Home made Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese)
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Posted by Gaya

This is a tastier vegetarian option than Tofu & can be used to make many paneer dishes at home. Ex Saag paneer, Butter paneer, Chili paneer etc.

* 1 L or quart of 3.8% whole cow milk
* 3-4 tbsp of an acid; lemon juice is used in this example but you can substitute with lime juice, vinegar, or leftover whey from a previous batch of paneer.

Bring the milk to a temperature just below the boil (80 C/16 F) then turn off the heat.
Add lemon juice, or citric acid 5 ml (one teaspoon) at a time and keep stirring the milk after each addition, until the milk separates; the solid curds will separate from the green watery whey.
Allow the curds and whey to cool for a half hour (or until still warm, but at a temperature you can handle), then strain through cheese cloth in a strainer. You may wish to save some or all of the whey; it can be used to make your next batch of paneer, producing a slightly more tender cheese than lemon juice. Rinse the curds with fresh water.
Wrap the cheese cloth on itself in order to squeeze out moisture from the curds. The more you squeeze, the firmer the resulting paneer.
Shape the paneer, still in the cheese cloth, into a block, wrapping it tightly with the cloth. By putting a cutting board or something heavy and flat on top of the paneer, you can force out more moisture, and make it into a firmer block, suitable for slicing and frying.
Soak the block of cheese in chilled water for 2-3 hours This is optional, as the intention is to improve appearance and texture.
Use as directed in your recipe or put in the freezer for later use-can be kept for 2-3 months if frozen.

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