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Friday 14 March 2014

Making Cheese

Today I made a soft cheese called paneer.

I used a full quart jar of fresh goat milk, 2 TBSP vinegar, and 1 Tsp salt.

This is a really easy cheese to make. It is traditionally used in Indian cuisine but can also be found in Mexican recipes. Making it is kind of similar to making home made tofu, except of course paneer is made with real milk instead of soymilk. The cheese can be crumbly and soft or firm and sliced, depending on how tightly it is wound in the cheesecloth.

I use store-bought vinegar to ensure the acetic acid content is high enough (5%) to curdle the milk. I worry that my homemade vinegar might not be strong enough. 

To make paneer, gently heat a litre of milk to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit, taking care it doesn't scald. At 200 degrees, remove from heat and add two tablespoons vinegar (or lemon juice) and one to two teaspoons of salt. Stir gently to make sure the vinegar is incorporated and then allow the hot milk to cool for about ten minutes. You can give the mixture a stir while you're waiting and it should be obvious that the vinegar has caused the milk to curdle.

curds and whey
Line a strainer with a double-layer of cheesecloth and place over a bowl, then slowly pour the curdled milk onto the cheesecloth.

Strain off the whey, wrap up your cheese, and leave it to set in a cool place for half an hour.

The result is a ball of paneer goat cheese. This cheese is relatively bland but pairs well with other flavors and can be used in sauces or crumbled over salad.

The resulting byproduct is this lovely whey, which is full of protein and minerals and can be used in baking. Or if you're a real granola mom you can make your kids drink it. It doesn't taste bad, per say.... kind of like watery buttermilk. Mostly I use whey for baking bread, but sometimes I do drink it because it is so nutritious - hence the popularity of whey protein powder as a dietary supplement. 

Little Miss Muffet was a very healthy girl.


I crumbled the paneer on my spaghetti dinner. Yum!

My apologies that the photo quality is lacking on this post. I have no excuse!

I am still fighting a respiratory illness so milking goats and making cheese were the most exciting things I did today. The ferry to our little island has been broken so I didn't get to see the nurse (she visits the island once a week) and instead I made some goldenseal capsules to help my immune system. I cancelled all my plans for this weekend and I'm allowing myself some time to rest.

A reminder to be grateful for my health.

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