Cheesemaking at home – Paneer

Homemade paneer

Last Christmas I bought Mr Omnivore a cheesemaking kit. Unfortunately when we opened it up you needed a lot more equipment than was included in the kit and the recipes were very complicated, so we gave up on the kit and forgot about it.

Recently I decided to investigate cheesemaking further, to see if there were any easier recipes that we could make with what had been included in the kit. I stumbled across the website of Fias Co Farm (love the name!) while searching for a mozzarella recipe. I read the mozzarella recipe, saw how difficult it was, then turned to the recipes they recommend for beginners – paneer and fromage blanc (a kind of cream cheese).

We tried making both of these, but I’m going to talk about making paneer today. Paneer is a fairly bland-tasting, non-melting cheese that is very common in Indian cuisine. Because it keeps its shape when cooked, it can be used as a meat substitute in all kinds of dishes, which is exciting to me. I have only used it once before, as I’ve always been put off by the high cost (around $5 for 200g) of buying it in the supermarket.

Surprisingly, paneer does not need any fancy ingredients to make. In fact, it has two ingredients: milk and white vinegar. It is important to buy non-UHT milk, so we bought three litres and used 1.5 litres for each cheese. We got around 300g (10.5oz) of paneer from our 1.5L (3 pints) of milk. You do need a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of your milk but these can be bought cheaply from homebrewing shops.

Heating milk

Method (makes 300g or 10.5oz)

Place 1.5L of milk into a saucepan and heat slowly until it reaches 84ºC (183ºF). Keep the milk at that temperature for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add 1/8 cup of vinegar to the milk mixture. The lumpy curd should separate from the greenish-coloured whey almost immediately. We continued to stir constantly after adding the vinegar, but no separation seemed to be occurring, so we added a small amount more and stopped stirring. The separation happened straight away, but we waited about five minutes to be sure it had all separated.

Paneer pouring curd

Pour the mixture into a colander lined with cheesecloth, over a pot to catch the whey. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth together and hang it over a pot for 5-6 hours. We hung it from the rail of our barbeque, which happened to be in our living room (it’s not usually!). When it is ready the cheese should stick together in a rubbery ball shape.

Hanging paneer I’m planning to use the paneer to make stuffed eggplants later this week. Stay tuned for the recipe. Also, if anyone can help me out with ideas of what to do with all the whey, I would be grateful 🙂

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  1. Good to know that Paneer is somewhat easy to make and doesn’t have many ingredients ! Thanks for the recipe.

  2. You’re very welcome 🙂 I’m checking out your blog at the moment and seeing we have quite a bit in common. And your Saturday personal finance GIFs made me laugh. I’m glad to see there can be money after graduation 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I love paneer, but never realized how easy it is to make. Will try this next time we make saag.

  4. you can make 100s of item out of Paneer.. All Veg. google for the easiest recipes like Paneer Bhurji, Paneer Paratha..

  5. Hi! My grandmother used to make her own cheese. She used to make something very similar to paneer but her recipe was a little bit different. She would let milk out in a large jar in a fairly warm room for a few days and it would turn into yogurt . Then she would warm up the yogurt and it would just separate like your milk did when you added vinegar. The rest of the process was the same.


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