Ricotta Cheese & Paneer

Ricotta Cheese & Paneer

Ricotta Cheese & Paneer

Equipment

  • Large, thick bottomed pot (enough to hold 2L)
  • Colander
  • Large bowl (Or pitcher)
  • Long handled heat-proof spatula, or wooden spoon and a regular spatula
  • Cheesecloth (or suitable replacement)
  • Paper towel (For paneer only)
  • 2 cutting boards (For paneer only) 
    • If you don’t have two, you can use your counter and one cutting board, it’s just a little messier
  • A couple heavy books or other weights (For paneer only)

Ingredients

  • 1L Milk 
    • You can use any fat percentage of milk, however they all give the cheese different tastes and textures. You can also use combinations of milk and cream. You 
    • For instance, I’d recommend the following for different purposes:
      • Generic ricotta: 1L Whole Milk
      • Ricotta for desserts (cannoli): 1 cup heavy cream and 3 cups whole milk
      • Paneer: 1% or 2% Milk
  • 1.5tbsp vinegar
  • 1tbsp lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
  • 1tsp salt

Procedure

  1. Combine the lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl.
  2. In a large pot, bring milk to a rolling boil on medium low heat (stirring occasionally to prevent milk from scalding to the bottom of the pot).
  3. Add half of the vinegar and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. The milk will curdle. This is supposed to happen.
  4. Add the salt and rest of the vinegar. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. During this time, wet your cheesecloth and wring it out to remove the excess water, and line your colander with it. Leave in the sink.
  6. The mixture will have separated into curds and whey. If the whey still looks very milky add an additional tbsp of lemon juice and simmer for another 10 minutes. 
  7. Pour mixture through cheesecloth-lined colander. Be sure to use your spatula to get out any stubborn curds.
  8. Leave ricotta to drain for at least 15 minutes
  • For a slightly dryer ricotta leave for 20 minutes before transferring
  • For a firm ricotta leave for 30 minutes 
  • For extra firm ricotta you can also tie the cheesecloth into a ball and suspend it from a long handled spoon over a bowl and transfer it to your fridge for even longer drying.
  • For paneer leave for 20 minutes and jump to step 10
  • Transfer to a container for storage. Keeps for at least a week in the fridge.
  • While the ricotta drains, place a few layers of paper towel on your cutting board (or your counter)
    • You can also use a large kitchen towel if you’re eco-friendly like me :-)
  • Grab your cheesecloth (and ricotta mix) being careful not to spill. Lay it on your toweled cutting board and fold the edges over it wrapping it into a neat little package. It’s important that you wrap it tightly.
  • Place your other cutting board on top of the cheese package, and place whatever you’re using as a weight on top of it. Let it sit for an hour.
  • Remove the weight and cutting board, gently unwrap your block of paneer and refrigerate in a container or ziploc bag. 
    • If you find your paneer to be a little damp you can wrap it in another small kitchen towel or paper towel before you transfer it to the container.

    You can use it right away, but it slices and fries better if it’s been refrigerated for a few hours or overnight.

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