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Paneer  RSS feed

 
James D Young
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Location: Brantford, ON Canada
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http://www.durgan.org/URL/?CNHIB 26 June 2012 Paneer.
Paneer is a simple cheese without any additives. My method is to use three litres of skim milk, heat to 120F in a double boiler to control the temperature and to prevent burning of the bottom of the pot if set directly on the heat. After 120F is reached remove the heat, and put in a large tablespoon of Ascorbic Acid powder, available from a Pharmacy. I buy 500 ml, which lasts a long time.. Immediately upon dropping the ascorbic acid and stirring there appear instant curd, almost a large blob. Drain in a colander with cold water and use as desired.A good replacement for commercial cottage cheese, but of a more rubbery texture.The making takes about 15 or less minutes.
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1281
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
128
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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Hi,
I like to make paneer too. Ironically though I'm in North India, my region of Ladakh doesn't traditionally make paneer so I've actually taught a lot of Ladakhi students how to do it.

I have used two methods, both effective:

1) Heat the milk to close to boiling and then add vinegar in small increments until the milk separates. The vinegar taste all goes out in the whey, and the paneer doesn't taste of vinegar at all, just a very plain milk taste, just normal paneer.

Some people here are slightly lactose intolerant and don't like paneer much because it digests like plain milk. Also, I wasn't crazy about having to add commercial vinegar and then have the whey be sour-yucky. So here's the all natural method, and it's better for the lactose intolerant. Actually I like the taste better though I like (and digest) traditional plain paneer perfectly well:

2) When you know you're going to have extra milk (that's when we make paneer), throw a bit of yogurt in the milk as a starter. Don't bother to make yogurt properly but this just prevents the sour milk bugs from taking over and makes sure it tastes like something you like to eat. Leave it around at room temperature. You can keep throwing extra milk in for another milking or two. After there's enough and it's a bit sour (or very), then boil it till it separates. The whey leftover from this is a light refreshing yogurty whey, and would be nice in summer with ice and a little sugar or one's own preserved fruit-something.

3) Oops, I said I had two methods, but our school cook has used a third. When we have extra milk, we usually have extra yogurt too, so he boils fresh milk and then throws in the whey from the half-used yogurt pot, and maybe some of the yogurt too. This gives the nice slight yogurt flavor and keeps it all natural, but doesn't help the lactose intolerant.

Then we ladle it out into a white cloth laid over a colander. When most of the whey has drained out, we fold over the cloth, put a plate on top, stand it somewhere where the liquid can drain down and away, and weigh it down with something. Later, cut it into cubes.

Since this was in the food preservation forum, I was hoping for some nice tip on how to preserve paneer. Since we don't have refrigeration we have to use use it within a few days.

Important tips from personal experience:
1) Don't use that colorful leftover Indian scarf for straining paneer if you don't want pink patterns in your food!

2) You don't have to go overboard on pressing the paneer, because it can go rubbery. Some people supposedly just hang the cloth from the kitchen tap, but when we do this it stays too loose and can't be cut into cubes.

3) Our Jersey milk is pretty creamy, so sometimes our paneer melts when you try to deep fry it. It's good to skim off some of the cream somehow.
 
James D Young
Posts: 64
Location: Brantford, ON Canada
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Very nice. You are an expert. Actually making paneer if one ha to buy the milk makes it a bit of an expensive luxury.
 
Roger Taylor
Posts: 104
Location: New Zealand
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I saw an article about traditional food in Tajikistan. You can go to markets, or even to someone's home, and they have dried yogurt balls. Kurut, I think it was called. Maybe experiment with something like this?
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I like the flavour of paneer made with lemon juice.
queso blanco cheese is basically identical,
but I find it a bit 'meltier' than paneer. It's great with Mexican food.
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1281
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
128
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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I suspect that in our paneer, the meltiness comes from butter-rich milk.

Since all the vinegar taste goes out in the whey when we use vinegar to acidify our hot milk, I would think lemon juice would be wasted. Or maybe you've got lots of lemons, whereas I think they're precious.

Okay now more rambling:

In Ladakh the traditional way of preserving the excess milk of summer ends up with butter and dried yogurty cheese.

1) Throw the milk into a container with some yogurt starter and keep adding to it. When you've got enough, churn the butter out.

2) Take the nonfat yogurt-sour buttermilk, and either drink it straight, or boil it so it separates.

3) Strain the curds out. Use this sour cottage cheese fresh, or dry it for winter. There are two ways to dry it: one, dry it in crumbly strands squeezed out between your fingers or in flat round little cakes. This way it turns rock hard and slightly yellow; and we soak it and use it as a nice hearty addition to vegetarian soups. The other way, you mix sugar into it, form little round cakes and dry them; I've never done it, but it is distinctly much whiter, and not rock hard but crunchy, and a fabulous hiking snack. It's just all the protein of the milk.
 
Roger Taylor
Posts: 104
Location: New Zealand
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Rebecca Norman wrote:3) Strain the curds out. Use this sour cottage cheese fresh, or dry it for winter. There are two ways to dry it: one, dry it in crumbly strands squeezed out between your fingers or in flat round little cakes. This way it turns rock hard and slightly yellow; and we soak it and use it as a nice hearty addition to vegetarian soups. The other way, you mix sugar into it, form little round cakes and dry them; I've never done it, but it is distinctly much whiter, and not rock hard but crunchy, and a fabulous hiking snack. It's just all the protein of the milk.

How do you dry it? Are there any health concerns to keep in mind?
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1281
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
128
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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This is a high desert with the lowest humidity I've ever seen, so people usually simply lay out on trays on the flat roof in the sun, with a screen to keep flies off.

I'd love to hear how it works in a different climate, with a dryer.
Ladakhi-dried-nonfat-yogurt-cheese.JPG
[Thumbnail for Ladakhi-dried-nonfat-yogurt-cheese.JPG]
Ladakhi-fresh-yogurt-cheese.JPG
[Thumbnail for Ladakhi-fresh-yogurt-cheese.JPG]
 
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