I did it! My second attempt at making paneer was a success and I am quite happy.
What changed this time around:
Used 1/2 gallon whole milk instead of an entire gallon
Made sure milk came to a full boil
Tried to be less impatient waiting for curds to happen
Used 4 tablespoons lemon juice total rather than the recommended 3
Realized that as some recipes suggested my whey would be evident but not as watery as described. *I had read that the whey would separate so completely that you would have very obvious curd and a thin, watery, greenish whey. This never happened the first time and so I over-used the lemon juice in attempts to achieve this effect.
I was still skeptical as I poured the contents of my pot into the cheesecloth lined strainer but as more and more curds settled onto the cheesecloth my excitement grew. In fact I was so pleased with just how much cheese I made that I forgot to get a picture of it sitting in the strainer 😦
However, here it is after draining and starting the pressing process:
I’m really not pressing it with a towel here. I have a clear glass plate on top of the cheese and with all the whiteness I didn’t want a weird, reflective picture so I threw the towel onto the plate. There is still some reflection (I fail at photos 101) but you get the idea.
Here it is in the cheesecloth after about 20 minutes of pressing:
And finally, unwrapped from the cheesecloth and ready to go into my refrigerator!
Isn’t it lovely? I would estimate that I got about 8-10 ounces total and although not perfectly rectangular it mimics closely the same size as a brick of cream cheese.
I have renewed faith in my skills and can hardly wait to use this to make mattar paneer.