Making Paneer(Indian Cheese)
Couple of days back, I made cheese. Indian paneer precisely. Back at home in India, growing up, we always had our milk delivered everyday by a dairy man. Directly from the cow to the home. Raw milk. Not pasteurized.I vividly remember our milkman, riding his bicycle, with multiple milk cans hanging out on its side. Someone will come to the door with a pot as soon as he arrived. He asked,how much ?And we said,1 Kg or 3 Pao or something like that? “1 pao”, looked like a size of a metal cup.
One of our immediate duty was to warm the milk or we ran the chance of spoiling and curdling it.We never drank our milk cold and without sugar.To this day, the concept of drinking cold milk with no sugar sounds weird to me.Not adding sugar is certainly healthy though.
Most Indian family has the habit of drinking a glass of milk before going to the bed. Truth be told,I never liked drinking milk but I did like the curd(yogurt). Making curd (yogurt) is another everyday routine of most Indian. My Mom’s nightly routine for years have been setting the milk with starter right before going to the bed.You wake up in the morning with fresh yogurt ready.
Many times, if my mom feared that milk will spoil before we could finish drinking it,she made cheese out of it.I was thinking all this,when i was making it with our kids.
This is a great exercise to do with kids. Mine loved watching the whey and milk solids separating as soon as vinegar was added(Chemistry lesson anyone?). Draining the whey through the cheesecloth and hanging it down to drip for some time was quite fascinating to them.
3/4 – 1 gallon of whole milk
1/8 to 1/4 cup white vinegar or lemon juice.
- In a big pot, bring the milk to boil. Once it comes to boil. Add vinegar to it.It will curdle immediately. If it doesn’t curdle completely, add little more vinegar or lemon juice to it.
- Stir it to make sure milk solids are separated from the whey.
- Spread the cheese cloth on the top of another big pot and drain the whey through the curdled milk. Once all the whey is out, hang it over the sink, making sure whey is completely drained.
- Once done.You can press it down with something heavy like a skillet and let it set in a fridge. It flattens the cheese and makes the cutting easier later.
I like the cut cheese cubes with just a touch of sugar or honey. There are many Indian sweets and savory dishes that you can make with this.I made saag paneer using it.