One of the many things we do here on the farm to preserve the dairy harvest is make fresh farmhouse cheese. Some cheeses are more difficult while others are rather basic. Most cheese recipes will require rennet, a starter culture or citric acid, strainers, molds and waxes. While we are still experimenting and learning the fine art of cheese making, a few simple household cheese recipes have found their way into our files.
Today, we are making Panir;a farmhouse cheese that requires very basic ingredients and methods. Delicate and moist, this cheese carries a slight hint of lemon while lending well to various flavor additives and uses. Now, let's get started.
Panir: The basic recipe:
two lemons for every one quart of milk
thermometer and heavy bottom pot
fine mesh strainer (or cheesecloth) and salt
*as a note, we use fresh goat milk, however, full fat cow's milk also works (yes, I tried it)
To begin, pour your milk into a heavy bottom stock pot. Juice the lemons into the milk (remove any seeds that may fall in). Bring your milk/lemon juice mixture to 185 degrees over a medium high heat. I like a digital thermometer; I feel it is more accurate. As the milk heats, you will start to notice small curds begin to form. The warmer the milk, the more curds develop.
Once you reach 185 degrees, cover the pot and allow the curds and whey to set for fifteen minutes- this will help develop and separate the curds. During this setting period, I line a strainer with cheese cloth. Now, I use my whey for either cooking or to supplement animal feed..so my strainer is set in a bowl to collect the whey.
|curds in cheesecloth|
After the fifteen minute set, pour the curds and whey through your cheese cloth. Allow the curds to set in the cloth/strainer until the whey has drained sufficiently. We like a rather dry cheese, so my curd sits at least an hour.
|panir with dried tomato and basil|
When the cheese is dry enough for you, salt to your taste and add any herbs or flavorings you may desire. Stored in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for several months, Panir is a great way to preserve the diary harvest. For freezing: I wrap the cheese in clear plastic wrap before placing it in resealable storage bags with a clear label and date.
|tomato basil panir served on cucumber slices|