Monday, February 8, 2010

Paneer and Whey Drink

Steps In Making Cheese

Paneer was my next step in cheese making. Paneer is like a pressed ricotta cheese. If you're new to cheese making, as I am, it is best to start small and work your way up.

I started with yogurt cheese made in a crock pot. If yogurt sounds intimidating, try this reader tip to get you started:

"Simply boil a cup of milk, and then let cool to room temperature. Stir in a tablespoon of yogurt, let sit (don't move the cup) and voila, the next morning you have yogurt!"
After yogurt, I moved to ricotta cheese, which involves heating the milk, then adding something like vinegar to curdle the cheese.

So now it is time for paneer, which is like ricotta, but it is pressed, which gives me practice for the hard cheeses.

Instructions:

1) Heat a half gallon or gallon of milk to a low boil

2) Add 3 tablespoons of vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice per half gallon. (I used lime juice.)

3) When you see the milk curds, separating from yellowish liquid, the whey, take it off the heat.

4) Line a colander with a cheesecloth or thin fabric. Put it in something like a pot to collect the whey.



4a) Optional: add in spices. I added some cajun seasoning and an Italian spice blend. Paneer is from India, so I am all over the place with this cheese.


5) Set up a press, wrap cheese in cloth and press until firm, about two hours. It won't be firm like a block of cheddar, but it will be more firm than cream cheese.


There are lots of ways to make a press, but for the one pound of cheese I made, I found two plates to be just right. Next time, I may put the bottom plate upside down and put it in a pan to catch any excess whey. I might have gone overboard with the books, but I wanted to be sure.

My cheese cracked because I kept playing with it during the pressing stage. I'll know better next time!

Paneer is a cheese that doesn't melt, like ricotta. We've used it on quesadillas, in place of the cream cheese, broken up in our eggs, like an omelet, and smushed on plain tortillas. It is not something we will have to have on hand all the time, but I think it will have a place in our menu from time to time.

Whey Drink

Saving the whey and using is effectively is what makes or breaks the future of cheese making for me. One gallon of milk makes one pound of cheese... and three quarts of whey. Some of that whey can be used in lacto-fermenting, but if I'm going to be making most of our cheese, we are going to have more whey than I know what to do with. Paneer whey isn't bitter like yogurt whey, and I read somewhere that the whey of hard cheeses is almost sweet.

So, I made whey limeade. I used lime juice as the medium to make the milk curdle. To make limeaid, I added more lime juice and some stevia and chilled the drink. It has most of the nutritional value of milk and is loaded with protein. It tastes like limeade. I think there are probably a lot of drinks that could be made with whey and I'll let you know which we like best.

Next up: making mozzarella!

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50 comments:

I'm too young for this bull said...

I give you credit, you are fearless in the kitchen! The cheese looks yummy but, I just don't think that I could drink the whey. I love your blog, you can tell you put alot of thought and love into it. I do think that you have great ideas, and everyone should try to live a little fugally, even if their finances don't dictate it.
Keep doing what you are doing ~ you are very good at it!

Scottish Twins said...

Thanks for the info! I'll have to give it a try :)

Cat J B said...

I like the limeade idea. I make my own kefir and I sometimes separate it out to get the whey. I wonder if I can get the kids to drink it this way?

Clisby said...

Saag paneer (spinach w/ cheese) is one of my favorite Indian dishes. If you like spinach, you might want to try it.

Ruth said...

I recently had a roomate from India and she would make her own cottage cheese (much as you have done) but from her spoiled milk, (or "expired" milk)..she didn't purposely let it spoil, but if it did she would heat it, add vinegar, press out the water and voila..good job!

Clisby said...

Also, I'm pretty sure you can use whey in fruit smoothie-type drinks.

Emily said...

Cat, I think the whey from kefir might be a little bitter, but it's worth a try.

Devon said...

I am not a paneer fan--there's something about the texture that puts me off--but I admire your tenacity with cheese making! Good job!

vm said...

Try mattar paneer---peas & paneer if you'd prefer this to spinach. I love this dish. Paneer is so fun to make. I'm glad you're posting about it.

Amy@TheCircusMcGurkus.blogspot.com said...

I have gotten pretty comfortable making yogurt in the crock pot and my son loves it. It is so much less expensive than buying him yogurt and I love that there aren't all the added sugars in it. Maybe someday I will work up to cheese. I do love mozzarella....

momto9 said...

you make cheese making sound simple:)

Anonymous said...

since you've a new post I thoght I'd add this to comments made in previous quotes. Question: has daniel already been to a follow up appt with the hospital docs? My kids usually were seen three to four weeks following hospitalization.
will they be doing more tests, say for allergies? i hope follow up visits will bring more answers! keep searching, kids are more than worth it! annie r

The Saved Quarter said...

