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how to make paneer – simple steps to make paneer or cottage cheese

by dassana amit updated September 24, 2013

how to make paneer: homemade paneer, how to make homemade paneer

this post is on making paneer on the stove top. i already have posted the method for making paneer in the microwave which has pics from yonder days. this one can be helpful if you use microwave oven for your cooking.

i have been making paneer since ages now. i hardly buy paneer from outside. at home everybody likes paneer and so i prefer to make paneer at home.

i would be very happy if i got good paneer here. but i get horrible paneer here, so no option but to make it at home.

homemade paneer cubes

but sometimes one does get fantastic paneer outside. in gurgaon, i remember a shop which would sell really soft and porous paneer. they also had some types of special paneer like masala paneer, herbed paneer. all of them were delicious.

for all those who do not know…. paneer is called as cottage cheese. it is an indian cheese where the milk is coagulated by adding a food acid. it is not a fermented or cured product like other cheeses. the coagulated milk shreds are collected in a muslin and allowed to be hung or pressed with a heavy weight. after cooling you get a block of cottage cheese which can be used for making a variety of dishes.

how to make paneer

from wikipedia:

paneer is a fresh cheese common in south asian cuisine. it is of Indian origin often referred in the vedas dating back to 6000 BCE. in eastern parts of india, it is generally called chhena. It is an unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer cheese or curd cheese made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice, vinegar, or any other food acids.

unlike many cheeses in the world, the making of paneer does not involve rennet as the coagulation agent thus making it completely lacto vegetarian and providing one of the sources of proteins for vegetarians in india. it is generally unsalted.

this method of making paneer that i am going to write about is how i learnt it in my home science cooking classes. this one is quick and within 30 minutes you have a good block of paneer ready. i have been making paneer ever since like this.

i don’t hang the paneer at all. after draining the whey just keep a weight on the paneer and it all sets after some 30-40 minutes. there you go, your homemade paneer is ready.

how to make paneer

some tips on making good paneer and keeping them soft:

  1. first and foremost use good quality milk. again full cream milk yields excellent results just like it does for making homemade curd.
  2. three ingredients that coagulate the milk. you can use any one of them: lemon juice, curd or vinegar
  3. each of these will contribute their taste a little to the paneer you make. remember this. if you don’t like lemony or vinegar taste than add curd instead.
  4. if there is lots of cream floating over the milk, then there is no need to remove it. the natural cream present in the milk, makes the paneer soft.
  5. once you add the lemon juice or vinegar than the milk will start to curdle. the milk has to completely curdle. you should be able to see the whitish or greenish whey.
  6. once the milk coagulates/curdles completely than don’t boil it more. remove immediately and strain the milk.
  7. the overcooking  will yield a hard paneer once set.
  8. a way to keep the paneer soft in the fridge is to soak the paneer block  in water in a bowl and keep in the fridge. this way the paneer does not become hard.
  9. alternately you can also soak the paneer in warm water after you have removed it from the fridge.

lets begin step by step method of making paneer:

1: heat the milk and bring to a boil. stir occasionally so that the skin does not form on the surface. i tried hard to get the steam in the pics but just could not manage it. guess it poor lighting in my kitchen….

heat milk for homemade paneer

2: when the milk becomes to rise…  see the above pic. the milk was rising when i took the pic… once the milk rises, add the lemon juice or vinegar or curd.

adding lemon to milk for making paneer

3: the milk should begin to curdle. if the milk has not yet begun to curdle than add one more teaspoon. the milk should completely curdle. stir the milk when its curdling so that the curdled milk does not stick to the base of the pan.

milk for homemade paneer

4: immediately in a muslin, cheesecloth or cotton kitchen napkin drain the curdled milk. keep a bowl or pan beneath the cheese cloth. the collected whey can be added to chapatis or rice or veggies. you can also cool it and water your home or garden plants.

