Curds and Whey

So, paneer is basically an Indian version of cottage cheese, and it’s delightfully easy to make.

Boil one gallon of milk (whole is best; when I tried making it with 2% milk it didn’t curdle as nicely, and 1% and skim milk didn’t curdle at all) with a quart of plain, 10% milkfat Greek-style yogurt, or a cup of whey from a previous batch. Strain out the curds into a piece of muslin; rinse under cool water for a minute or two, and drain. Season as desired, or leave it plain. For softer, crumbly cheese, you’re done here – put it in the fridge and use it like cottage cheese. For firmer cheese, wrap the curds tightly in the muslin and press for an hour or two under something heavy. (More whey will drain off, so keep it in the sink.) Then you can either fridge it or freeze it. I’m told freezing at least overnight will make it easier to pan-fry for adding to other dishes. I’ll be adding a recipe for palak paneer (curried spinach with cheese) soon, but it can be added to all kinds of other vegetable dishes, and I like to eat it plain.

Now, there’s a lot of whey left over after this. I freeze a cup for later batches and keep the rest in the fridge, stored in the gallon jug the milk came in. You can use it to replace water when cooking rice or oatmeal, add it to your protein smoothies, marinate chicken or turkey, and a bunch more things.

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