Frozen spinach is such a good value at the grocery store that saag paneer would be a very inexpensive addition to your menu rotation, and it's delicious! We have it with brown rice, which is another super-cheap menu staple, but you could make a naan flatbread to serve with it.

simple in france said...

Mmm, so many good Indian dishes have paneer--happy sampling! I've made paneer in the past and liked it--what's not to like? And I really like your idea of saving the whey. I really hope I get to try a little cheese making soon, but the waste does bother me. I like your limeade idea and the fact that you can use whey in your baking etc. I'll have to think about other uses for it.

Amber said...

I think I'm going to have to man-up and actually make some cheese sometime lol! It seems so weird and strange to me to make it at home, but how can I knock something I've never tried? I think I'll do it on the stovetop instead of a crock pot though :)

Cristina said...

Did you sterilize that cloth before you used it to strain your cheese???

bewaretheundertoad said...

Paneer is super easy and yummy, I don't have it often (Cheese makes me feel lethargic and stuffy; though paneer not as much as others) but it's great for a special treat. Palak paneer (another spinach cheese dish) is also one of my favorites--it can also be made with tofu for people who don't do dairy (Do you remember the Weston Price/NT stance on tofu Emily? I seem to remember friend of mine who has his doctorate in nutrition, and is a proponant of the WP philosophy mentioning that tofu was OK because it's fermented soy...I still don't know if that school of thought allows for as much tofu as would be in tofu palak "paneer" though--and not to totally go off on a tangent, but I was ordering some NFP/fertility tracking materials and it turns out that one of the books that I got, called "honoring Our Cycles" is a companion book to "Nourishing Traditions", have you seen this before? It made me think of your blog :))

Diana @ frontyardfoodie said...

Awesome! I've made goats milk ricotta and it was very easy, similar to this but I've never made any other cheese. I should expand my horizons!

Emily said...

Anon on Daniel, he has had one follow-up so far, but they are not doing any more testing at this point.

Amber, this cheese I made on the stove top. It would have taken a while to get the milk to a boil in the crock pot.

Christena, yes, sterilizing the cloth just takes a quick boil. There is no need to assume that I am using dirty stuff when I cook.

beware, I thought tofu wasn't lacto-fermented but tempeh and soy sauce were, but I'm not sure. I'll have to check out that book. I had never heard of it.

Victoria said...

Emily, you were so thorough in your post, I hesitiate to ask this question (and I may even appear stupid). Do you make with whole milk or can I use dry milk? Paneer sounds easy to make. Can't wait to hear about your adventures with mozarella!

Susan said...

My step-mom makes cottage cheese for Dad. They just throw out the whey. I always thought I would be as good as milk in bread making.

A friend's son took a semester in France. When he got back she was so full of questions about the cuisine. When she asked about the French cheeses he replied, "Mom they were as bad as that crappy homemade stuff you used to make." ;)
To each his own.

Good luck in your endevors

http://susan-grandmaskitchen.blogspot.com/

Heather said...

I love palak paneer, but...I have to ask...did you have that plate of paneer on the floor?? (The wood doesn't look like your counter or tabletop, and I have noticed food pictures that seem to be on your floor in the past...yikes)

Anonymous said...

I'm not certain I understand limeade dairy. What does it look like? I would think adding lime to whey would make it congeal somehow.

Emily said...

Victoria, I used whole milk, but I'm pretty sure you can use dry milk. I would add a little extra powder, though.

Heather, yes, I put it on the floor as I didn't want someone to bump the table and have all the books fall. Sometimes I take pics on my computer chair, since I often remember I need to take a pic right after I've set the table to eat. I don't put our food on the floor, though.

Anon, the limeaid has the same color as the whey and it doesn't congeal. I can't imagine how it would since all the lactose is removed from the whey.

Sarah said...

Just FYI to your readers, I'm a cheesemaker too (I make all kinds: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=cheesemaking&w=19675535%40N00 pics of some of my adventures in cheese).

If you're using store bought milk (yes you CAN use powdered reconstituted btw), make sure you don't get Ultra High Temp pasturized milk.

The high temp pasturization denatures the proteins and makes curd-whey separation impossible.

Usually milk in gallon plastic jugs is regular pasturized and will work, but most (all that I've seen) organic milks in the cardboard half gallon sizes are UHT/high temp/ultra pasturized and won't work.