drain curdled milk for homemade paneer

5: bring the muslin or napkin together. whilst doing so you will also squeeze the curdled milk. take a plate and keep the muslin with the curdled milk on it. place a heavy weight on top of it. i have used my stone mortar.

homemade paneer preparation

6: after 30-40 minutes the paneer will be ready. open the cheesecloth or muslin. you will see a beautiful block of cottage cheese all set. i used 1 litre of milk and hence i don’t have a huge big block of paneer.

homemade paneer or cottage cheese

7: chop paneer into any shapes or sizes you want.

chop homemade paneer

8: you have gorgeous homemade paneer ready cubes in different shapes and sizes to go with any of the indian curries or dishes like paneer butter masala, matar paneer, malai koftakadai paneer, palak paneer,  chilli paneer, paneer paratha, paneer manchurian and paneer tikka recipe.

homemade paneer ready

More How to Recipes:
1. How to make Butter
2. How to make Curd or Dahi
3. How to make Coconut Milk
4. How to make Almond Milk
5. How to make Cashew Yogurt

how to make paneer method given below:

4.9 from 9 reviews
how to make paneer
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
how to make paneer at home and some tips
Author:
Recipe type: cooking tips
Cuisine: world
Serves: 1 small block of paneer - approx 200 to 250 gms
Ingredients
paneer ingredients
  • 1 litre milk
  • 2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar or curd/yogurt
materials required:
  • cheese cloth or muslin or a thin cotton napkin
  • some bowls and a heavy weight
Instructions
  1. boil milk.
  2. when the milk starts boiling, add the lemon juice or vinegar.
  3. as soon the milk completely curdles, remove from fire.
  4. strain the milk in the cheesecloth.
  5. drain the whey.
  6. collect the cheesecloth together with the coagulated milk shreds tightly.
  7. place it on a plate and keep a heavy weight on top of the cheesecloth.
  8. check after 30-40 minutes.
  9. the paneer would be set.
  10. once warm or cooled cut paneer into cubes or any shape.
  11. you can also refrigerate the paneer. keep it in an air tight container or immerse the paneer block in a bowl of water and keep in the fridge.
  12. paneer stays fresh for 3-4 days.


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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

giridhar April 21, 2014 1

Hi, I have been hesitating to prepare paneer as many of my friends could not get a firm paneer. Yesterday finally followed your recipe and it came out wonderfully. Its soft, firm and tasty. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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dassana amit April 21, 2014 2

welcome giridhar. now you can easily make paneer at home !!

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priya April 18, 2014 3

Hi dassana
Lovely!!! Thanks for sharing
Also I need to say that you have got a fantastic Blog
I need to try them all one by one soon
Also, can you please tell us how to make tofu at home
I’m just longing for this recipe. Plz do share on how to make tofu as soon as possible

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dassana amit April 20, 2014 4

thanks priya. making tofu is a bit complicated as you need some special stuff for it which is not available in india. you can search on google as there are a lot of recipes showing how tofu is made.

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jeetu April 3, 2014 5

I follow the step make paneer complite but paneer fry that time not to fry.

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dassana amit April 14, 2014 6

you can fry the paneer after making the paneer.

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Emma March 20, 2014 7

Brilliant, came out so well.

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gauri February 20, 2014 8

this is a fantastic idea

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Ganesh December 26, 2013 9

Super fantastic recipes.

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dassana amit December 26, 2013 10

thanks ganesh

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kuldip singh December 23, 2013 11

Excellent.

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Shobi December 11, 2013 12

Hi

I tried using the spoilt milk , but ended up in vain ….But they do say that we can make panneer using the spoilt milk ….I dont know wat went wrong ….
Actually while the milk was on the stove , it started curdling .but after adding the lime juice
things all went away just like that and it looked like a watery curd …

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dassana amit December 11, 2013 13

if the milk is badly spoilt than paneer cannot be made. if its just lightly spoilt then paneer can be made. in this case no need to add any lemon juice as the curdling happens on it own.

