Cheesy comestibles–Halloumi

As noted in my previous post, after a bit of a challenge getting the milk right, I began what is an involved but relatively short process of halloumi making–maybe 5-6 hours, depending on how long you let it drain.

I should also note that Halloumi is normally  made with sheep’s or goat’s milk.  This was made with cow’s milk, and once I got it right, it worked absolutely fine.

Just as an aside: I’ve noticed in the three cheeses I’ve made, more work goes into cheese that takes less time.  So cream cheese takes about 30 hours, but you basically heat, add cultures, and let it sit; halloumi takes less time–you can be done in probably about 5 hours–but it has many steps.  I should note that this general observations collapses with mozzarella, which takes a few days and has a bunch of steps, including stretching the mozza into the right texture.  I have not made it yet.

Once the halloumi sits for 90min-2hours (I let it sit longer to make sure the curds were firm), you cut it into curds, and gently stir.  I’m not going through all the steps here, but basically at this point you’re trying to create more surface from which the whey can be rendered, to make firmer curds.

Here is the halloumi in curd form.

Halloumi, being stirred to render more whey.

All of that yellow liquid is whey.

Curds from the side

After stirring and letting it sit for a while (another 2 hours, basically) you gently place the curds in a butter muslin lined colander, and then press it by placing some weight on top.  I don’t have a photo of that, but I put it in a very old colander with a bowl of water on top, and it pressed relatively well (the colander had an uneven bottom, so some parts of the pressed cheese was thicker and not as well pressed, but ultimately this was not a problem.

After this, when it seems to be the right texture (another few hours should do it) you slice it to the desired size, and boil it.  That’s right: boil it.

Boiling halloumi. You can see the uneven shape of the cheese made by the colander.

When it’s done (when the halloumi bits rise to the top of the water) you drain it, salt the crap out of it (literally: salt helps the water drain out) and it’s done.

Salt-encrusted halloumi, draining. Eventually I brushed off whatever salt did not sink into the cheese

Let it cool.

Heat up your grill and throw it on.  It’s delicious!

Now, I should note that initially the raw halloumi didn’t taste so good.  When I buy halloumi from the store, it is edible without grilling (though why you’d do that I don’t know).  But this stuff didn’t taste great raw.  It might have been the type of milk I used–cow’s rather than sheep or goat.

However it tasted just as good as any other halloumi once it was nicely grilled!

If you’ve never grilled halloumi, remember that you should make sure the grill is very hot before putting it on.  I think part of the reason it does not melt is that you can sear the outside.  If it’s not too hot, the outside doesn’t sear, and it begins to melt.

Once the grill is hot, either turn it down or make sure you don’t leave it too long.  The stuff burns really quickly.


About danmalleck

Medical historian and jack-of-all-trades curmudgeon. I tend to ramble about politics, social incivility, and our self-centred culture more interested in buying the next cool ringtone or LED TV than actively engaging in the sorts of discussions and issues that matter. The more opportunity we have to buy more stuff, the less concern there is, it seems, in politics, social justice and let's face it, basic human decency, unless those things actually can save us money or get us more things to show how awesome we are through displaying our material wealth. And I like to brew beer, make cheese, and put food in jars.
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