Today I made cheese. I read about making cheese in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.) and that was the first time that the thought crossed my mind that making cheese was a doable thing and not a magical process that happens somewhere beyond the grocery store shelves.

In the beginning of April, after reading the same book above, my dad made paneer and then mozarella. I was jealous and inspired. Cheese was food that I wanted to check off my list of things I had tried to make at least once. Now, with Dad paving the way (and finding the recipe!) I had the motivation I needed.

Paneer is a simple Indian cheese. In fact the whole process took me just over an hour and most of that time was in heating the milk and then letting it drain. The flavor of this cheese comes from the food that it is added to although you could add your own spices. I added salt this time. We had the cheese fresh over spinach and strawberry salad with poppy seed dressing and a side of corn muffins. It is easy to find recipes for paneer but basically what I did was

1 – bring one gallon of fresh milk (whole, organic from Brooms Bloom) to 185 F and held it there for 10 min stirring occasionally.
2 – add 1/4-1/2 c. white vinegar to curdle the milk (it will separate into whey and white curds)
3 – Added 1 t salt (more or less to taste)
4 – poured the curdled milk into a cheese bag set over a strainer and let set for 1 hour

That’s it! I have a lot of cheese from that one gallon. Next time I will make a smaller batch. Baby E loves it and we will have to make an Indian dish or two to use it up.

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