grilled-halloumi-crostini

Homemade Halloumi Cheese

1.  “What in the helloumi is Halloumi?”

If you know the answer, skip to question 2.

For the rest, Halloumi is a somewhat salty and semi-soft grillable cheese from Cyprus.  A traditional occupant of the Cypriot mezze platter, it is also equally delicious on top of a salad or pizza.

Now that we`re all up to speed on the origin and deliciousness of Halloumi, I suspect that some of you may want to know:

2.  “Can I make it at home?”

OH YES, my friends, you can.  Oh yes.

grilled-halloumi-crostini

Traditionally, Halloumi is made from a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milks.  I have made all-goat’s Halloumi, an all-cow’s version, and one batch of half and half.

Our favourite, both for its taste and texture, was the all-goat.  It also seemed to stand up the best under (or should I say over?) the heat of the grill.

goat's-milk milk-bottle-tops

instant-read-thermometer rennet-tablet

Halloumi is the most labour intensive of all the homemade cheeses I’ve tried — but given how easy it is to make ricotta and mascarpone, the extra effort really isn’t much.  Those 2 are so easy, it’s actually possible to feel lazy while making your own cheese!

As for the rennet, I have come across it in both liquid and tablet form.  Originally extracted from the 4th stomach of young ruminants such as goats, sheep and cows, it contains enzymes that cause the milk to coagulate and split into curds and whey.  Rennet from vegetarian sources is now also available.

Rennet and calcium chloride, if needed, is available anywhere cheesemaking supplies are sold.  I buy mine at Famous Foods in Vancouver, which is an alternative grocery store famous amongst locals for their bulk foods selection.  If all else fails, both are available online.

homemade-halloumi-cheese

Halloumi Cheese (approx 300 g)
(original recipe from Pease Pudding)

  • 2L whole, or non-homogenized goat’s or cow’s milk**
  • 1 tsp (1 tablet) rennet, crushed and dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water.

For the Brine

  • 100 g fine sea salt

** If you can only find homogenized milk, then you will also need to add 1/2 tsp of  calcium chloride with the rennet for every 2L of milk.  The CaCl2 helps the fat molecules to find each other once again, and bond in everlasting cheese-love.

Directions

In a large stainless steel saucepan, heat the milk to 32°C (89°F), and remove from heat.  Immediately stir in the dissolved rennet and cover the pan with a clean cloth.  Allow to sit, undisturbed, in a warm place for 30 min-1 hour.

When the curds are formed, use a slotted spoon to cut into 1″ squares.  Rest for 5 minutes, then heat the pan to 35-38C (95-100°F) and stir gently for 20 minutes, keeping the temperature constant.  The squares should be smooth and slightly elastic.

Lift the curd out of the pan and place into a colander lined with cheesecloth or a clean dishcloth, reserving the whey.  Cover with more cloth and place a weight (ex 2 large cans of tomatoes) on top.  Drain for 30 minutes, then cut the cheese into 1″ slices.

Reheat the whey to 85-90C, turn off the heat, then add the halloumi pieces to the whey.  Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.  Remove the cheese slices and set aside.

Make a brine with 1L whey, 1L  boiling water and 100g fine sea salt.  Cool completely, then add the cheese pieces to the brine.

Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

halloumi-on-baguette-with-pesto

grilling-halloumi

15 thoughts on “Homemade Halloumi Cheese

  1. RavieNomNoms

    I am so scared to make my own cheese, it just seems like something I need to try but I am so afraid to! You have given me the inspiration to try. This cheese looks really good, I haven’t heard of it, so thank you very much for the lesson…it sounds delicious!

    Reply
  2. Ruby

    Wow. WOW. Wow. How cool! We’re lucky in the UK that Halloumi is available in every grocery store (it would actually be harder for me to find rennet), but I know that’s not the case everywhere. If I make it through to round 3 of PFB my planned menu includes Halloumi – I’ll link to this post if that’s ok!

    Reply
    1. Melanie Belair

      I was 1st introduced to haloumi when I lived in Scotland a few years ago. I came home to Toronto totally gutted it wasn’t easily found here. It’s become easier but yes, rennett is easier to get than proper haloumi. It is my FAVORITE cheese and while I know I’ll never be brave enough to make it on my own, at least I am able to get it occasionally at my local supermarket or worst case (and VERY $$) at the specialty cheese shops. Long gone are the days of popping into the local Tesco for a few bars of this stuff. It’s amazing, if you haven’t tried it you simply MUST!

      Reply
  3. Niyati

    Hi Theresa,
    I live in India and neither halloumi nor rennet are very easily available here. I have a friend travelling back from the US in May and I was wondering if you could recommend a good brand of rennet tablets/capsules. I’d love to be able to make the haloumi at home!
    Thanks very much in advance,
    Niyati

    Reply
    1. Theresa Post author

      Niyati — Junket brand rennet is the only brand I’ve ever seen. It comes in tablet form, so it will be easy to travel with and store. Your friend will find it in most grocery stores, close to the Jello and other instant dessert mixes. Good luck! Theresa

      Reply
    2. Melanie Belair

      You’ll find (or at least I do) that haloumi is *slightly* similar to paneer. Haloumi is a little creamier and softer when grilled or fried and a little saltier but when I’m dying for haloumi and can’t find it I get paneer as a somewhat close alternative. I prefer haloumi for what I make it for but do also love paneer for other yummie dishes too :)

      Reply
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