This beats the whey out of the store bought stuff!
I'd never have gotten around to quantitatively making this, paying attention to details had it not been for Boulangere's recreation of Jennifer Perillos recipe for Ricotta cheese. Paneer cheese tends to be taken for granted especially when its so easy to pop over to the neighboring Indian (or 'desi') store to pick up a block. Its when one tastes the real home made version that it dawns upon how hard, chewy & reeking of acetic acid, the store bought version is. Needless to say, I'll be reaching out for the milk & lemons the next time I make a dish with Paneer.
Thanks Boulangere & sdebrango, for getting me off my toosh & getting me to fall in love all over again with the real deal.'
& yes, there really IS an Indian recipe made with less than 5 ingredients! —Panfusine
Add the water to the a heavy bottom 5 quart pan and set to heat on medium- high. Add the milk into the pan (adding the milk directly to the pan & heating it tends to scorch the bottom resulting in brown bits of caramelized milk solids. adding the milk to water tends to minimize that))
Squeeze out the juice from 4 lemons. Strain to remove pulp and seeds. set aside. Moisten a large piece of cheesecloth & set over a mesh strainer. Set the strainer over a large container to contain the whey.
When the milk boils over, remove from heat & IMMEDIATELY add the lemon juice . Stir the milk to ensure that the acid is well mixed. You should see the milk curdle almost instantly. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Pour the curdled mix into the cheesecloth covered strainer. Gather the corners of the cloth & Twist to squeeze out as much whey as you can. Take care, the whey is still scalding hot!
Once most of the whey has been squeezed out and the cheese is cooled down to a point where you can handle it with your bare hands, Gently untwist the cheesecloth and cover the ball of cheese with it. Place a container over the cheese and weigh down with a heavy can until it completely cools. Walk away from the contraption, leave it alone to its own devices for the next 2 hrs!
Unwrap the cheesecloth, The texture will now be set, but yielding. This is great if you're looking to crumble & shred it for your recipe. To get a firm consistency for cutting into cubes & frying, wrap the round block of Paneer with some sturdy kitchen paper towel ( to wick away any stray moisture ) then tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.