This post originally appeared on my personal blog Hipster Housewife
Our friends are a crafty bunch. I can't really think of a person in our group who doesn't make things – we've got it all, from photography and graphic design to beer and cupcakes and art and clothes. It's pretty awesome now that we have a house and the space to be more creative.
My friend Kyle makes food. All kinds. He makes pesto with foraged garlic mustard and burritos loved by crowds. He recently started learning about cheesemaking using The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cheese Making and I tagged along.
Turns out that cheesemaking is a process of building upon steps, so first he started with yogurt and then cream cheese. The third cheese is paneer – a firm Indian cheese a lot like tofu. I had no idea how easy the early stages of cheesemaking could be. This recipe took us about 15 minutes of cook time, an a few hours of prep — mostly waiting!
Paneer is really, really, deadly simple. We ate it in a spinach curry, but you could use it in place of tofu just about anywhere. Here is a recipe, with exact instructions. But they aren't a ton more difficult than my casual walkthrough here.
So you have two ingredients. Milk and lemons. We used two quarts of whole milk and about three tablespoons of freshly squeeze lemon juice.
We boiled the milk lightly. All of it. Lots of stirring.
Then we cut lemons. Probably too many — I think we really only needed two. We added the lemon juice to the cooling milk, a bit at a time.
One minute the milk was normal, and the next it was like, BAM. Curds and whey. We let it cool for a while.
Then we strained it in cheesecloth! About now is when I started feeling super old-timey. We made a cheesebag (lol) and let it drain for a bit, it was time to form it.
We formed it into a wheel and set it under a can-filled-pan to let it press and drain whey for 30 minutes a side.
The cheese sat in the fridge overnight, and Kyle came to my house and used it in an amazing spinach curry. Paneer is fantastic because — like I said — it's much like tofu. It has a bit of its own taste, and you sear it up for some proteiny goodness. It was delish — and I'm totally giving paneer a go all on my own soon.