Homemade Paneer and Ricotta
Making your own ricotta or paneer takes only two ingredients, limited equipment, and a little time. It couldn't be easier!
  • 2 liters whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth (I take one big piece and fold it). Set over a large bowl if you wish to reserve they whey, or just in the sink if you are discarding it.
  2. Put the milk in a large, non-reactive pot and heat until just boiling, but not rapidly boiling (about 205F). Stir occasionally to prevent a film from forming or any from sticking to the bottom.
  3. Add the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring in between each addition. The mixture should separate into curds and whey as the acid from the lemon juice curdles the milk. Remove from the heat and let sit for another minute to allow the curds and whey to fully separate.
  4. Carefully pour into the cheesecloth-lined strainer. Allow to drain for a few minutes. Tie up the ends of the cheesecloth to form a bundle. Hang the cheesecloth bundle over a bowl or sink (I like to put a wooden spoon through the opening of the bundle and rest it over the strainer, which I leave over a shallow bowl.
  5. To make ricotta, strain it like this for 15 to 30 minutes, until you get the consistency you’re looking for. Less time will result in a very soft cheese, while more straining will give you a denser cheese. I like it somewhere in the middle. It’s amazing served right away (I love it still warm over some toasted bread drizzled with honey) but it can also be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.
  6. To make paneer, strain for 30 minutes then place the cheesecloth bundle on a plate and top with something weighted, like a cast iron pan, or another plate with a few cans on top. Let it hang out like this for another hour or two.
  7. Transfer to a sealed container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use, then cut as desired (refrigerating it will make it easier to cut cleanly as well). Use immediately or store for a few days in the fridge.
Gluten free, Kosher dairy, Vegetarian
Recipe by Katherine Martinelli at http://www.katherinemartinelli.com/blog/2013/homemade-paneer-and-ricotta/