-Sarah

Gina said...

This reminds me of mexican requeson. My aunt used to make it with milk that was about to turn. It tastes really good on refried beans or crumbled on tacos. You can also make milk candy with milk that's about to turn.

Dogfood Provider said...

I second everything folks have said about delish Indian dishes with paneer, like saag paneer and mater paneer. You can cube paneer like you would tofu or beef or any protein and then marinate, bread, fry, sautee, whatever with it. It's sturdy stuff!

Amber said...

Does anyone know if you can make these cheeses with lactose free milk?

Cris said...

I'm going to try this with my next gallon of milk. I made ricotta this week and was going to try a fermented OJ with the whey. I got the idea from this thread: http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=1191741

Was yours "carbonated?"

Jess said...

Whey has a lot of protein. Maybe use it in shakes, or as a thickening mix in for other concoctions?

Sally Sand in No Man's Land said...

This is a yummy cheese that I've made before. Instead of using milk, I used breast milk for that extra vitamin packed value. Have you considered using extra breast milk in your recipes or do you already?

sara said...

Another thing to add to my 'to try' list :) Thanks for the info!
sara http://myfrugalfunlife.blogspot.com/

Emily said...

Gina, I have never heard of milk candy but I looked up a few recipes and it looks simple enough. Thanks!

Cris, mine wasn't carbonated at all. Now I'm kind of jealous, but inspired, too!

Sally, no, my own milk is too precious to be cooking with and I don't see myself pumping out a gallon just for cheese.

Our Family Is His said...

We can't use any dairy or soy, so finding a cheese that actually melts is finding to be impossible. I wonder if we could use one of these recipes with the hazelnut milk we use. Probably not as it's very low fat. Hmm, off to research.

crabcakes said...

I have a cloth I use for yogurt straining that sits in the cabinet with my pans. I don't sterilize it before I use it just as I don't sterilize my pans before I cook with them.

(Also concerned why people would assume you use dirty items to cook with. It's not like you used a diaper flat or something)

Anna said...

Emily,
love the paneer enjoy. On using leftover whey you can add it to bread dough, cook rice in it the usual food uses but once you are homesteading if your family decides to raise a pig or pigs for meat they do wonderfully on leftover whey in fact that is one way to get very good meat from them. To all vegans and vegetarians who read this please don't be offended.

Also I don't think you can do this with whey that has been extracted with vinegar or lemon juice but "real" italian ricotta is actually made from whey here is a link to some directions for how to do it. http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/Ricotta/ricotta_00.htm

here is another one where she says you can't use acid produced whey http://fiascofarm.com/dairy/ricotta.html

The most common thing to do and the way I do it is to make some monzerella and than make the riccotta after that out of the leftover whey thus using almost all my milk to its fullest capacity I usually add the left over water to my dogs food.

Devon said...

Ok, here's a random question: you don't have to answer or even post this, but I remember a lot of placenta eating talk...I can't remember you posting anything about it after Thomas was born. I'm curious!!!

Anita said...

Emily, the whey is great for making homemade bread with! It' makes the bread healthy and it rises very nicely.

Anna said...

Our Family Is His and any other non dairy readers of Emily's blog here are some directions for how to make vegan, non dairy cheese including ricotta I have never tried any of these as I have a dairy goat and cows so I just use raw milk but i may give these a try the next time we have company who are non dairy, vegan etc. http://www.ehow.com/how_5167949_make-nondairy-cashew-ricotta-cheese.html

http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/basiccheeserecipes/tp/Cheese-Substitutions.htm

Our family is His google Sheese I think you will find the non dairy melty cheese you are looking for if you do.
Anna

Emily said...

Anna, thanks for all the ricotta and non-dairy info.

Devon, I'll add it to the FAQ. (:

Devon said...

THanks! I'm really interested in your answer!!

Ria said...

Didn't see this answered in the comments (but admittedly, I may have missed it), but what kind of milk to you use. By that I mean, skim milk, 1%, 2%, whatever percentage homogenized milk is... I was just wondering if the cream content in the milk would noticably alter the cheese, and which one would be better to use. I imagine the one with more cream would yield more cheese, but having never made cheese before, I'm not 100% sure on that.

Emily said...

Ria, I used whole milk. You can use any kind. I'm not sure if more cream yields more cheese, but it would defintely be yummier cheese.

Amy said...

For some reason your blog is not letting me comment to your new post. Maybe it's tired of the complaints, lol! Anywho, I hope you get this and can either post it under the appropriate blog post or just read it for yourself.

