Eariler in October, I made cheese called Halloumi. I have actually made this cheese before, but I didn’t blog about it. This is supposed to be a cheese that doesn’t melt! I thought it sounded interesting before, and that is why I tried it. This time around, I made it from the book “Artisan Cheesemaking at Home” by Mary Karlin. If are into cheesemaking, or what to learn more about it, this is great book with a lot of fun cheeses!
Halloumi is popular in the middle east, and has a higher melting point, which is why it doesn’t melt. It is traditionally made with a mixture of sheep and goats milk, but can also be made with cows milk, which is how I made it.
First, place the milk in a heavy bottomed pan, or use a double boiler. Heat the milk to 90 degrees F. I love using the double boiler method for this because it heats the milk gently, and doesn’t burn it on the bottom of the pan! When the milk gets to be 90 degrees, turn off the burner.
Add in the lipase power, diluted in distilled water. I LOVE lipase powder! It really gives a great taste (and smell!) to the cheese! This recipe called for milk lipase powder, but I only had the strong lipase, so that is what I used. (Lipase is great in parmesan cheese too!)
Next, add in the calcium chloride, diluted in distilled water, and stir well. In a similar fashion, add the rennet, diluted in distilled water, and stir again. Cover the pan, and let it sit at this 90 degree temperature for 45 minutes. I like to take it out of the double boiler, and sit it on the counter. (Otherwise, the temperature will keep rising).
After 45 minutes, cut the curd with a long knife. This is what cheesemakers call a “clean break”. I usually cut into the curd, and see if there is some whey that accumulates in the cut area. It should be light in color. Cut in 3/4 inch cubes, and let this sit for 5 minutes.
Now, place this pot back in the double boiler, and turn on the heat again. Bring up the temperature of the curds to 104 degrees F. The curds will break up in small pieces.
Keep the curds at 104 degrees for another 20 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat, and let them rest for 5 minutes. The curds will sink to the bottom of the pot, and the whey will raise to the top.
I use a 2 gallon bucket, and place a strainer over the bucket (to capture the whey). I line the strainer with the cheesecloth and ladle/pour the curds into the strainer. Traditionally, halloumi is sprinkled with dried mint at this time. I tried that last time, but didn’t really like it. So I left it out this time! Let the curds drain for about 15-20 minutes, or until they aren’t dripping anymore. The whey is used later in this recipe, so make sure to keep it!! I let it cool, and then place in glass jars in the fridge.
Now the cheese is pressed! This is the press my husband made for it. I love it!! It was made out of things in our garage (so it was essentially free), and works so well!
Place the curds in a cheese mold lined with cheesecloth. Press at 8 pounds pressure for 3 hours.
I place the cheesepress right at the edge of the kitchen sink. Prop it up just a little, and the whey will drain off into the sink!
After 3 hours, unmold the cheese, flip it over, and press it again for 3 more hours. This ensures it is equally pressed on each side, and helps if you were pressing it crooked – and helps get out some of the “cheesecloth lines”.
After 3 hours:
After 6 hours:
Mine still turned out a little crooked, but I don’t mind!
The recipe called to cut the cheese into a 4 inch square, and to cut it in half horizontally if it was more than 2 inches inch. I really could not see the point of cutting my beautiful cheese into a square, and being left with all the extra pieces. The book even suggests using the trimmings as a crumbled cheese topping, but really I did not seem the point. I’m a rebel when it comes to cheese. I left mine circular!
However, I did cut it in half. Isn’t it soooo pretty?
Now the fun part! Take the whey that was saved from draining the curds, and place in a saucepan. Heat to 190 degrees F. Place the cheese in the heated whey mixture, and cook for 30 minutes. Fun, huh?
At this point, I removed the cheese from the whey, and let it cool and dry. I let mine sit out overnight dry.
The very last step in making this cheese is to make a brine. Combine cool water (55 degrees F) with salt. I made a 1/2 gallon of the brine, because I really didn’t need a full gallon. 13 ounces salt to 1/2 gallon water. Stir until the salt is dissolved. Place the cheese in the brine, and place in the fridge! I have mine in a covered glass bowl.
This currently is where my cheese is right now! After all the work I put into cheesemaking, I like to save it for a special occasion!