The Bear Chef

Cooking and other Food Stuff

First Adventure in Cheesemaking

I received a book, Artisan Cheesemaking at Home, for xmas that would give me my first set of recipes. The book is quite precise and gives a really good introduction. The whole book is structured in stages so that you are pushed to try easy cheese first. Just as well really, as i probably would have gone straight for a camembert or stilton first when a panir or mascarpone is by far a better choice for a first cheese.

In the first week back after christmas, Lucy and I knew that we would want a takeaway but with a ‘new year, new fitness’ regime we decided to go for a ‘home takeaway’. i.e. cooking our favourite takeaway food at home. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for my first foray into cheese making with a panir dish.

I followed the recipe to the letter in terms of ingredients, measures and stages but i think i may have taken too long for some of the stages, and too quick for the initial heating of the milk.

The panir tasted amazing, but didn’t ever get into the ‘slab’ it is supposed to. The cheese ended up with a more crumbly texture than expected, and the pressing stage didn’t really do anything as the curds were already too hard. Next time i’ll need to maybe do a water bath to bring the initial temperature up slower and to respect the timings of the rest of the recipe (basically try not to get distracted).

I think i’ll go for mascarpone next but DEFINITELY give Panir another go another time. The taste was so much nicer than long life supermarket panir.

Our menu for the evening included:

  • Baked Onion Bhajis (from Jeena’s Kitchen Blog)
  • Goan Prawn Curry (from Madhur Jaffrey’s Ultimate Curry Bible using the coconut milk i made last week)
  • Chard Paneer (from the Akshayapaatram Blog)
  • Boiled Rice
  • Spicy Onion Chutney (from a Homemade Spice Set xmas present from my brother and his girlfriend – i’m sure i’ll talk more about that later as i delve into the rest of them)
  • Chapatis were cancelled (too much time cooking already!)
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