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
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.