picture shows that the milk is partially coagulated.
- Add more lemon juice in increments and stir well.
You can see in the last picture that the curd and whey has separated after adding juice from two medium sized lemons.
Step 5: Strain Out Whey
- Place the strainer over the vessel to collect the whey
- Spread the cheese cloth over the strainer
- Pour the curdled milk over the cheese cloth. Most of the whey will be filtered out and the curd will be collected over the cheese cloth
- Spread some salt over the curd and mix well
Step 6: Add Weight to Strain Out Excess Whey
- Now fold the cheese cloth over the curd
- Press with your fingers to remove as much whey as possible, mostly from the edges.
- Place a weight over the folded cheese cloth. Here I have used a container filled with about two and a half litres of water.
- Leave it overnight so that all whey will be drained out from the curd.
After about 12 hours you can unfold the cheese cloth and remove Paneer. You can store it in the fridge for a week, If you do not wish to use it now.
You can discard the whey. However, our pet dogs like the whey and we feed it to them.
Step 8: Use Paneer to Make Delicious Dishes
Paneer can be grated or cut it into cubes as required and used to make delicious Indian dishes like Paneer Butter Masala, Mutter Paneer (Peas & Paneer), Palak Paneer (Spinach with Paneer) etcetera.
We made Paneer Butter Masala with this which you can see in the last picture. I am posting another instructable on how to make Paneer Butter Masala soon.
Enjoy the home-made vegetarian cheese anyway you like...