Learn how to make paneer from raw milk, a soft cottage cheese from India, which is prepared by curdling hot milk without the use of rennet. You can make it from scratch at home with a minimum of effort and ingredients.
I was browsing through the recipes on my blog recently and realized that I haven’t shared one of my favorite recipes here. I shared a recipe using paneer sometime back, but not how to make it. Therefore, this recipe needs a post of its own. My video tutorial on the you tube channel, which I posted 2 years back has had many thousands of views and is still going strong.
WHAT IS PANEER ?
Paneer is a popular cottage cheese from the northern region of India. It is a fresh and non-melting cheese which you make by curdling hot milk with a food acid. This process separates the curds from the whey. Unlike most cheese recipes which use rennet as a coagulating agent, paneer is rennet free. Therefore, it is an ideal choice of cheese for strict lacto – vegetarians. I for one, never buy cheese with rennet that is extracted from the stomach lining of a baby calf. So we buy other kinds of cheese. Like the one made from microbial rennet or synthetic rennet.
HOW TO MAKE PANEER FROM RAW MILK?
The process to make paneer is very simple. You add a food acid to boiling hot milk. This will separate the casein and whey protein, and then you collect the casein protein, or milk curds. The last step is to press the curds to make fresh paneer. Depending on the recipe you want to use this fresh cheese for, you adjust the duration of pressing accordingly.
WHAT FOOD ACIDS CAN YOU USE ?
Generally in India, they use lemon juice, citric acid, vinegar or sour curds. My husband had a trick, he collected the the whey water from an earlier paneer and used it. To get the best paneer use full fat raw milk. The texture of the curds will be dense and soft.
INGREDIENTS & TOOLS YOU WILL NEED
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- Raw Milk – 1 Liter
- Juice of a small lemon ( roughly 2 tablespoons )
- Thin muslin or cheese cloth
- Heavy bottom pot
HOW TO MAKE PANEER FROM RAW MILK
1. In a heavy bottom pan, cook the milk and bring it to a boil and switch off the heat.
2. Add the lemon juice immediately and gradually. Don’t add all of it at once.
3. Once the milk curdles stop adding the lemon juice.
4. Pass the curds through a thin muslin cloth to strain out the whey.
5. Bundle up the whole thing and press it under a heavy weight for about 10 min for a softer cheese. I usually use the pot containing the whey and press it. If the recipe called for a harder paneer press it for 30 min.
HOW TO MAKE PANEER FROM RAW MILK VIDEO TUTORIAL
TOP TIPS TO MAKE PANEER
- To get the best texture use always full fat raw milk. The texture of the curds will be dense and soft.
- Use only fresh milk which is not more than 2 days old. Avoid milk that is old. The bacteria in the milk can cause severe bloating and even food poisoning.
- Add the food acid only to boiling milk, this will give thick curds.
- To make a creamy paneer, add 1/2 cup full fat heavy cream to the milk and use 2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice.
- The whey water can be used for cooking immediately like in soups or rice. That too only if its fresh. You can also drink the whey.
HOW LONG CAN YOU STORE PANEER ?
- Storage – Paneer can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Submerge it in the whey water to keep it fresh and soft. The whey will keep it moist and retain the fats and prevents it from drying out.
- Freezing Paneer – Paneer can be frozen, but the texture will not remain the same. Because it will taste slightly powdery when it is thawed. Therefore, I recommend making it fresh and using it as quickly as possible.
- Use quickly – Old paneer can cause stomach upset. I once ate a paneer dish in a restaurant and had a severe stomach ache immediately. I figured out, that it was the paneer. Therefore, I only eat what I make myself. When the paneer is old, the bacteria in the milk can even cause food poisoning. So use it up as quickly as possible. Storing for more than 3 days is really not advisable. My intention is not to scare you from making paneer, but these are just my personal experiences. Fresh food is always the best anyway.
HOW TO USE PANEER ?
Paneer is used for sweet and salty dishes in India. I use it for making Potato Dauphinois. You can also just add black Himalaya salt with a little pepper and use it for your sandwich. Other ideas would be to use on pizza rolls, pastry puffs etc. And then there are tons of Indian dishes to choose from anyway, if your run out of ideas.