Homemade Cottage Cheese / Paneer is a quintessential part of North-Indian Cuisine. It is prepared using whole milk and is not a melting cheese. Paneer may be used in both savory dishes (such as palak paneer, paneer tikka masala, butter masala, chilli, etc.) and sweets/desserts(rasgulla, rasmalai, etc)
Store bought paneer is generally hard and rubbery. So I prefer preparing it at home.The end product is always soft and creamy that everyone loves and is free from preservatives. When frozen it lasts for a few weeks and when refrigerated it will last for about a week.
Preparation time : 1 hour
Serves : 6
Ingredients for Homemade Cottage Cheese / Paneer
Whole Milk - 1 gallon
Lemon juice / Vinegar - approx ½ cup (Check steps and tips below)
Salt to taste
Steps to prepare Homemade Cottage Cheese / Paneer
- Keep milk on medium heat and bring it to slow boil. Once the milk boils, switch off the flame.
- Add lemon juice or vinegar little by little and stir slowly till milk curdles. Do not add everything at once because the amount you require may vary.
- If the milk does not curdle or separate then add additional 1 to 2 tablespoon lemon juice. Let this stand for about 2 to 4 minutes.
- Place a cheese cloth in a colander and strain the paneer-whey mixture through the cheese cloth. You can now rinse with cold water to remove the lemon flavor.
- Tie the cheese cloth with knot and then hang it to your kitchen faucet for about 15 minutes to let all the whey drain through it.
- Open the knot, and season the paneer with salt and knead it till ti's soft and smooth. It should not be crumblier. To prepare dishes like bhurji, you may use paneer at this stage.
- Tie the cheese cloth and then place heavy weight on top of it and refrigerate for couple of hours. I keep it overnight. If you are preparing sweet dish like rasgulla or rasmalai do not refrigerate. Just keep it outside for 1 hour.
- Homemade Cottage Cheese / Paneer is ready. Cut them into cubes and use them in your favorite dishes as needed.
- You can substitute lemon juice with vinegar or vice versa.
- You can use your favorite seasoning along with salt.
- Do not use any skim milk or low-fat milk.
- For the weight , I have used large pot filled with water.
- You may also add a tablespoon of corn flour and knead it to get much firmer paneer.
- You can keep paneer frozen and use it as required at least for a month.
- If you are using the paneer to make rasgulla or rasmali, the amount of water that should be out of the paneer matters. I just take a small piece of it in my palm and rub with fingers. If it is able to form a ball in 15 to 20 seconds then I start making rasgullas. 🙂
- If your paneer is not suitable for dishes or breaks apart you can prepare sweets like kheer, pudding, rasmali. So nothing will go waste 🙂