Debi van Zyl

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I tend to try to make everything from scratch. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it does not. I won't say anything more about the marshmallows I tried to make a few years ago other than they were an utter disaster. Which reminds me, so were my milk chocolate malted milk balls.I was a fool to try to replicate the Malteaser.

Suffice it to say, I am not a good candy maker... BUT... I can CAN make cheese. Truth be told, I can only make one kind of cheese: paneer.  I've been making this cheese for years (because its so ridiculously easy and tasty and in many of my favorite Indian dishes) and part of the recipe calls for placing some kind of weight atop the curds gathered in a muslin cloth. This helps to drain excess moisture.

Never having had a weight heavy enough, in the past I've made towering columns of canned beans stacked on a dinner plate over a colander in sink. Interesting looking, though not very safe or effective.In my recent move into this new apartment I rediscovered my old iron. It used to be a long forgotten book-end, but now it's a cheese press! This green beauty weighs 7 pounds and does the trick in 30 mins as opposed to hours of the leaning tower in the sink.

To make paneer all you need is:
- 1/2 gallon whole milk
- 1 quart buttermilk
- fine muslin cloth
{cheesecloth is a little too porous and your cheese will stick. Certainly not the end of the world, but so much easier with muslin}

Boil the milk in the pot, slowly. Remove any skin that might form on top and try to keep bottom from burning. When you reach a boil, turn off heat and add entire quart of buttermilk and stir constantly. The curds start to separate from the whey (which is a funny green color). When this is complete, pour the contents of the pot into you muslin cloth which is draped on the inside of your colander. Drain, and gather the ends of the cloth and tie into a knot, which also helps push out moisture. Then add a weight and drain further. I like to keep the cheese bundle on top of my colander, which I turn over and leave in the sink.

I've also made this with fresh lemon juice (bascially you need an an acid to separate the curbs from the whey) but I prefer the taste of the buttermilk for this recipe.

p.s. Blog - I'm fiddling with your layout... you may notice some changes.

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