Paneer cheese requires two ingredients: milk and an acid, such as lemon juice. It’s easy to make and, depending on how you process and flavor it, it can be used in sweet and savory dishes.
Line a large colander with a double layer of cheesecloth, muslin, or other porous white cloth.
In a large pot over medium heat, bring the milk to a rolling boil, stirring the milk and scraping the bottom to prevent scalding.
Stir in the lemon juice. The milk will immediately curdle and separate. If the milk doesn’t completely curdle, add a little more lemon juice. Continue to boil for about 30 seconds, stirring slowly to prevent the large clumps from breaking up.
Remove the pot from the heat and pour everything—the whey with the cheese—through the lined colander. Rinse under cold running water for 15 to 20 seconds to remove any traces of the lemon juice.
Gather the edges of the cloth, tie them together, and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
Hang the cloth by tying the edges to the handle of a wooden spoon and place the spoon over the colander. Let the water completely drain from the cheese at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. To shape the paneer, place the drained cheese, still in the cloth, on a flat plate. Place a heavy weight, such as a Dutch oven, on the cheese. Let it sit until any excess water has been released and the cheese is firm to the touch, 30 to 60 minutes.
Remove the paneer from the cloth and cut and use as needed. (You can store the paneer, wrapped with plastic wrap in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)