Halloumi cheese has its origin in Cyprus, my country. My grandmother used to make halloumi when I was a little kid and I remember myself watching every little detail of the process. I was so fascinated with the whole halloumi idea that I always wanted to learn and make it at home.
On the 29th of April my grandmother asked me whether I was interested in making halloumi. I gladly accepted and she came to my house with all the necessary equipment to show me all the steps of the preparation.
In the meantime the Royal Wedding was broadcasted on TV so we decided to dedicate this halloumi treat to the newly weds :-).
Below you will be able to find the full recipe along with a small video showing all steps of the recipe.
How to make Halloumi Cheese (Traditional Cypriot Cheese)
It makes 4 halloumi cheeses
3ltr unpasteurized sheep milk
1/8 teaspoon of rennet (pitia/πυτιά)
Water at room temperature
1) Pure the milk in a deep aluminum or stainless steel casserole and set on low heat (mark 1) for 5 minutes, increase the heat to 3 for another 5 minutes, then increase again the heat to 5 for 7 minutes and then again to 7 for another 5 minutes until the milk reaches the temperature of 38.9ºC. During this process keep steering the milk continuously with a wooden spoon.
2) Dissolve rennet with a bit of the warm milk and then add it to the milk. Stir it well with a wooden spoon and set aside for one hour. Then, shake gently the casserole, if you see that the milk in the casserole is still, then it means that you are ready to continue the halloumi procedure. If not, allow some more minutes.
3) Brake the milk curd gently with your hands. Do not over do it. Then push it to the bottom of the casserole until you see a yellowish liquid coming on top of the pan.
4) Take the milk curd and place it in plastic cups with small wholes on them. Place those cups in a deep pan because the liquid which will be released from the milk curdles will be used again during this process. There are special cups were anari cheese is usually kept in. You can use one of those plastic cups. (see video)
5) Allow to rest for 5’ minutes; then take the formed curd mass and with gentle moves turn it the other way down and place it again in the plastic cups and allow to rest of another 10’ minutes. Then, when the milk curd is well shaped into cheese, take it out of the plastic cup and place it on a clean pan for 15’ minutes. Any liquid left must be returned to the first casserole and will be used later on to cook halloumi.
6) In the meantime set the casserole on a medium heat with the liquid that was left from this process and add to it a cup of water. With a spoon remove any curd excesses that come to the surface of the casserole.
7) Press the halloumi cheese gently with your hands, wash them with water and put them one by one back to the pan in the hot liquid, on a medium to high heat (mark 6-7). With a spoon move the cheese gently while cooking in order to prevent any possibility of burning them. The cheese should not stick to the bottom of the casserole.
8) While cooking you will see curd coming to the surface of the casserole. Collect it with a spoon and put it in one of those plastic cups. This curd is what we call “anari cheese”, and you can eat it plain, salty or with sugar and honey. This anari cheese is ideal for people who are on a diet.
9) Halloumi cheese is cooked when the whole piece of the cheese comes to the surface of the casserole. This process takes approximately 10-15 minutes. Remove from the casserole and set aside to a plate or a bigger pan.
10) Season well with salt and dried peppermint. Keep them in a deep Pyrex covered with the liquid that you used to cook them.
11) Always wash halloumi cheese with water before serving, otherwise the cheese will be very salty.