I had never even heard of paneer cheese until today. Reading a pita pizza recipe in the food section, I stumbled upon it.

Evidently it is a very popular cheese in Pakistan, Bangledesh and places like that. It is made by boiling milk and adding lemon juice until it curdles, separating the curds from the whey.

Just like little Miss Muppet, who sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey. Along came a spider and sat down beside her… The way you make the cheese sounded interesting, so I tried it.

It calls for half a gallon of milk and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Boil the milk in a big pot, add the lemon juice and stir until it curdles. Then strain through a cheese cloth (resting in a strainer) and the resulting ‘cheese’ will be a small ball.

Photo on 3-6-13 at 3.00 PMSqueeze out the liquid and dunk the cheesecloth wrapped cheese ball in some ice water to set it. You can leave the cheese in the ice water for a couple of hours. Chill.

The results are a small ball of cheese, about 1/2 a cup maybe. I used 2% milk, for a low fat salt free cheese. No sodium. (the left over milk liquid is best dumped down the sink). Cost for this is about $5. Figure $4 for the milk and at least $1 for the two lemons. This is assuming your time is worth zero

You can see from the photo, it is smaller than a medium size onion. Very tasteless, due to no salt, but I guess you could doctor it up with spices, mix it with a package of Ranch dressing or use it in a Lipton onion soup dip (which is loaded with sodium).

I looked up paneer cheese on the internet and was surprised to find the following: At least three fast food restaurants offer paneer. McDonalds India serves the McSpicy Paneer[4] and Paneer Wrap.[5] In the United Kingdom, Subway has started serving a saag paneer patty. Tamatanga (Urban Indian Cuisine) restaurant also serves a Paneer Wrap[6]. Taco Bell India serves the paneer and potato burrito.[7]

Anyway, the recipe called for making a pizza using a pita as a base and topping it with a pesto sauce and uses the paneer cheese on top for a ‘healthy’ pizza. If you want to try this, you take a pita, top with pesto sauce and cheese. Chop up some cherry tomatoes or whatever you like on your pizza and bake for ten minutes in a 400 degree oven.

I don’t guarantee that you will love this, but I had never made cheese before and I think next time, I would add some spices to this. I guess you could add them in with the lemon juice. Salt/garlic/pepper flakes/jalepeno/or ?

Or you could mix it with some strawberry jam and spread it on toast or a bagel for a less sinful ‘cream cheese’. Speaking of bagels, I guess you could cut up some lox and make a lox/cheese spread. There is probably enough salt in the lox to flavor the cheese.

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