Making paneer (or panir) is a simple exercise in acid/heat precipitation of protein. The only challenge is not to burn the milk while you heat it to hot but not boiling. A thick bottomed stainless steel pot should do, but lacking that, try heating the milk in a water bath so that the volume of water stabilizes the temperature. Here is my recipe for panir:
Assemble the ingredients and equipment: one gallon of fresh milk in a stainless steel pot with a thick, heat dispersing bottom 1/4 cup white vinegar
Heat the milk slowly, with occasional stirring, until it is 85 C. If you do not have a thick bottomed pot, heat the milk in a double boiler so that it does not scortch on the bottom.
Once you reach 85 C, remove from the fire. Skim the “skin” from the surface of the scalded milk (hot protein, exposed to the air, forms the skin.)
Stir in the 1/4 cup white vinegar, making sure to evenly mix it in as soon as it is added. You should see clabbering within a few seconds, and it should be fairly complete after a minute.
Cover and chill to solidify the curds, around 10 C.
At 10 C, the curds will be firm and well formed. Do not stir the curds and whey!
Line a collander with a fine cloth (here, a handkerchief which has been boiled to sterilize it), place on top of a large pot and decant the whey through the cloth. After the whey has been decanted, gently move the curds into the cloth.
Here, the curds are ready to be drained. Pick up the four corners of the handkerchief and secure with a double loop of a strong rubberband.
Hang the assembly by the rubberband to drain for several hours or overnight in a cool place.
Open the drained curds, and rewrap to place in a press. Here is a page describing how to prepare a “Fankhauser” press from materials which may be around your home.
The press has been assembled, and we now wait until the next day to unwrap our present of paneer!
Here is the round of paneer (the follower from the press in in the background.
Place on a non-reactive plate, and use immediately, or seal in a plastic bag and use within two weeks. (Fresher is better.) P.S. We used a little of the fresh curds to make Sag Paneer before pressing, so you should get more paneer than this from a gallon (about 1 lb 14 oz or so)
Setting Up a Home Made Cheese Press
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