Thursday, November 13, 2014

Paneer Adventures

My default playtime in the kitchen is with cheese.  Dating all the way back to being a little kid, when we'd all get a tiny bottle of milk from our moms, and walk to school, everyone walked, shaking the little bottle until ta-daaaah! at school or rather after several lesson periods, during which teachers demanded that we Put Away Those Bottles, we had cheese!  one problem was getting it out of the little bottle, but we didn't care.  We had made cheese!

Till now, when I'm doing it a slightly more grownup way, using actual pans and thermometers (not strictly necessary, I just thought I should for once do what the book said) and so on.  Great fun.

And here you see two kinds of paneer, which is an Indian cream cheese:  one on the left made with salt, processed by draining through cheesecloth, one on the right with no salt, processed by draining through a piece of linen.  Both different in texture, oddly enough, since they came from the same batch of whole milk. But both very good.

And here's a book by Claudia Lucero, with all kinds of cheese ideas, and tons of pictures and encouragement and reminders that cheese is an artform, so yours might be different, might even be better. And since this is a lightning swift kind of operation, you can't make it and take pix at once, you can see more or less what happened in the pix from her book.

However, as always, I had to improvise a bit.  The first lot didn't make a lot of curds, but I processed it anyway, and added in salt as it drained, just to make it less bland.  Then I thought, hey, there's still a lot of good stuff in this pot, it's more than just the whey, I'll reheat and rejuice it with lemon juice and see what happens.  

It was just great.  Fabulous curdling, easy to collect curds, great whey left behind.  Good thing I had a second cloth and a second strainer, since they were both straining at once, and being pressed.
The whey is now in the freezer until I use it for soup, which won't be long, because of all the pumpkin in there.

And the second batch has a much firmer texture.  So now I know that it doesn't hurt to reheat and make another batch, as long as there's milk solids still in the pot.

And it's very good to make this in time for afternoon tea, spread, one kind per piece, on homebaked bread, with a spoonful of homemade apple jam on top.  Pot of tea.  Magazine.  Feet propped up on two cats.


  1. I'm very much enjoying your kitchen adventures, and this cheese-making reminds me of my own, many years ago, when I had dairy goats. Lots of soft cheeses, with various herbs and spices - probably never made the same thing twice, but always very tasty! If my hands could take it, I'd have a couple of milk goats in my herd now.

  2. Sounds like you had a good time in the kitchen. I find making cheese at home to be very novel and interesting. :)


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