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Ashu December 4, 2013 14

Hi Dassana. I followed the directions and ended up with awesome quality paneer, much much better than the store brought, frozen version. Thank you for all the wonderful recipies on this site, including this simple paneer. Keep it up! :D

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dassana December 5, 2013 15

welcome ashu.

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Layla December 2, 2013 16

Well, I went and bought the milk fresh just for this recipe. It had been open for 1 minute before I started using it! The milk I used the first time was about 3 days old! But I’ll try again and see what happens. The creamy cheese was very nice, I would just like to know *why* it happened. Thanks very much

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dassana December 2, 2013 17

then i guess its the quality of milk. i remember getting paneer from outside once the cheese was exactly the way you have described.

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Layla December 1, 2013 18

Hi, I tried this recipe and it made perfect paneer, it was delicious! But the second time, I ended up with a sort of cream cheese, very soft and sticky. The milk was fresh and I did everything the same. Do you know why this would happen? Thanks

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dassana December 1, 2013 19

i think its got to do with the quality of milk. sticky would mean that the milk was just about to become sour or get spoilt. with fresh milk this is never the issue.

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Zaynab October 21, 2013 20

Can I use Limbu Ka Phool
(Cytric Acid ) to curdle the milk?
And how would I store paneer or
Khoya in the freezer ? Thank U

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dassana October 21, 2013 21

you can use citric acid to curdle the milk. i usually keep the home made paneer in an air tight box and keep on the rack below the freezer if using in a couple of days. you can also keep in the freezer. if using the next day, then i just refrigerate it. keep the khoya in an air tight container or the khoya packet in the freezer.

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fathima October 19, 2013 22

Really a wonderful recepie. I just tried it in my home today. So tasty. Thanks a lot.

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dassana October 19, 2013 23

welcome fathima

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Mihael August 26, 2013 24

Perfect recipe!

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Harlal singh July 21, 2013 25

Thanks

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Michelle July 9, 2013 26

Hi, sorry I used to wrong email. I was wondering where I can buy the type of cheese cloth you used in this recipe. Thanks!

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dassana July 9, 2013 27

michelle, this cheese cloth was given to me by a friend. so i don’t know from where she got it.

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Tehminaaz July 3, 2013 28

Hi Dassana,Thank you for sharing such an important aspect of vegetarian cooking – step by step process of making home made paneer. The pictures and write up are very informative!

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dassana July 3, 2013 29

tehminaaz, thanks for this sweet comment. i am glad you liked the step by step recipe of making paneer.

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Troubled Paneer maker June 6, 2013 30

I normally make paneer perfectly, however the last time I made it, it was very sticky.

As soon as I put the vinegar in, the milk seperated but with a sticky consistency. I put a weight on it, and when I cooked it (wanted to make sukha paneer), it all melted and turned into mash! This is rather shocking as my paneer is always perfect. I used malt vinegar (for the first time), could this be the negative factor in ruining my paneer?

Thanks!

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dassana June 6, 2013 31

actually the milk should not look sticky. if the milk looks sticky, then the milk is not fresh and possibly just on the verge of getting spoiled. always use fresh milk to make paneer. i don’t rule out malt vinegar doing anything wrong, but i would suggest to add regular vinegar or lime juice. yogurt also works well.

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vanaja May 15, 2013 32

thanks for kindly useful information

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bushra January 29, 2013 33

i made cottage cheese for the first time 2day. could not believe my eyes when i lifted the weight and cut it into pieces. it was a pure joy to try this recipe. i will definitely try masala n herb paneer sometime.

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dassana January 29, 2013 34

thanks a lot bushra. also do try the masala and herb paneer. they are so good, you can just have them plain.

