You can make fresh ricotta* (or paneer) cheese from powdered milk. It’s pretty amazing and very easy. You can have fresh cheese in 5 minutes.
You will need:
Acid (up to a few tablespoons depending on strength) (e.g. citric acid, lemon juice, vinegar)
Cheese cloth/fabric cloth for straining cheese (I reckon a blue chux cloth would also work)
Use a 1:2 ratio of milk powder to boiling water. Boiling water helps quicken the process. E.g. if a recipe calls for 5 cups of milk to make Chena for a rasgulla recipe, I used 2 and 1/2 cups of powdered milk to 5 cups of boiling water. I also used 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of citric acid dissolved in 2 tablespoons of boiling water for this recipe.
Combine water and milk powder on a stove top set to medium heat. If it’s a little lumpy that’s ok, the stirring in the next step should help smooth it out.
stir the mixture until it gets to 95 degrees Celsius, or until it’s just boiling if you don’t have a thermometer
Add the acid
Stir and watch the milk seperate into curds and whey, you are now just like little miss Muffet
Poor mixture into your cloth over a bowl/container
Squeeze the cloth to get out extra fluid (this will be hot, be careful. You can cool it down by running it under cold water)
Optional: let it hang for 30 minutes
Voilà, you now have cheese and it took about 5 minutes to make.
*Technically it’s not ricotta as ricotta means twice cooked and it’s actually made from the left over whey from making other cheeses but I won’t tell if you don’t.
If the thought of making cheese is still a little daunting, I actually started with a mad Millie italian cheese making kit. This kit comes with all you need to start making cheese in your own kitchen, the ricotta/Mascarpone recipes are pretty similar. One uses milk and the other uses cream and Mascarpone takes a little longer to seperate.
You can reuse the left over whey as well, I usually don’t but a quick Google search will turn up many results from beauty therapy to gardening.