What to do on a Rainy Day….Make Paneer Cheese

It’s been raining quite a lot here recently; cats and dogs in fact. There’s something about a rainy day that brings out the adventurous side in me; or the reckless side. You’ll often find me disembowling the craft cupboard trying to restore order amongst the glittery and the colourful or cleaning out the vacuum cleaner filters. Cobwebs get swept away from the darkest corners and books get arranged and rearranged on the shelves. These jobs don’t often get a look in so rain is a Good Thing sometimes.

I’m not in a Sorting Mood today though. I’m in a Try Something New mood and the New Thing I’m going to try is making cheese. I’m going to a Celebrate All Things British Fete this Saturday (which is probably why it’s raining; at least it will be authentic). Afterwards I’m inviting some friends round and I’m cooking the UK’s National Dish aka curry! The Paneer cheese is part of my curry feast. It’s going to be fried and added to peas and spices and things. I got the recipe for Paneer cheese from Jamie Oliver (not personally you understand; from one of his cookbooks). It’s not even really a recipe it’s so simple. Have a go!

You only need two ingredients; full fat milk and white wine vinegar.

Take just two ingredients

Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan and bring to the boil. You will probably find yourself watching the milk, looking out for traces of bubbles; you may also be tempted to put on a lid to speed things up. If you go with the lid option be prepared to whip the saucepan away from the heat at the first sign of boiling otherwise the milk will erupt from the saucepan like Mount Ruapehu and you will be Very Cross because cleaning up burnt milk is not very enjoyable. You may also burn a tea towel (you may not; just warning you) Exercise Caution and Patience!

Milk

Remove milk from heat and add a wine glass full of white wine vinegar. In a trice you will see some curdling-action appear before your very eyes. It’s at this point you may contemplate the wonders of science or the universe or even both.

Curdled

Wait five minutes and pour the whole lot into a fine sieve or a colander lined with muslin to remove the watery whey.

Curd in muslin

Wait for the curd to cool a bit and then squeeze out any excess whey.

Drain Whey

Hey Presto! Here is the cheese! I feel as if I’ve done something pretty momentous!

Finished Paneer

It’s worth noting that you can’t do much with whey if you’ve made a cheese using acid. Sweet whey can be used to make ricotta but acid whey is really only good for chickens or your compost heap.

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