Halloumi (or Haloumi) is a traditional Cypriot Cheese but it is also popular in Greece. Traditionally it is made from a mixture of goat and sheeps milk but can also be made with cows milk.
Halloumi has a high melting point and is prepared by frying or grilling it. Halloumi is unusual in that no starter is used in the make.
What is Halloumi Cheese?
Before you learn how to make halloumi cheese, let’s talk a little about what it is and where it is from.
Originating from Greece, spcifically the island of Cyprus, halloumi cheese is traditionally made with sheep’s milk. HOwever, it can be made with goat’s or cow’s milk.
Halloumi is unique and not easy to find. Some specialty grocers may carry it, but it is well worth your tim to learn to make it on your own.
A thick, semi-firm cheese, halloumi is sometimes referred to as “grilling cheese,” because it is able to withstand high heat without melting.
The outside will brown and the middle becomes soft and gooey.
Because of this thick and rubbery texture, it is not meant to be eaten plain or unwarmed.
Approx 2.5 hours
Homemade Halloumi Recipe Ingredients
- 10 Litres of Raw Milk
- 7 mls Rennet
- Cheese Salt (what is cheese salt?)
- Dried herbs if desired (eg. mint, oregano, thyme)
How To Make Halloumi Cheese
- Bring milk up to 32c
- Add Rennet and stir with up and down motions for about 30 strokes
- Leave for 1 hour until a clean cut is achieved
- Cut curds into 1cm cubes
- Leave to settle for 5 minutes
- Bring curds up to 38c stirring regularly so curds don’t mat
- Leave to settle for 5 minutes
- Ladle into mold lined with cheese cloth, pressing curds into all corners and edges (be sure to save the whey for Easy Ricotta Recipe)
- Press for at least 30 minutes at 15kg
- Cut into 12 even sized pieces
- Bring whey to 95c
- Cook Haloumi in whey for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese floats to the surface
- Salt and add herbs if desired and leave to drain on cheese mats
- Leave for 24 hours before eating
How To Store Your Homemade Halloumi Cheese
Tips for How to Make Halloumi Cheese in an Hour
Use leftover whey to make a saltwater brine for storing your homemade halloumi cheese.
Use the best quality milk you can find. Unhomogenised for sure, and both unhomogenised and unpasteurised if possible.
Short on time? Use the microwave and junket tablets to make halloumi in under an hour! Find the full recipe here.
Best Way To Eat Halloumi Cheese – Fresh or Aged?
The best part about learning how to make Halloumi cheese at home is all the wonderful recipes and serving suggestions you can treat your family to.
Soon as your cheese is ready, you can get right into making all your favorite treats and recipes, unlike most cheeses where you have to wait a couple of weeks or months.
You can also choose to age your Halloumi cheese in brine for a few weeks or a couple of months.
Eating Fresh Halloumi
If you asked any cheese aficionado, Halloumi is the unofficial king of “grilled cheese”. Fresh Halloumi doesn’t need to be constrained between two pieces of bread.
You can place it directly onto the grill without it turning into a gooey molten mess. This is possible because halloumi is firm and has a high melting point. Grilling the cheese leaves a beautiful caramelized surface and a really rich flavor.
Other than not melting through the grill grates and leaving a mess, the cheese firms up, and develops these beautiful grill marks.
Fresh Halloumi has a savory, mild, slightly salty flavor, and the most wonderful texture that is unlike anything else.
You can use Halloumi cubes in your vegetable salads, fry and garnish it with pepper, herbs, and tomatoes. Any recipe you try, best believe it’ll come out amazing.
Eating Aged Halloumi
You may want to make Halloumi cheese at home and age it in 8-12% brine for a couple of weeks up to several months.
Aged Halloumi is rather high in salt and is drier compared to fresh cheese. So, about making Halloumi cheese at home and aging it, how can you eat it?
Aged Halloumi is perfect not only for grating on pasta but also as a table cheese. It can also be served with slices of smoked pork, or soft lamb sausages.
This tasty Cypriot export is useful in dishes that would normally require salting, you simply skip the salt and throw in some Halloumi instead.
How to Grill Halloumi Cheese
Grilling is probably the most popular way to prepare halloumi cheese. It is fast and simple!
First, heat the grill to a medium-high heat.
While it is heating, slice the halloumi into half-inch-thick slices.
Grill until lightly browned on each side. It won’t take long!
Take it another step and turn down the heat and smoke it on the closed grill for 1 hour.
Ways to Use Homemade Halloumi Cheese
After grilling or frying, it can be served very simply with just a touch of lemon juice drizzled on top or a sprinkle of fresh herbs, or both!
However, there are many other ways to use this unique cheese!
Cut it into chunks and grill on skewers with vegetables.
Cube it and let it warm up in soup to add something really special to your soups!
Saute it some olive oil and garlic with vegetables.
Many people find it to be a great meat substitute on burgers and sandwiches for a yummy vegetarian option.
Grate it to add to pasta either as a topping or filling!
Recipe Using Halloumi Cheese
The following recipe is a great meatless Monday option!
Cook up 2 thinly sliced aubergines in olive oil until browned and set aside.
Fry 1 large sliced red onion in olive oil until softened then add garlic and cook additional 2 minutes.
Stir in 2 tablespoons of ground coriander, 400 grams chopped tomatoes, and one-and-a-half tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
Simmer until a thick sauce forms, about 15 minutes. Stirn in a small bunch of chopped mint leaves.
Fry 270 grams of halloumi, cut into 8 slices, until golden brown on each side.
Heat over to 200C.
Roll out 500 grams puff pastry to 50 by 25 cm. Cut into two squares.
Place one square on a parchment lined baking sheet. Layer tomato sauce, aubergine, and toasted pine nuts on the pastry, leaving about 1.5 centimeter border all the way around the edge.
Continue layering in the same order using up the remaining tomato, aubergine and pine nuts. Brush the edges of the pastry with a bit of beaten egg.
Roll out the other pastry square to a bit bigger. Carefully place over the top of the pie. Press the edges of both pastry sheets together to create a seal.
Brush the entire pastry with beaten egg.
To vent, cut a cross or x-shape into the top of the pie. If desired, finely score the top of the pie for decoration. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sesame seeds.
Bake until golden brown, abour 30-35 minutes.
Find the full recipe here at BBC Good Food.
Do you have any questions or comments about our Halloumi cheese recipe? Join the discussion over at the Curd Nerd Forum. We would love to hear from you! I hope you enjoy this Halloumi cheese recipes as much as I do.