Halloumi or hallumi is a traditional cheese made from goat's or sheep's milk, with cow's milk added on occasion. Halloumi originates from Cyprus and in 1999 the country managed to get certification for halloumi to become a national product with exclusive rights over the name "halloumi".
Halloumi is produced from high quality milk and possesses a unique taste. It has a layered texture and is similar to mozzarella. It's no wonder then that it's called "Cypriot mozzarella" but in comparison to it, halloumi has a stronger aroma and is saltier. Traditionally, they make halloumi into semicircular pitas, weighing about 9 oz (250 g).
For centuries, halloumi has been the most important and popular dairy product made in Cyprus. Over the years it has been made in rural areas using the same traditional technique and ingredients, thus preserving the unique characteristics of the cheese and its high quality till the modern day, allowing halloumi to enjoy worldwide popularity.
Composition of Halloumi
Making Homemade Halloumi
If you would like to make halloumi at home you will need 3 main products: 2 gal (8 L) goat milk, 1 tsp distilled water and 2 tsp rennet.
Preparation: Pour the milk into a large enough pot and place it in another pot, filled with water to the same level as the milk in the 1st pot. Heat the milk to 84°F (29°C), stirring from time to time. Turn off the stove; the residual heat will be enough to heat the milk to 90°F (32°C). You'll need a thermometer to keep track of the temperature.
Remove the pot with the milk and pour in the distilled water and rennet. Stir and leave the milk to sit for about 45 min. Cut the formed mass with a knife into cubes.
Put the pot back on the stove in the other pot with the water. This time heat it to 97°F (36°C), gently stirring nonstop. Take out the pot with the milk once again and leave the cheese to sit for 5 min. Then strain it through a gauze into another container. Wrap the cheese in the gauze but keep the released whey.
Transfer the cheese to a cheese press, put the cover on the press and press down with a heavy object. Leave the cheese to drain for about an hour. Take it out of the press and cut it into pieces. Heat the whey that you've saved, turn off the stove and put the chopped halloumi in it. Let it sit for 15 min.
Make a brine of 4 cups water, 1/2 cup salt and 2 cups whey, stir well. Take out the cheese, fold each piece in 2 and place it in the container with the above listed brine. Let it sit in it for several days, then enjoy its unbelievable taste.
Choosing and Storing Halloumi
Those who have no desire to make halloumi at home can buy it from larger food supermarkets. Halloumi can be stored in its own juices, frozen to -0°F (-18°C) for up to an entire year. It retains its valuable qualities for up to 2 months when stored at a temperature below 39°F (4°C).
Halloumi is an incredible cheese that can be consumed and prepared in many ways. It is suitable for grilling and baking in the oven because unlike most other cheeses, halloumi has a high melting point and does not melt at high heat but crisps exceptionally well.
It can be braised in oil as an appetizer, fried with eggs and bacon for breakfast, used as a filling for ravioli. Halloumi is used to make pies and pizzas, sandwiches and all kinds of snacks. The cheese goes superbly when served with fruits - figs, grapes, watermelon and melon.
Check out this wonderful recipe for grilled halloumi.
Preparation: Cut the halloumi into thin slices and heat a grill pan smeared with olive oil. Put the cheese in and flip it over after a few minutes so that it browns on the other side as well. Arrange it in a plate, sprinkle with the spices and serve with salad.
For the next very easy recipe with halloumi you will need 14 oz of it, 1 lemon and 1 tbsp butter. Cut the cheese into slices, melt the butter in a pan. Braise the halloumi until golden on both sides. Sprinkle it with lemon juice and finely grated lemon rind. Serve immediately.
Halloumi is a universal cheese that can be made in different ways and because of its amazing taste and numerous health benefits, it has a place of honor in the so-called Mediterranean diet.