Paneer cheese is just as easy and quick as Fresh Farmer’s Cheese, but you can do something kind of amazing with it. You can sear it to get golden crispy edges.. just think about that for a minute… Oh, and did I mention it’s amazing with smoky spices in it? Kind of like the bacon of cheese. Smoky, deep, a little spicy even if you like. You can even use it in curries. I can’t decide which version I like better, the curry spiced one, or the smoky paprika spiced version. So make both and you decide. You can make it plain without spices of course as well (which might lend better for curries). Either way, yum!
Before you start, read this post about choosing milk for cheesemaking, and about equipment here.
SPICED PANEER CHEESE
yield: over 1 lb
1 gallon whole milk, NOT ultra-pasteurized
1/2 cup lime juice
desired spiced, optional (omit for plain paneer)*
2 T kosher salt (or to taste)
Prepare your strainer. Line a large stainless or enamel colander with butter muslin or nut milk bag in a clean sink.
Pour milk into a heavy bottomed pot. (Stainless steel or nonreactive)
Whisk in spices (reserving salt for later)
Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until milk reaches 200 degrees F.
You’ll know you’re getting close when the milk gets foamy. Don’t let it boil though, as the cheese won’t taste quite as good.
Turn off the heat and add whichever acid you have chosen. Stir very gently just to combine. If you don’t see the curds separate add more acid, 1 T at a time. Stir gently for 2 minutes. This helps the curds release more whey.
Drain for 2-3 minutes, then sprinkle salt and any other seasonings and quickly fold in.
Let drain for a few minutes, then lightly squeeze the muslin to release more whey.
Gather the ends of the muslin and twist to release more whey. Lay a plate and place a weight (filling your empty milk just with water or a pot works well) on top.
Press for 15-30 minutes, then cool to further firm cheese.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 7-10 days.
Use 2-3 T curry powder
Smoky Spiced Paneer:
Use 2-3 T smoked paprika, 1 tsp ancho chili powder, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and use smoked salt instead of plain kosher.
Paneer can by seared in a hot skillet. Heat a drizzle of olive oil or coconut oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Add sliced or cubed paneer and flip when browned. Cook until browned on other side.
Sprinkle with salt if desired while hot.