Indian Paneer Cheese

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Serves: 4 (makes 12 oz.)
Cooking time: 90 minutes total, 30 minutes active
Note:  Paneer cheese is a mild fresh cheese that tastes similar to ricotta but is drier, more dense, and and pressed into a block. It is the glorifying ingredient of palak paneer. Paneer freezes well, so if you want to buy many blocks, you can have them on hand in your freezer. It's also surprisingly easy and fun to make from scratch. Check it out.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups whole milk
  • juice of 1 lemon

Equipment

  • cheese cloth
  • strainer
  • 2 large pots
  • mixing spoon
  • spatula

Instructions

1. Bring 8 cups of milk to a boil. Mix in lemon juice until curds and whey separate. The curds look like cottage cheese, and the whey looks like limeade. Put a strainer inside a pot and line strainer with 2 layers of cheese cloth, overlapping all sides of the strainer with the cheese cloth.

2. Pour the curds and whey into the middle of the cheese cloth. Gather the edges of cheese cloth together around the curds so that now you have a sac of curds. Twist the sac round with some tongs (it'll be too hot to touch) forcing liquid out of the cheese cloth. Keep twisting until the curds get squeezed tighter and tighter and no more liquid comes out. Leave the sac sitting in the strainer for fifteen minutes to let it fully drain. 

3.  Put the cheese sac between two plates and press down, flattening the cheese ball slightly. Put weights, such as canned goods, on top of the plate to encourage the cheese to flatten and become more dense as it sits. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. When cool, store in a Ziplock bag in the fridge and use within 3 days.