HALLOUMI – FROM COWS MILK
I love halloumi cheese, or "whining cheese" as my mother-in-law used to call it.
It is so good to fry or BBQ and it also works surprisingly well to heat up in the micro wave when served as left overs. Halloumi is also great protein for when you have lacto-ovo-vegetarians for dinner.
The cheese originates from Cyprus and is traditionally sourced from sheep's milk. But it actually works to produce a good version from "ordinary" cow's milk.
The recipe below is one that we think works great and contains ingredients that you can easily buy in stores all over the country. If you have access to raw milk this it is the best ingredient. But it is fine to make even on milk from the store.
It is important that the milk is unhomogenized. In stores it is often called Old-fashioned milk or the likes. The fact that it is not homogenized, in principle, means that the fat is not whipped up and adapted. Therefore the fat content of this kind of milk will vary. If you are unsure then ask at your store. For the most likely they have this kind of milk, or can make sure to get some delivered for you.
You can find rennet at the pharmacy, online and in some grocery stores. Rennet is the enzyme that cows have in the stomach which among other things helps the calves to break down the milk they drink.
Therefore, it is not a vegetable product. (there is also vegetable "yeast enzyme" but I do not know how to get hold of those that are not GMO - genetically modified, so I stick to "the real thing")
The concentration may vary so read on your bottle how much you should have to the amount of liquid.
To mint or not to mint..
Mint is included in the original recipe but is of course not a must. However, it gives an extra little taste so try to chop some mint to the cheese. You won’t regret it.
HERE WE GO!
HOMEMADE HALLOUMI – approx. 9 cheeses.
8l Unomogenized milk.
Rennet – see bottle for quantity
2 dl Salt
Clean kitchen towel or cheese towel
Heat the milk to 95°F (35°C) in a saucepan. Remove from heat.
Add the rennet and stir thoroughly.
Leave to rest for 40 minutes under cover until it has settled to a fine mass.
Divide into smaller cubes using balloon whisk or long knife.
Carefully stir with a ladle and let it rest for about 5 minutes under lid.
Slowly heat to 104°F (40°C). Make sure this is real slow. 20 minutes kind of slow.
Gently stir with a ladle during heating. The cheese cubes will shrink slightly and the whey and cheese will be separated.
Let rest for 10 minutes so that the cheese drops to the bottom and becomes easier to separate from the whey.
Time to separate the cheese from the whey!
( Read this full section before doing this!)
Pour the contents of the pan through a colander covered with a cheese cloth or kitchen towel. Keep in mind that you have to collect the whey under the colander as you need this at a later stage in the recipe. This is very important!
When all your curd is collected you can transfer it in the cloth to a cutting board. Try not to affect the shape so much and move it over to a large cutting board. Still on top of the cloth.
(did you read the whole section? Good, now you can go ahead.)
Shaping the cheese
Fold the cloth tightly over the cheese mass from four directions. Creating a “cake” of the cheese the size of a square foot or a little bigger. Place a cutting board on top, and then on top of that a weight. The best weight is to just fill a saucepan with water. Leave under pressure for about 10 minutes. There will be a lot of whey coming out of the cheese so this is best done over the sink.
After 10 minutes; turn the cheese over and put it under pressure again. This time for another 20 minutes. Keep it folded like a parcel in the cloth all this time.
When the press is ready, you will have a cheese that is about an inch thick.
Carefully remove the cloth and put the cheese back on the cutting board.
Cut the cheese into 4”x4” pieces. Make sure to handle the cheese careful, as it easily falls apart.
Back to the stove!
Reheat the whey. It should be just below boiling point. As it comes up well in temperature, a thick foam is formed. Remove the foam with a skimmer.
When the whey is hot, gently place your cheese back in the whey with a skimmer. Set the heat down. It should not boil, only simmer. When the cheeses surface, they are ready. This takes 20-40 mins.
This is the very important step that gives your cheese the “halloumi character”.. By doing this the cheeses won’t melt but keep together when grilled.
Last step! SALT n MINT!
Now the cheese is very rubbery in its consistency and it's time for the last step.
Carefully pick up the cheeses one by one and sprinkle on flake salt that you’ve mixed with mint. This goes well with usual salt too, but I prefer flakes.
The salt gives the cheese both taste and longer durability. When the cheese is salted, make a fold in the middle and gently press it together for a few seconds to make it find it’s new shape.
Leave the cheese to rest for 20 minutes.
YOUR HALLOUMI IS READY!
Store the cheese in plastic bags or vacu-pack.
Halloumi is also good for replacing Paneer cheese in Indian cuisine.