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Peta December 13, 2012 35

I have never made paneer before, but I’ve slowly been growing in confidence in the kitchen and as a newly converted vegetarian and avid paneer lover I thought I should give it a go. It was wonderful! I will never ever buy paneer again, it was so much better than any store bought paneer I have ever tried. I had run out of milk so I halved the quantity (I was still short) and added a quarter cup of cream to make up for the missing milk. I think it made the paneer extra tasty :) I think since I have come across your blog I have looked at every single recipe on here. Your recipes are so easy to understand and your photos are wonderful. It’s such an inspiration to make delicious things I have never tried making before. I will be testing many more of your recipes. Thank you for all of your delicious work :) and for giving me the courage to make paneer – home-made yoghurt is next on the list :)

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dassana December 13, 2012 36

thanks peta for your encouraging comments. made my day for sure. do try the other recipes as well. they all are delicious.

homemade paneer is always better than store brought. the addition of cream to the milk makes the paneer soft and succulent. when i used to make paneer, sometimes i would add some cream to it and what a difference it would make to the paneer. we call this as malai paneer where malai is the hindi word for cream.

even a good quality whole milk can yield excellent paneer. the same applies for yogurt too. there is a variation of paneer called masala paneer where you add herbs and some spices to it and mix it with the coagulated cheese before you tie it up in the muslin. here we generally add finely julienned ginger, chopped green chilies or red chili powder and coriander/cilantro leaves. you can add your choice of herbs or seasonings to the paneer. you can try this variation too.

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Peta December 14, 2012 37

I will try that variation! Thank you so much. The masala paneer sounds too good to be true :) I’m so happy I found your blog. Thanks for the speedy reply and the recipe variations, I can’t wait to try it.

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The Wimpy Vegetarian October 27, 2012 38

I tried to make paneer several months ago, and it didn’t work out – I can’t remember now the details. But you’ve motivated me to try this again! Thanks!!!

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dassana October 27, 2012 39

thanks.

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shabs October 14, 2012 40

Hi,
stumbled upon ur blog thru google while searching for tadka dal…and then i started going thru all ur recipes. Amazign work.. I love your space, beautiful step by step pictorial and lovely presentation….I love this paneer making method. I love the fact that it shud not be boiled after it curdles, as i think that is where i make my mistake…Visit my space sometime when time permits.:)

Love,
shabs,

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dassana October 14, 2012 41

thanks shabs. actually just when the boiling pick up, that time the lemon juice or yogurt should be added. if we boil further, the paneer does not retain its softness and becomes dense & hard.

sure, i will visit your space too.

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hemlata October 6, 2012 42

Hi dassana ,even thou i knew how to make paneer ,i was not comfortertable to make it .now after i read your recipe,i went strate in the kitchen and started showing my kids how to make it.you don’t only teach us ,but you bring the confident in to the people , that means you don’t only reach in to the reader’s computers but you knew how and how deep to reach in to their mind also .these words of mine should explain you how well and how perfectly your recipes are written and explained.keep up good job.

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dassana October 6, 2012 43

dear hemlata, those were really inspiring and encouraging words. a heartfelt thank you to you.

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vandy September 28, 2012 44

thanks a lot to u dassana….u have made cooking very easy for people like me..becoz of u i have started cooking once again…thanks for ur good recipes….bye

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dassana September 28, 2012 45

thanks vandana. cooking is easy, but just that at times we require more patience while cooking, especially some of the indian dishes.

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Srijana September 12, 2012 46

Thank you so much for posting homemade paneer, now i can make it easily at home and whenever i need. thanks once again.

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dassana September 12, 2012 47

welcome srijana and thanks.

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jayashree May 12, 2012 48

Your post on paneer was very well explained & came as a saviour as I was having trouble keeping it from crumbling…
I tried your method & suceeded in keeping it in one piece…thanks a ton for the post..

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dassana May 12, 2012 49

welcome jayashree.

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shyama manjari May 12, 2012 50

Love to try this.Keep up the good work

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Mina Joshi May 11, 2012 51

I too make paneer just like you but rinse the milk solids under water before putting a weight on it. I noticed that you didn’t do that. I am wondering if paneer sets better if you don’t wash the milk solids?
BTW- Great pictures and lovely blog.

