kireic (kireic) wrote in cooking,

Melting paneer?

Hi food fans - I am having trouble with my paneer. Despite that numerous internet resources say that only rennet-curdled cheeses will melt properly, I have made paneer twice in the last year using acid, and both times the resulting paneer has turned melty on me!

The first time, I used skim milk spiked with some cream, and curdled with cider vinegar. It was a little hard to bring it together and "knead" before pressing, but once pressed stayed together pretty well. However, when I attempted to brown it after cutting it into cubes, it melted into lumpy masses. I figured that either using the skim + cream, and/or using vinegar instead of lemon juice, and/or not kneading enough must be the culprit for it not holding together, and vowed to try again. As a note, I cooked half of it after ti had refrigerated for a day, and the other half after freezing for a while. Both times were equally melty.

Just recently, though, I made a batch using 2% and skim milk plus a little half-and-half, and curdled with straight-up citric acid solution. It seemed to be working better, because after draining and initial squeezing, I was able to get the cheese mass to knit together a bit and knead. Some recipes call to knead until the mix is smooth, but that never really happened for me because the mix was still just a bit too crumbly. I pressed it, and ended up with a pretty firm block, which I froze. I thawed it back out this past Saturday and cooked it Sunday - this time it was somehow even more melty! It was as though I'd tried to fry fresh mozzarella. And yet, it was prefectly firm when I had cut it into blocks.

I am perplexed! Could this be because I am not using whole milk, and instead concocting mixes of lesser milkfat products with higher milkfat products? Something tells me that perhaps there were gums in the high-fat products, which could have had some effects on the cheese's structure. Overall, though, I'm just confused - I don't know enough about cheese science to decipher how I am basically getting an effect that is attributed to rennet-curdled cheeses in an acid-curdled cheese.

Does anyone have any idea why this has happened? Any suggested fixes? Thanks!
Tags: cuisine: indian, dairy: cheese, help: what went wrong?
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