Indian Cottage Cheese – Paneer | World’s Easiest Cheese
I am going to have to warn you before you read further. Once you start making Paneer at home, you are NOT going to like store bought Paneer ! There….the truth ! It is a luxury and you are going to be addicted. Just like my daughter and I. We hate store bought paneer and lovvveeee home made paneer. There is a distinct difference in the texture and taste.
Until, I encountered the OPOS (one pot one shot) recipe for making Paneer, I have never imagined Paneer at home. But, once I discovered this method, there was no turning back. So, with great joy, presenting to you – how to make paneer at home using the OPOS method. Lets look at it step by step –
We will be using 2 liters of full fat milk to make Paneer today. So, please chose a 5 or 8 liter pressure cooker and add the milk to it. The milk should not cover more than half of the cooker or should be less than quarter of the cooker. Next, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar or lemon juice to the milk. We need curdling agent and these are our acids of choice.
Next, close the lid of the cooker and fix the weight. Put it on high flame (1100-1200w in induction) and cook for 1 whistle. This should take about 6-8 minutes depending on the size of the cooker. Do not wait beyond 8 minutes, switch off the flame even if the cooker does not whistle. Slowly release the pressure of the cooker and open. You will notice that the milk has curdled well and the fat (white portion) has separated from the protein water which is called Whey. Layer a sieve/juice strainer with a clean muslin or any soft cloth. Drain the whey protein by filtering it through the strainer. The white milk fat (Paneer) will get collected in the cloth as shown in the picture below. Immediately rinse the Paneer with cold water to remove the sourness of vinegar and also to reduce the temperature of the paneer to prevent it from hardening.
Now, wrap up the cloth and squeeze well to remove excess water from the Paneer. To remove the remaining water, rest the paneer on the sieve for an hour. You can chose to put a heavy pan on it for pressure.
After an hour, remove the Paneer from the cloth. There you have pillowy soft and fresh Paneer to be used for gravies or desserts !
1. There are two things that determine the texture of the Paneer. The first and the foremost is the quality of milk. Always use full fat whole milk for making Paneer. The fat in the milk is what lends the texture and volume. I was able to make 300 grams of Paneer from 2 liters of full fat milk.
2. The second is making sure that you bring down the temperature the moment the milk curdles and the Paneer separates. While cooking the milk do not leave it for longer than 8 minutes on the stove or you will end up having a rubbery texture. Also, as soon as you filter out the whey, immediately rinse the paneer with cold water. This step will stop further cooking of Paneer through retained heat ensuring softer texture. Putting it in the refrigerator during the resting period also helps.
3. To avoid dry crumbly Paneer, do not be tempted to squeeze out too much of the water out. Leaving just enough moisture on to the Paneer, will result ensure good texture. A good test for texture would be to pinch a little of portion of paneer and roll in between your fingers. You should be able to easily make a small smooth ball.
4. Paneer can be stored by refrigerating it for 2-3 days. It lasts for weeks if frozen.
5. You can also make Masala/ Herbed Paneer as a variation. For this, just add salt to the milk, with your choice of herbs/spices like corriander, mint, turmeric powder, crushed cumin seeds, black pepper etc., Get creative !
6. Do not discard the filtered Whey water that initially separated from the Paneer. It is one of the richest sources of protein and is much prized and valued. You can use it to make roti dough instead of water or it can be used in cooking gravies and soups as well.