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Beginner Cheesemaking: A Simple Paneer Cheese

a pan of homemade paneer cheese flavoured with wild rampsramps

Paneer is the simplest cheese to make and the one I recommend starting with as it requires no rennet, no special equipment, and it can be made with almost any milk you have access too — except UHT-pasteurized.

Paneer cheese is equally delicious in savoury and sweet recipes, once pressed it can be fried, grilled, or even smoked, and it comes together quickly with almost no effort. It's a foolproof beginner's cheese.

  • Author: The Peasant's Daughter
  • Prep Time: 1.5 hours
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1.5 lbs 1x
  • Category: Cheese
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Hindu

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 litres of milk (I use raw whole milk, but any milk will do except for UHT-pasteurized)
  • 1/2 cup of any vinegar or 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (no pulp) or 1 pint of yogurt or kefir
  • 1 tablespoon of fine sea salt (make sure it's not iodized)
  • Fresh herbs and/or spices (completely optional)

Equipment

  • A heavy-bottomed pot that can hold the milk
  • A wooden spoon or silicone spatula
  • Slotted spoon
  • Something to use as a make-shift cheese press (see recipe notes for ideas)

Instructions

  1. Pour your milk into the large pot and set it on the stovetop over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir it constantly as it slowly comes to a boil, then remove it from the heat immediately.
  3.  Add your acid to the pot and slowly and carefully stir it once or twice, no more.
  4. Allow the pot to rest for 5-10 minutes. The curds will separate from the liquid whey.
  5. Carefully spoon out the curds with a slotted spoon/skimmer or small mesh colander into a larger colander suspended over a bowl.
  6. Add your salt and stir.
  7. If you're adding any herbs and/or spices, this is the time to do so before pressing.
  8. Press the curd into fresh paneer as per the recipe notes, or skip the pressing and enjoy as-is.
  9. If you are pressing, the paneer is finished once it has come to room temperature.
  10. Store in the fridge up to a week, or freeze, and enjoy.