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Halloumi...Finally!

33 comments /
Yes, finally!  For some reason that is beyond my grasp, I have been unable to find Halloumi at any markets in my area. It's not that I hadn't ever tried Halloumi...as a cheese aficionado {ahem} I have ordered it at restaurants...Greek ones...hello Saganaki (flaming, oozing deliciousness)...YUM...I just haven't found it in the "raw" to bring home to experiment with.  I mean, how long can a girl be expected to drool over samples, recipes, pictures and descriptions of tempting, fried, chewy cheese before losing her marbles?  I reached my breaking point. I would just have to go and make some myself. TAKE THAT ELUSIVE CHEESE.  Ha!  With a little determination and a lot of support from my fellow Forgers...it wasn't so hard.  Honest.   

What exactly is Halloumi you ask?  You asked.  It's a white, sort of dry, sort of chewy, sort of salty cheese with a very high melting point.  Hence, great for frying, grilling and setting a-flame.  When you fry it and subsequently eat it...it squeaks between your teeth.  Something I find quite pleasant.  Traditionally it's made using sheep's &/or goat's milk...but it can be made using cow's milk (which I did)...the flavor will be a bit milder, though.  If it lasts long enough...it's usually stored in a salt-water brine or the whey from making the cheese.  I think this helps to keep some semblance of moisture in the cheese and keeps it salty.

I used this (slightly adapted)** recipe from Making Artisan Cheese by Tim Smith:

Halloumi
I halved the recipe because I didn't have a big enough pot!
2 gallons whole milk
1/4 tsp mesophilic direct-set culture
1/8 tsp calcium chloride- diluted in 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water
1/2 tsp liquid rennet (or 1/4 tab dry rennet) diluted in 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water
1/2 cup cheese salt not sure what cheese salt is...used kosher salt
Brine solution*
1 tsp dried mint, re hydrated in 1/2 cup boiling water  I omitted as I couldn't find any mint yet!

Heat the milk in a double boiler to 86F (31C), then add the starter culture and blend for two minutes. I used a slow-cooker.

Maintaining the target temperature of 86F, add the rennet & calcium chloride, stir for one minute, and let rest for forty minutes, or until a clean break. To test for a clean break, use a curd knife to make one cut through the curds.

Cut curds into 1/2" (about 1cm) cubes, trying to keep them as uniform as possible.
Slowly heat curds to 104F (40C); this should take forty-five minutes. Continually stir the curds to keep them from matting. Once the curds reach target temperature, maintain the curds at that temperature for an additional twenty minutes while continuing to stir.

Drain the whey off curds into a cheese cloth-lined colander that is set in a catch bowl. Reserve the whey.

Blend mint into the drained curds with a spoon if using. Pour the curds into a 2-pound (900g) cheese cloth-lined mould. Fold a corner of the cheese cloth over the curds, and press at thirty pounds for one hour. Remove the cheese from the mould, and unwrap the cheese cloth. Turn over the cheese, and re wrap it with the cheese cloth. Press at forty pounds for one hour. The cheese should be firm with a spongy consistency. I used circular dumbbell weights wrapped in foil.  Perfect!

Heat the reserved whey in a pan to 190F (88C). Take the cheese out of the mold, and cut it into 2" (5cm) thick strips. Put the strips into the heated whey, maintaining the target temperature for one hour.

The cheese should have a thick consistency. Drain it into the cheese cloth-lined colander, and let it rest at room temperature for twenty minutes.  Store in brine solution or the whey used for cooking with salt added to that.

Coat the cheese with 1/2 cup (145g) of cheese salt ?, and let it rest for two hours at room temperature.

Yield - 2 pounds (900g)

Notes:
Leave milk out of fridge for a couple of hours before starting the cheese-making.

Brine Solution
A brine is a supersaturated solution of salt and water, in which cheeses are literally bathed. (Brine solution consists of 2 pounds (905g) of salt stirred into and dissolved in 1 gallon (4.5 l) of water, heated to 190F (88C).  Brining occurs directly after a cheese is removed from the press. The cheese is literally dunked into this salty bath. Once in a the brine, the cheese begins to absorb salt, and the proteins begin to harden and form the rind.

**by Natashya & myself as we made it as we noticed some things were left out of the actually recipe as we went along.  But it worked!

Mine ended up a little lop-sided, but that's because of my crude colander "mold".  I didn't have a large enough cheese mold, so I used a colander...but that darn handle tilts it on the side of the bowl, so my weights pressed it unevenly.  No harm, though...tasted the same ;)

As I mentioned...I fried up this Halloumi like it was going out of style!  Tell me you wouldn't love to try this tasty mess.  No, don't tell me.  It would make me sad.  For you. 

Halloumi w/ Chilli
from Nigella Bites
2 Tbs. chopped, seeded fresh red chilli I used green jalapeños, as it's all I had and I like to call it chile.  As opposed to chilli.  Just sayin'.
2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil I refuse to call it EVOO
18 oz. Halloumi, sliced medium-thin I had already sliced it as per my Halloumi recipe, so...  and I didn't measure. Such a rebel.
juice of 1/4 lemon

Mix the chopped chile & olive oil in a bowl or cup and leave the flavors to deepen while you cook the cheese. 
Using a nonstick frying pan I used my well-seasoned cast-iron comal without any oil, fry up about 2 minutes a side or until golden brown in parts.
When all the slices are cooked, transfer them to a couple of small plates.  Give the oil a stir and spoon it over the cheese, then give a spritz of lemon.  That's all there is to it.  That's all there needs to be.



