More Great Recipes: Mediterranean

Halloumi Cheese

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"A taste of Mediterranean with a bite of cheese"

Serves 1 pound | Prep Time 30 minutes | Cook Time 1 week

Why I Love This Recipe

Is a Semi- Hard unripen cheese with a high melting point.

Ingredients You'll Need

1Gallon of Milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
1Pack C21 Buttermilk Culture or 1/4 tsp MA4002 (no culture for raw milk)
1/4tsp Single Strength Liquid Rennet (1/8 tsp for raw milk)
1/2oz Salt
Dried mint (optional)
3/8tsp Calcium Chloride for Pasteurized Milk


Step 1: Heat - Begin by heating the milk to 86-88°F . Placing the milk in a pot of very warm water. If you do this in a pot on the stove, make sure you heat the milk slowly and stir it well as it heats.

Once the milk is at your target temperature, the optional culture can be added. The culture will quickly be destroyed as the milk and curds are heated to the higher temperature but they will then provide special enzymes for ripening if the cheese is preserved for a short time.

If adding lipase and/or calcium chloride, these can be added now.

Stir briefly to incorporate well into the milk.

Step 2: Coagulate with Rennet - Now add about 1/4 tsp. of single strength liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup of water.

Total coagulation time is 30-40 minutes the milk begins to thicken in 15-20 minutes. Since there is little to no ripening time and acid development for this cheese, more rennet than normal is being used.

Step 3: Cut the Curds - The curd can now be cut to .75-1.5 inch squares in a vertical manner. Allow it to rest 3-5 minutes to heal and then using a long spoon or ladle, cut horizontally into even sized cubes.

Stir gently, increasing the heat slowly to 100-106°F (38–40°C) during 20 to 30 minutes (higher temp for a drier cheese).

Then keep at this temp for another 20-30 minutes with intermittent stirring (every 3-5 minutes).

When this point is reached, the curds can be allowed to settle for about 5 minutes under the whey.

The cooking of the final cheese in hot whey is integral to the making of Halloumi, so we will begin by filtering off the whey from the curds until you can see the curds below. I do this using a sanitized colander and just scooping the whey out with another ladle, bowl, or cup.

Step 4: Cook Curds and Remove Whey - When the whey has been separated and transferred, slowly heat the whey to 185-195°F (do not let it boil).

The dry curds will be transferred to their form from draining. A light hand pressure will help the consolidation of curd and, if making more than 1 form, they can be stacked and reversed for a little weight.

While the whey is heating, the curds may continue to rest with a little weight. Either stacking of the forms or a 1-2 lb. weight for a single cheese will do.

Step 5: Form the Curds - Make sure you turn them at 15-20 minute intervals to form a well consolidated cheese.

Step 6: Heat Halloumi in Whey - After heating the whey the cheese should be well formed into circular shape

It's now time to give the Halloumi its true character by heating it in the whey for 30-40 minutes. Keep the whey temp at 190-195F for the time it takes to cook all of the pieces of Halloumi. Using a ladle or basket to keep the cheese off of the bottom of the heating pot (to prevent sticking), lower the cheese into the whey. The cheese will initially sink to the bottom but as the cheese cooks, it will eventually float to the surface.

When the cheese floats, it is ready to be removed. I cool the cheese for a few seconds in cold water and then lay it on a draining mat to drain and cool a bit more.

As the cheese cools and while it is still warm form a larger and flatter disc of cheese.

To finish the cheese sprinkle with:

Salt - about 1/2 oz. of cheese salt sprinkled over one side of the cheese disc. .. this equates to only about 3% salt addition but traditionally up to 5% and more would be added for preservation in the hot Mediterranean climate.
Mint - enough mint to cover the cheese surface. This is traditionally dried but I see no reason not to use fresh if the cheese will be consumed fresh or even if you are adding other herbs to taste.
The cheese can then be folded into a crescent and pressed slightly as it cools

Step 7: Finish and Salt - The finished yield should be about 1 pound of cheese

Pairs Well With

Chicken, Burger, Salad and used on Bread Rolls

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