Mina
http://www.givemesomespice.com

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dassana May 11, 2012 52

thanks mina. btw your comment had gone into the spam list. when i was just about to delete the spam comments, i saw your comment which was the first comment.

i don’t rinse the coagulated milk in water as i think the heat helps the paneer to set better as it cools down. i have seen many bloggers doing this, but personally i have never done this. nor it was told to us during our home science cooking classes.

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Meeta May 9, 2012 53

Hi Dassana, can we also curdle paneer in aluminium utensil or we should prefer steel one? Yesterday, i did the work on home made paneer . I used 1.25 ltrs of milk approx and it yeilded 200 to 225 gms of paneer. Though it was soft but the whey didn’t turn bluish or change colour. It was looking like a thin lassi. This means i took it off early from the stove top and milk could have curdled a bit more. I had to squeeze 2-3 tbsps of lemon and 1 tbsp of curd & a pinch of salt.

love, meeta.

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dassana May 9, 2012 54

dear meeta, milk can be curdled in any utensil. i hv heard aluminium is not good for the health. so keeping the health prospect aluminium pots and pans can be avoided.

from what you describe, it looks like the milk did not curdle completely. a transparent whitish or greenish liquid should be clearly visible. if the milk still looks white & opaque and a part has curdled … this means that the curdling is not complete. depending on the quality of milk, sometimes a few tsps or tbsp of lemon juice needs to be added to get a complete curdling of the milk.

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Bridget May 9, 2012 55

Can this be made with non-dairy milk? Thanks

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dassana May 9, 2012 56

dear bridget, i don’t think paneer can be made with non dairy milk. in fact i am also looking for alternatives to paneer. the only non diary substitute that i know is tofu. but tofu texture wise and taste wise is way different from paneer.

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Madhu Seth Vijayan May 8, 2012 57

Hi Dassana – your blog/recipes are very easy to follow and methodical. Is there any way of making low-fat paneer from tetra-packs (as that is all I get). Please try as my family loves paneer but we need to watch our fat consumption.

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dassana May 8, 2012 58

dear madhu, i have made paneer before with low fat tetra milk. the yield of the paneer in volume is less. also i did not like the texture the paneer had. taste wise it was alright. but a bit dense and not very soft. still you can try making them from low fat tetra milk.

i have also made paneer from fresh cow’s and buffalo’s milk. and the cows & buffaloes were not tortured like the way they do it now. the paneer from these milk were soft, light and melt in the mouth…..

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Archana May 8, 2012 59

Hi Dassana! I had a few questions on this kitchen tip. How much paneer is made from 1L of milk? Which milk works the best to make paneer – the tetra-pack one or the plastic bag one? I live in Bangalore and don’t have the option of getting fresh cow milk.

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dassana May 8, 2012 60

even i don’t get fresh cow’s milk. for this post, i have used the packet milk not the tetra pack ones. but i have made paneer both with tetra packed milk and the packet milks. both give nice results. 1 litre of milk will give you approx 200-250 gms of paneer. this is enough for one paneer dish which will serve 3-4 people. in fact i made paneer parathas twice with the whole of this paneer.

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Family cook May 8, 2012 61

Love this post! Your blog is unlike any other blog-unique! I have learnt so many things in such a short time on the art of perfecting home-made food. Keep up the great work!

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dassana May 8, 2012 62

thanks family cook for such positive comments.

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Anj January 7, 2013 63

Hi there.. I have been making paneer since forever but somehow off late it has been coming out hard, I have no clue why, trying to figure, I used the same method always.. boil, add vinegar, strain, keep weight over it. Can it be possible that I am washing it off late and never used to wash it till sometime back or if the weight is too heavy.. I am sure it is not the milk cos i have been using the same milk

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dassana January 8, 2013 64

may be the weight is too heavy or it is being kept for a long time. just keep it for some 20 minutes… maximum 30 minutes. keeping for a longer time drains out the water and moisture making the paneer dense and hard. i don’t think this has got to do anything with rinsing the paneer.

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