Haloumi

Haloumi

Haloumi cheese

By
From
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Makes
250 g
Photographer
Alan Benson

Haloumi is a favourite cheese in Cyprus, Greece and Lebanon. In Cyprus it is frequently made in the home when plenty of milk is available. Sheep’s milk is traditionally used, but cow’s milk gives a satisfactory result. This is a typical Cypriot version and it is quite different to the haloumi available from supermarkets.

The Cyprus home cheese-maker uses reed baskets called talaria for draining the curds. A colander lined with muslin (cheesecloth) works just as well.

While the haloumi is draining, before its final heating and shaping, the whey is used for making cottage cheese, or anari.

The quantity produced with 2 litres of milk is quite small for the effort entailed; however, if you have copious amounts of milk available, use one rennet tablet to each litre of milk, or four tablets to each imperial or US gallon.

For Lebanese-style haloumi, sprinkle the cheese with black cumin seeds instead of dried mint after salting.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 rennet tablets
2 litres whole milk
35g good-quality cooking salt, plus an extra 2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon dried mint

Method

  1. Crush the rennet tablets in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons cold water and stir to dissolve.
  2. Place the milk in a large saucepan and warm to body temperature, or no more than 38°C. Add the dissolved rennet and stir gently for a few seconds only. Cover the pan and leave in a warm place, undisturbed, for 30 minutes, or until set.
  3. Using a whisk, gently stir the set milk to break up the curds. Leave until the curds settle.
  4. Line a colander with a doubled piece of muslin (cheesecloth) and set it over a deep bowl. Ladle the curds into the colander, collecting the whey in the bowl.
  5. When well drained, lift the cloth with the curds onto a clean chopping board set on the sink top. Shape the curds by hand into a square about 2 cm thick. Fold the cloth over the top and press gently with your hand. Raise one end of the board so that the remaining whey can drain. Leave for 1½–2 hours. Return the collected whey to the pan and put on to boil.
  6. When the curd is well drained and compact, cut it into four pieces and carefully place them in the boiling whey. Cook until the cheese floats. Now remove from the heat and leave for 5 minutes.
  7. Place the cooking salt on a plate. Crumble the mint into coarse flakes.
  8. Lift out each piece of cheese with a spatula and place on a board. While still hot, press the pieces with your hand to flatten them a little. Dab dry with paper towels. Dip the pieces on each side in the salt, then sprinkle some mint on one side. Fold each in three to enclose the mint and press with your hand to keep the cheese in shape. This step must be carried out while the cheese is warm and pliable.
  9. Pack the cooled cheese into a sterilised jar. Dissolve the 2 tablespoons salt in 500 ml of the whey, then pour over the cheese. Seal and store in a cool place.
  10. The cheese may be eaten when freshly made, or allowed to mature in the salty whey for up to 6 weeks.
Tags:
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Tess
Mallos
Middle Eastern
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