I have a packet of cottage cheese ( paneer ) and it advises me not to deep freeze it? I can't understand why. Any help? I had it deep frozen right from the time I bought it. It is also 3 days past its 'best before' date. Can I still use it?
I live in one of the largest cheese producing areas in the US. Freezing cheese is often frowned upon here, it often changes the texture of the cheese and can alter the flavor as well. Cheese, much like anything else, can freezer burn. Firmer cheeses typically are affected the least by being frozen. You'll probably see a lot of the whey separate out of the cheese upon thawing, and the texture will likely be different and much drier. Its completely possible to freeze the cheese, and it poses no health risks, but it will most definitely reduce the quality of your cheese.
A "best before" date is exactly as its stated, its best to eat if before the provided date with a concern for quality rather than health risks, however storage conditions make a big difference. As far as food safety, cheese tends to remain safe to eat until visible mold/fungi appears on the cheese. Though I say use your best judgement, and if you don't feel comfortable eating it then you should discard it, or to reduce waste compost it for your garden.
I have seen frozen paneer before. It is certainly not a good Idea to Freeze it. It turns yellow(off-whitish, due to the acids used in separation of cheese from milk) and loses texture ( as mentioned by @tsturzl ). When you thaw it if you find a lot of difference in taste and smell than that would be because it's past best before date. Paneer normally has very mild sour-milky odor with firm white texture and tastes bit like tofu bit milder.
Personally I always buy multiple packages when on sale and freeze the stuff. I take it out of the freezer the day before I want to use it. It stays firm and tasty. The longest I've kept it in the freezer was about two months.
Paneer when deep-frozen loses its texture and taste. It is supposed to be soft and supple. It does not thaw well.