Food & dining

Recipe for paneer

Matt Barber for The Boston Globe

Makes about 1 pound

You will have homemade cheese in about 2 hours, but the longer the paneer is weighed down, the firmer the texture. To store the cheese, submerge it in cold water and change it daily (paneer can be kept for up to 10 days, but is best eaten fresh). To boil 1 gallon of milk, you’ll need a 6-quart stockpot. Take note that whey, the byproduct of curdling milk, can be saved and used as a curdling agent for the next time you make paneer.

1  gallon whole milk 

1/2  cup lemon juice, plus more if necessary, or 4 cups whey 

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1. In a stockpot, pour in the milk and bring it to a boil over medium heat. This will take about 25 minutes. Lower the heat to keep the milk from bubbling over but keep it hot enough so the milk boils slowly.

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2. Pour in the lemon juice or whey in a steady stream, stirring the milk with a large spoon. The milk will separate into curds and whey (which will be a murky off-white color). If the milk only partially curdles, stir in more lemon juice in small amounts until the curds form and start clumping together.

3. Place a colander over a large bowl and line it with three layers of cheesecloth or a large clean kitchen towel, letting the overhang drape over the top of the colander. Strain the curds through the cloth and gently lift the colander from the bowl. If you like, reserve 4 cups of whey for making paneer another time. Run cold water over the curds for 1 minute, stirring. This rinses off the lemon flavor.

4. Bring the edges of the cloth together and twist to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

5. For a flat piece of paneer, place the cloth-lined ball of curds on a plate and flatten it with your hands. Weigh it down with a skillet for at least 1 hour, periodically draining and wiping off any excess liquid that accumulates on the plate. If not using immediately, store the paneer in cold water in the refrigerator.