Today we are making Palak Paneer which is fresh Indian cheese and spinach. Right now we are making our paneer cheese. Paneer is a fresh Indian cheese which is very similar to the Latin caso blanco and the French fromage blanc. Paneer cheese is made simply by bringing milk to a boil and adding an acid agent such as lemon juice or white vinegar and curdling the milk, then straining it through cheese cloth, and pressing it briefly.
- Lemon juice or vinegar
- Cheese cloth
First we you will need to have your ingredients handy so we can start this delicious cheese making process. If you have never made cheese before then don’t worry too much because it is going to be just fine. Follow my instructions and you’ll be finished and proud you didn’t let it scare you off. Turn your stove on and place your sauce pan over top of the heated element. Take your large measuring cup of milk and add it carefully into the sauce pan as you don’t want to spill milk on your burner; it does not smell very nice burned. This needs your full attention so stay close and keep stirring the milk. It should take about 10 minutes of constant stirring before your milk comes to a boil. Once the milk has come to a frothing boil, quickly turn the heat of your burner down to low.
Now you can start adding in the acid agent. You can use either lemon juice or white vinegar. Today I’m using white vinegar. Start out pouring in only 3 tablespoons of vinegar. With your milk still on low heat,
using your spoon, stir the milk and vinegar mixture in one direction. Keep stirring until those lovely curds start separating from the greenish whey. Now, if you have been stirring and don’t see your curds separating from the whey then it is safe to add another tablespoon of vinegar. Stir again until the curds separate properly. When you have completed that process and you have some separated curds, it’s time to transfer our cheese to the cheese cloth in our strainer or colander.
Lay your cheese cloth over the strainer and using your slotted spoon, start scooping out the large curds and placing them in the cheese cloth. When you’ve finished that you can just pour the remaining cheese curds and whey right through the cheese cloth. Be cautious not to let the hot steam burn you. Now you will need to let the cheese cool in the cloth for a few minutes until it is cool enough to handle without burning you. Once your cheese is cooled to a proper temperature, gather all four corners of your cloth in your hands and twist down to where the cheese curds are to remove the excess whey. Be careful because the cheese will still be a little bit hot. After squeezing out the excess whey, wrap the cheese up in the cheese cloth and place in the strainer weighing it down with a heavy weight, like a pan filled with water or a grill press. Leave the cheese under the weight for 5 to 20 minutes and it will be finished.