Halloumi is an interesting and unique cheese for many reasons. One of the reasons that Halloumi is so unique, is that it has an extremely high melting point when it comes to grilling or frying. This high melting point makes Halloumi absolutely great as a vegetarian substitute, to top off various salads, or as a great snack on its own.
Another reason Halloumi is so unusual from other cheeses is that unlike most cheeses, Halloumi actually doesn’t require a starter to make it. It’s traditionally made from a combination of goat’s and sheep’s milk but is also commonly made today with simply cow’s milk as well.
Since the curds are heated up during the cheesemaking process, it results in Halloumi having a thick, rubbery texture. With this thick, rubbery texture, Halloumi needs to be heated up before consuming. The outside of the cheese will get brown and crispy, but the inside will remain soft and still intact.
Halloumi is more popular in other parts of the world, for example, in Australia, it is very easily accessible and in a lot of restaurants and incorporated on a lot of cafe menus. Avocado toast with Halloumi, mushroom and Halloumi burgers or even simply just Halloumi marinated skewers are not uncommon in Australia. In the U.S. however, to find Halloumi, you will most likely need to go to a specialty store to locate this delicious cheese. In the U.S. it’s also more commonly referred to as ‘grilling cheese’ than it is to Halloumi cheese.
Halloumi can be fresh or aged and can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks if opened. If unopened, Halloumi can last a bit longer in the refrigerator. Halloumi can also be frozen for much longer, which makes it a great option to make large batches of and freeze so you always have some Halloumi on hand when needed.
With its difficulty to find, learning how to make Halloumi for yourself is not only a great skill to have, but allows you to incorporate this delicious cheese in your everyday menu. It’s incredibly delicious and salty and the perfect meat-free substitute to any meal.
Skill Level: Intermediate
- 2 ½ gallon of raw milk
- 1 2/3 tsp of Rennet
- Fine Cheese Salt
- Preferred Dried Herbs (such as mint, oregano, thyme)
Heat the Milk & Add Rennet
- Heat your milk up. When it reaches 90F you can start to add your Rennet in the pot.
- You can do this by placing the milk in a pot or sink of very warm water. If you do this step on the stove, be sure to slowly heat the milk and stir to avoid burning.
- Carefully stir the milk and Rennet mixture in an up and down motion for about 30 strokes
Allow it to Rest
- Allow your milk and Rennet mixture to rest for at least 1 hour
Cut the Curd
- After an hour, your curd should be ready to be cut, if not, allow it to sit for a bit longer
- When ready, cut the curd into 1 cm cube size pieces
- Allow the curds to settle and rest for at least 5 minutes
Cook the Curds
- Bring the temperature of your curds up to 100F
- Stir consistently to ensure the curds don’t clump or matt together during the cooking process.
- Allow the curds to rest for at least 5 minutes
Mold & Press the Cheese
- Using a ladle, carefully transfer the curds into a cheese mold that’s lined with cheesecloth.
- Evenly press the curds into the corners of the cheese mold.
- Start pressing the curds for 30 minutes at 30 lbs.
Cut the Cheese
- After you cheese has been pressed, cut your cheese mold into 12 even size pieces and prepare to cook
Cook in Whey
- Bring your whey up to 200F and cook the Halloumi for about 20 minutes or until the cheese floats up to the top
Flavor the Cheese
- Move your cheese to drain mats and salt and season your Halloumi with any preferred herbs or spices such as mint, oregano or thyme.
- Allow the Halloumi to drain for at least 24 hours before consuming
- If stored in brine or a vacuum-sealed container, Halloumi can last up to 6 months in the fridge or freezer.