Keyword cottage cheese, homemade cheese, Indian cottage cheese, Indian food, Indian paneer cheese, palak paneer, paneer, paneer cheese
Prep Time 15minutes
Pressing time 2hours30minutes
2litresfull fat full cream milk(not UHT milk)
Bring 2 litres/2 quarts of fresh full cream milk just to the boil in a large saucepan. Full fat whole milk makes a creamier paneer.
Remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of vinegar. The milk should start to curdle and separate. You may need to add another tablespoon of vinegar if it isn't separating enough. If the milk still doesn't separate, try heating it more until it starts to separate. Leave it to sit for about 3-5 minutes and the cheese curds should completely separate and leave a greenish liquid (whey) behind.
Line a large colander with muslin/cheesecloth. Run cold water through the cheese curds to stop it from cooking and to remove the vinegar. Drain the mixture until most of the water has been removed.
Gather the edges of the muslin/cheesecloth and bring together creating a ball with the curd strands. Squeeze excess water gently from the ball you have created.
Unwrap your cheese curd ball, leaving the curds clumped in the centre of your cheesecloth/muslin. Shape the curds into a round shape using the cheesecloth/muslin and your hands, compressing the curds to bring the them together. Sprinkle with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt if you want to salt your paneer.
Shape into a round (or any other shape you desire) of paneer so it's about 2cms/3/4 " thick. Tightly wrap the paneer with the muslin/cheesecloth to help keep it's shape. Make sure you keep the cheesecloth/muslin lying flat against the paneer to help keep the surface of your paneer smooth.
Place your wrapped paneer on a chopping board with a plate on top, or in between 2 plates to compress your paneer. Ensure the plates you use can withstand a heavy weight on it. Using a can or heavy pots/bowls that are about 2-3 kgs , place on top of the board/plates/paneer so the paneer can compress. Leave it for between 1-2 hours on the bench. I generally use a can that is about 2.5 kgs/ 5.5 lbs. You may want to tip off any whey that accumulates once or twice during the pressing.
Remove the weights and refrigerate your paneer for a couple of hours prior to cutting. Slice into cubes. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks/ or freeze your diced paneer for about 3 months in an airtight container.
Adding the salt is optional.Make sure the vinegar is flushed from the cheese curds with the cold water.Freeze diced for up to 3 months so you can use straight from the freezer or refrigerate for 2 weeks in an airtight container.Make sure you use full fat, full cream, fresh milk and not UHT milk. Add 1/4 cup cream per litre/quart of milk if you want to make a creamier paneer.