Cheese Makers Forum FAQ Equipment part 1 Equipment part 2 History

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

So a friend of mine wants some Halloumi

I personally have never had it, but according to a friend it is a cheese that can be grilled and won't melt. I thought this was a little odd, so after rummaging around the 'tubes for awhile, I managed to find out quite a bit of the history of this cheese and how to make it.

By most accounts, modern halloumi is a cheese from Cyprus made from a mix of goat and ewe milk. It doesn't look to have any cultures such as mesophillic or thermophillic added, and is eaten fresh. The texture has been described as dense, meaty, and squeaky, with quite a bit of salt. I have heard comparisons to feta and to mozzarella, but I don't know how accurate those comparisons are.

Technique wise the most interesting part of this cheese for me was the fact that it is boiled. That's right, after the curd is formed, it is boiled for 20 to 40 minutes, in it's whey until it floats. This must be the reason why is doesn't melt, the boiling must be changing the protein structure, similar to how an egg firms up when cooked. So, without any experience about how it should taste, I decided to give it a try.

The recipe was simple:
  • 1 gallon 1% milk
  • Rennet
I proceeded exactly as I did in the curd cutting technique but making sure to save the whey, and made a small round matted loaf. This rested in the colander for about a half an hour while I brought the whey up to a boil. Once it reached a boil, I cut the heat to medium low, and put the 'loaf' back into the whey.

The whey was kept at between 190F and 200F for about twenty five minutes. You want to cook it until it floats. Once it floats, it goes back in the colander, the whey is cooled, then a brine is made with the whey. It should be quite salty. Add the cheese to the whey and keep it in the fridge. It will need to sit in the whey for at least a couple hours or perhaps even a couple days before it really gets salty enough, but you can use it right away.

To use, simply slice into eighth inch or quarter inch strips, or perhaps even cubes, and fry without oil in a Teflon pan. It isn't all that interesting tasting before it is cooked, but when it gets a crust and is still warm, it is a very, very delicious treat.

And here we have Halloumi with a quick balsamic and lime reduction, done in the pan with the cheese.


  1. Jeremy - thanks for recommending a Teflon pan in your process. I represent DuPont and it's always a pleasure to see people recommending our products in their recipes. It's also nice to see that you mention you don't need to use oil, one of the key benefits of our products!

    If you are interested in some other recipes or great cookbooks to look at, drop me an email and I would be glad to help you out! Thanks. Cheers, Ross

  2. You can also grill it - it is delicious grilled.


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