I'm gonna start by saying, I love what you do. I love the nourishing traditions approach to your meals your non-vax and limited medical approach, your willingness to live with less and only what you need and your attempts at being "green". I love your faith and your love of family. I love your blog and I hope it doesn't go away, but I would understand if you felt the need to limit some of the info out there after a day like today.

I know you are much more worried about your own sons than some strange internet person (i.e.- me)so you may have already thought of this, but did you consider toxic mold as a possible cause to daniels recent health troubles? Mold is often difficult to detect and causes very serious problems (which you may already know). I hadn't mentioned it before because your house seems very clean and mold free, but today all the talk of crib mattresses made me remember some research I did when my daughter was first born. I was very paranoid about sids and the fact that I seemingly could do nothing to prevent it. So I spent some time googling and poking around and came up with some research that suggested a form of mold that grows in toddler mattreses and combines with the chemicals inside the mattress to form a very toxic gas which then seeps out through cracks and essentially posions the baby. At the time I was looking into this I found mattress covers that were sold in australia to hopefully prevent the gasses from escaping around the baby, but I wasn't able to afford one so I made sure to have a fitted sheet and I think I also put an additional blanket on my daughters bed. Actually because of my worry of this, I have let her sleep with us a lot. She's 4 now but still sleeps on a toddler mattress on her toddler bed.

So that all came to my mind today and I thought there may be something in that for you to look into if you are still looking for a possible reason for daniels coma. Also, the gasses formed from the mold are heavy and sink, so maybe he is getting it from both mattresses? Or it could be completely unrelated. Here is a link to a site with some info, though it is not one I have read much of. I have since lost all my previous research on the subject and just found this site after a google search. (argh, now it won't let me copy and paste! So I typed this address)

http://www.johnleemd.com/store/more_crib_sids.html

If you read up on this and feel concerned or that it might have contributed in some way, you may consider just making him a bed of blankets on the floor. You could put the plastic cover over for accidents. But if you did that, I might not post it, just for sanity's sake. ;-)

Emily said...

Amy, thank you. Someone else sent me that link via email. I'm thinking of getting rid of the mattresses altogether and fashioning a bed out of blankets. With all the things we do to reduce toxins in our home, I don't know why we had never cosidered the boys' mattresses to be a source. Also, thank you for posting here. I'm not commenting on the new post anymore.

Amy said...

I would not have thought of it either, if I hadn't read some articles. It makes me wonder what's goin on in MY mattress!

Anonymous said...

Hi Emily,

It's come to my attention you are looking to switch your mattresses because of concern over SIDS. I am an Early Childhood Educator and would just like to pipe up and say that it's recommended children sleep on FIRM surfaces to reduce their risk. There shouldn't be any "soft" items in a baby's bed besides a blanket. No bumper pads, pillows etc. I know a lot of folks aren't aware of newer recommendations so I thought I would share. It's very important that babies sleep with as much air circulation as possible as it is believed to be a factor in SIDS deaths. Anyway, you can google for more details, I just wanted to speak up as you make your decision to move away from the mattresses you have. I pulled up some links you might find useful...just a start but you might want to consider "mattress wrapping" as a solution. There are a lot of options to weigh, I'm sure you've got a lot of research ahead of you!

http://www.ehow.com/about_5218696_types-healthy-baby-mattresses.html

http://www.cure-guide.com/Natural_Health_Newsletter/Baby_Bedding___SIDS/baby_bedding___sids.html

Anonymous said...

Next time - please find some unbleached muslin, or some cheese cloth for your cheese. Many fabric dyes are extremely toxic and are not always stable. (We've all had the clothing item that bleeds dye no matter how many times it is washed.) There is no guarentee that the dye is safe or stable for food preparation.

Living with Three Boys of Our Own said...

SO interesting! I just found your blog through a friend and love the ideas! My husband loves mozzarella - he actually thought about getting a job at Central Market as the Mozzarella Man just so he could eat the samples!

Love your blog and all of the ideas... proof that we don't need a lot!

Simply Natural Homestead said...

Emily,

I haven't tried this yet, but I'm definitely planning on it. Indian food is a favorite in our house. I'm so glad to see that you focus on healthy eating, like lacto-fermentation, etc. So many frugal blogs encourage feeding garbage food to their families. You're obviously trying to feed your family as healthy as possible on your budget, which is great. I've been committing to buying as much organic, whole foods as possible, which isn't easy for us. I know that's not possible on your budget, unless maybe you grow your own veggies, as you're planning to do, or maybe order grains in bulk. But obviously you're doing the next best thing. Very cool.

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