Halloumi is a delicious, squeaky cheese that is super easy to make at home. Halloumi has a very high melting point, so unlike most cheese, it holds it's shape when you cook it. Traditionally made with a mixture of goat's and sheep milk, most of the stuff you buy from the supermarket will be made with cow's milk. Unlike most cheeses, halloumi only uses rennet as it's setting agent, and has no added bacteria or culture. I love halloumi as a component in various salads; it is also great as a protein option in pita pockets and some fancy-pants people serve it on teeny tiny skewers with watermelon.
Go out and find your self some rennet - mine is from Mad Millie, and dabble in cheesemaking at home. It really isn't as scary or difficult as you might think! I'm obsessed, and saving my pennies for a Mad Millie blue cheeses kit. Oh my goodness, can you just imagine homemade blue cheese? It must be epic...
This process looks quite long and involved, and while there are a lot of different steps to complete, the overall time required to actually do stuff is very little.
2 litres un-homogenised milk (I used raw milk, which is also unpasteurised)
1.5 mls rennet diluted in 5 mils cooled, boiled water
Set up a bain marie. I used a large pot, with a preserving ring inside, and a smaller pot (which lost it's handle a while ago) inside it. Then, I poured boiling water in the big pot. Add your milk to the smaller pot and stir until milk is at around 45 degrees Celsius. I don't actually have a thermometer so I just heat it until it feels quite hot to my finger. Alternatively, you could warm the milk in the microwave until it reaches temperature, and then add it to the smaller pot.
Once the milk is at temperature, add the diluted rennet and stir thoroughly. Allow the milk to set at 45 degrees (I put the lid on to keep it warm) for 45 minutes, or until a clean break is achieved.
After the curd is set firm, you will need to cut it into 1cm cubes vertically, horizontally and at 45 degree angles along both of these sets of lines. Have a look here for a picture tutorial. Then, gently stir curds for about 10 minutes, until they are much smaller and slightly springy.
Once the curds are ready, scoop them into a colander lined with cheesecloth or muslin. Wrap the muslin over the curds and place a weight on top to press them down. I used a bowl of water. Once the curds are firm enough (about 5 hours for me), remove from muslin and cut into blocks.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Place the blocks of halloumi into boiling water and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the curds rise to the surface. Drain on a rack to cool. While draining, sprinkle with salt to preserve them and give the distinct salty taste.
The cheese will last for two weeks in the fridge in an airtight container. To serve, grill both sides of the halloumi until browned and slightly soft.
I served my most recent batch as part of a noodle salad with spinach, carrot, spring onion and a lemon pesto dressing. Yum!
I shared this post on Real Food Wednesday and Simple Lives Thursday.