Paneer

I have easy access to Indo-Pak grocery stores in my area, but Paneer is easy to make. Sometimes it just seems easier to make it than run to the store. (I really hate to shop.)

2 quarts milk or 1 quart half-and-half
2-3 Tbsp. lemon juice (white vinegar makes an acceptable substitution)

Bring milk to a boil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Stir in the lemon juice. Continue to cook and stir until curds rise to the top and a clear liquid remains.

Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve, lined with 3 layers of cheesecloth. The whey can be kept and used for the liquid in rice or soup.

Gather up the cloth and form a bundle and hang it on a faucet of over a bowl. Twist and squeeze out the excess liquid, allow to drain up to 30 minutes. I find it is better to not let the cheese get too cold or it doesn’t compress as well in the next step.

On a cutting board, shape the pouch into a patty about 1/2-inch thick. Place a heavy water-filled pot on the cheese to compress it. Leave it stand about 2 hours.

Remove from the cheesecloth and use immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. The cheese may be frozen up to a month.

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