Recipe video above. Homemade paneer is far superior to store bought. It's softer and creamier, and has much better flavour. It's easy to make, without special equipment. All it takes is a little patience to let the cheese set in the fridge for 4 hours. Use paneer to make the great Indian classic, Palak Paneer (Spinach Curry with Paneer)
Keyword: homemade paneer, how to make paneer, Indian cheese recipe, paneer recipe
Heat the milk in a large saucepan over medium high heat until the top becomes foamy, just as looks like it's about to boil.
Turn stove off. Add lemon juice and stir for 1 minute. The milk should begin to curdle. If it doesn’t, turn the stove back on and bring back to a gentle boil until the solids separate.
Strain & remove excess water:
Line strainer or colander: Place over a deep bowl. Line strainer with 2 layers of cheesecloth (Note 1).
Strain: Ladle in half of the curdled milk to begin with, then pour the rest in. Leave until all the liquid drains – this might take 5 to 10 minutes.
Rinse: Discard liquid (whey) in the bowl. Bundle the paneer up in the cheesecloth (it will still be quite watery at this stage) then rinse bundle briefly under cold tap water. This helps to remove lemon flavour + cool for easier handling.
Squeeze out excess water by twisting the cheesecloth and squeezing the bundle, but not so hard that paneer squeezes out through the cloth. Once liquid no longer comes out, stop. The paneer will still be quite soft at this stage.
Set in fridge:
Weigh cheese down with weights: Shape cheese into a disc around 2cm / ¾" thick, still wrapped in cheesecloth. Place in a strainer or colander set over a bowl. Top with a small plate then 2 x 400g/14oz cans (or similar weight).
Refrigerate for 4 hours. During this time the paneer will set (become firm) and remaining liquid will drain out. (Note 2)
Storage / cutting:
Remove paneer from fridge and carefully unwrap. There will be a dent in the middle, this is normal (it's from the draining).
At this stage, the paneer is now ready for use. You can either cut it immediately and use in a recipe (such as Palak Paneer!), or store the whole uncut block for another time and just cut when needed.
Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for 3 months.
1. Cheesecloth – Thin loose-woven cotton fabric used in cheesemaking and other cooking for straining. Sold at fabric stores and some kitchenware stores. It can be as cheap as $3 per metre.Alternatives: Clean blue Chux wipes (yes, really!); old thin handkerchiefs used in a single layer; 2 layers of good-quality paper towels (not cheap stuff, they just disintegrate). Standard tea towels won't work, they are too thick for the liquid to drain out.2. If you leave it in longer, the cheese will become firmer and can be more crumbly to cut because the weight continues to press liquid out. So try to stick to 4 to 5 hours for the time the paneer is in the fridge with the weights on. Your paneer will be nice and soft, like we want!