UPDATE: Since my friend Anu told me that using curd or buttermilk to split the milk works every time as opposed to lime juice or vinegar which only works sometimes for her, I have started doing the same. Use 1/2 cup curd or buttermilk to work with 1 litre milk and you are golden. Try it!
I always use lemon to curdle the milk and you need about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of lemon juice. You can also use white vinegar instead of lemon. (UPDATE: Use buttermilk or curd people, that’s the way to go. Refer updated note highlighted above)
Bring the milk to a rolling boil and add the lemon juice or vinegar. Simmer for another 2-3 mins until the milk has completely curdled. Keep stirring.
Remove from fire and transfer to a double layered cheesecloth (or use an Indian cotton towel – thorthu / thundu), that’s placed over a colander which is in turn placed over a bowl large enough to collect all the whey.
Once the whey has drained off completely..
Wrap the ends of the cheesecloth over the paneer.
You need to place some weights over this to make a firm block of paneer. I place a plate over it so that the block gets uniformly pressed down.
Then on goes my stone mortar..
.. topped off with my granite chapati stone. (You can use bags of beans, cookbooks, or anything that’s heavy and can be balanced over the pressed paneer)
Leave the weights on for about 2-3 hours and voila! You are left with fresh fresh paneer!
Refrigerate for an hour before cutting into blocks.
What about the whey you ask? Well, you can use it to cook rice or any vegetables. Also add it to roti dough for super soft rotis. Another great way to use it up is to use it instead of lemon juice or vinegar to curdle milk next time you make paneer. Store it in the fridge for up to a week.
The homemade paneer can be frozen for upto a month before use.