If you made Halloumi this month...or must do it now that you've seen just how easy it really is...join us over at Forging Fromage with your link by May 14...we'd love to forge with you!

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33 comments

  1. You and I are opposites in this respect. I've definitely SEEN halloumi around but have never actually eaten it! It looks so delicious though...and I have a definite weakness for cheese. (I am still so amazed at you all MAKING your own cheese by the way).

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  2. That looks so delishious. I was thinking of buying a raw milk cow share to be able to make nice cheese like that Have you tried ethnic greek stores?

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  3. Incredible! Heather, you are really good in making cheese! Thanks for shaing the recipe!

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  4. Wow! Your homemade halloumi looks amazing!

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  5. whoa! making cheese at home mystifies me. i can't believe you made it. weirdly enough, halloumi has become fairly easy to find around here.

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  6. I remember when you posted your status about fried halloumi, the next day I literally went out and tried to find some with no luck. :( I'm bookmarking this one. I shall one day give my hand at cheese making.

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  7. Very very ambitious and I must say, pretty darned brilliant.

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  8. Ciao ! yOUR hALLOUMI IS GREAT AND i WANTED TO TRY IT ( ops !)but I wouldn't know where to find the strange ingredients !!

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  9. I love halloumi! I've never been bold enough to make it myself, but it's really wonderful!

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  10. I've never had halloumi. Got to find me some. Your description sounds somewhat like cheese curds. Ever had cheese curds? If so, I'd like your opinion on the comparison. And by the way, I'm sure glad you're back!

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  11. polwig...what a fabulous idea! If you have access to buying a cow share, that is a dream for many. We are lucky to have a couple of cow shares in our area to enjoy. And strangely enough, although we have many Greek restaurants in the area I don't know of any Greek markets :(

    Justin...jealous.

    Jenn....we will lure you in...soon...you'll be forging along with us one of these days ;)

    Natalia...we have a link to cheese making supply houses on the Forging Fromage site, I also have Googled Cheese making supplies and had luck. Just enter your country as well. I hope you will join us :)

    Lee Ann...thanks so much :) And yes, I love cheese curds too! It's kind of like curds...they're both squeaky and chewy, but halloumi is a bit drier. I don't really care for it unless it's cooked...where as I can pop curds like candy!!

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  12. I'm SO GLAD YOU GOT TO TRY HAlloumi!! I LOVE that cheese! It's like steak, except gooey and freaking amazing with all the ooziness you can possibly get! YUM!

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  13. Oh my word! I can't believe you made your own cheese!! So awesome:)

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  14. Ummm, I am hungry even more for dinner at this moment looking at your wonderful recipe and photos! You rock!

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  15. I have learned to love the elusive halloumi. You made your own...that's fantastic!!!

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  16. Sweet merciful crap, I want that. Great job!

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  17. Hold me back! I need to discover halloumi too. I doubt I will be able to find it where I live but, it is worth a try.

    btw, yea! I can leave a comment.

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  18. Hey Chief! wher have you been? I haven't seen you around for some time. But what a come back..I agree with velva..someone hold me back! awesome

    JW

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  19. I am SO glad you're back :-)

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  20. So awesome that you made your own halloumi. I tried it once with a Nigella recipe and loved it. Love that you did it with the jalapeno. It looks delicious.

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  21. I do love grilling halloumi with eggplant. It's so beautiful that you created it - and created it beautifully.

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  22. wow you made halloumi yourself?!!! I love grilled halloumi!

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  23. I have always wanted to try Halloumi cheese. Every recipe I've ever seen with it looks fabulously delicious but I have never seen it for sale anywhere! You are an amazing woman making your own! I'd never dare!

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  24. I have not seen nor heard of this cheese, but I would welcome a nibble. I'm not too sure about cheese that squeaks between my teeth...I might like it!

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  25. oh my goodness, i've never even had this amazing cheese, let alone make it. i'm so intrigued!

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  26. holy crap! I sooo want to learn how to make cheese....but then again I don't. I'd end up in a cheese and wine diet....strictly. and that's kinda scary! But then you went and FRIED it???!!! That's just not fair at all.
    (I wonder what "sublica" means...its my verification word)

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  27. That looks truly delicious. I would love to try my hands at this but living in France, I don't even know where to get rennet. I know I live in a Cheese country but in France, you need to know someone who knows where to source for all this. If not, it's finding the ingredients like needle in a hay stack.

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  28. Ninja...Nope. I refuse to believe that ;)...don't dash my dreams of France's Fromage. I could always fly there and bring you some supplies (in my dreams...ah, France).

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  29. I just thot of it. Maybe I can ask the pharmacy if they sell rennet but the others, I don't know where I can get it from and not to mention how to translate it in correct French. LOL

    There's this cheese that I love especially cooked with potato in a pan - very caloried but so so delicious. We only eat it once or twice during winter. But if you ski, u can eat this every day after ski.

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  30. Ninja...I'd be willing to take up skiing. Just for the purpose of eating that daily...sounds awesome! :D

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  31. Looks wonderful! Halloumi is a favorite of mine and there are a few places that have it here but it isn't cheap so it is nice that you can make your own.

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  32. We can easily buy halloumi and have done - it's wonderful cooked on the barbecue and then drizzled with olive oil and garnishe with mint or marjoram! But store-bought halloumi is on the expensive side so we don't get it very often.

    We could make it!! Of course. Many thanks for outlining how to do just that.

    -Elizabeth

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