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The Wholefoodie: Make your own cheese using just two cheap ingredients and Susan Jane White’s paneer recipe 

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Home made paneer. Photograph by Susan Jane White

Home made paneer. Photograph by Susan Jane White

You only need two ingredients to make your own paneer cheese. Photography by Susan Jane White

You only need two ingredients to make your own paneer cheese. Photography by Susan Jane White

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Home made paneer. Photograph by Susan Jane White

Scientists have long discovered that talking to cows and calling them by their names encourages better milk production. In a country where the chat is almighty, is it any wonder Irish milk is so good?

Our grass-fed beatific herds produce the creamiest milk in Europe. Especially during lockdown (don’t fact-check this). I reckon Daisy is really relishing the extra conversations. Time to make some cheese!

In India, paneer is even more popular than Beyoncé. For a freshly made cheese, paneer magically holds its shape as it cooks, doesn’t melt, and is a total sponge for flavour. Making paneer at home is crazy-easy and very satisfying, especially with our lavish island milk.

Treat it like tofu, cutting into cubes and dropping them into stir fries, curries and conversations.

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You only need two ingredients to make your own paneer cheese. Photography by Susan Jane White

You only need two ingredients to make your own paneer cheese. Photography by Susan Jane White

You only need two ingredients to make your own paneer cheese. Photography by Susan Jane White

Home-made paneer

Makes 4-5 servings

You will need:
2 litres whole Irish milk
Juice of 2 lemons

1. Pour your milk into a high-sided, heavy-based saucepan, and bring to a rolling boil. When it looks like the milk is foaming high up the sides, drop in your lemon juice and stir. The milk will curdle straight away. Stir, and take off the heat. Leave for five minutes.

2. Collect the solid clumps of curd in a sieve (you can drain the liquid down the sink) or use a slotted spoon to scoop them out. They might be big or really small.

3. Now transfer all the curds from the sieve to a muslin cloth or clean tea towel, placed over a bowl. Bring the edges of the cloth together, twist and squeeze the excess moisture out of the curds. You’ll need scrupulously clean digits for this!

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4. Now lay the bundle of cloth, with the solid curd inside, on a plate and press down with something heavy. You want to shape the paneer before it sets. A large book is good, or a casserole pot. This will press out the final bits of moisture, leaving a firm paneer that feels closer to cheese. About 20 minutes of pressing should do the trick. I have kitchen paper close by to mop up any moisture. If it’s crumbly, let it firm up in the fridge first.

5. Unwrap the cloth and cut the solid paneer into cubes, ready to drop into curries or tray-bakes. It will look and feel like feta, but tastes less tangy. You can treat paneer like cooked meat — it’s ready to rock straight away, all you need to do is add some warmth and flavour. Next week, we’ll do a simple curry sauce for all the family,
to help your paneer party. See you then? 


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