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Halloumi and Making Friends and Influencing People

October 23, 2011 · 32 comments

in Cheese,Gluten Free,Vegetarian

homemade haloumi cheese

Even though this weekend marks the end of my first semester back at school, what I really want to say is: I made cheese! Not once or twice! But thrice! Don’t mean to show off or anything (I’m showing off) but I made halloumi, mascarpone and there is a camembert maturing in the cupboard under the stairs as I type. Camembert!

draining haloumi image

Making cheese is one of those elemental things like making bread – not only does it make me feel supremely capable and accomplished but tricks other people into thinking I am too (bonus!). And, apropos of nothing, that was five exclamation marks in one paragraph and I mightn’t stop there! Even though my favourite English teacher told us too many exclamation marks dilute their effectiveness and furthermore are just lazy! So hold on to your hats people, I’m on the rampage this morning.

haloumi cheese image

One of the things on the long list of great things about coming home is having met my friend Marly, a cheesemaker, among other things. Her parents are German and with her pink and white complexion she fits the part perfectly – I can sort of imagine her wearing a milkmaid’s dirndl (is there such a thing? I might have made it up). She wasn’t wearing anything of the sort when when came over to make halloumi though but it turned out squeakily toothsome all the same.

moulded halloumi cheese image

Making halloumi is easier than making macaroni cheese, I kid you not. Unless you think macaroni cheese comes out of a cardboard box, to which I say “pah!” and also “I did not know you could get macaroni cheese in a box until I went to San Francisco earlier this year and spent an hour peering at all the stuff in the supermarket ‘cause that’s what I do when I go to new countries.”

So, without further ado, this is how you make friends and influence people: Make halloumi and feed it to them. That’s it. For realz. Unless they are vegan or hate cheese. In which case, they probably won’t be.

Also, between the 25th and 31st October, the Royal NZ Foundation for the Blind is organising “Bake a Difference” which involves baking some stuff and selling it to raise funds – fun way to fundraise right? Especially since I know lots of you love to bake. So, get on it people!

Halloumi

The only problem with making cheese is getting some of the more esoteric (can I say that here? I will anyway, like I said, I‘m on the rampage) ingredients. In New Zealand, Mad Millie sells stuff like rennet tablets and cultures but I’m not sure where you can get that stuff elsewhere – let us know in the comments if you do. I know I’ve cut the curds in a bowl but that’s because I didn’t have a pot big enough to hold all the milk and had to pour it all in together when the milk was heated.

4 litres full cream milk

1 tablet rennet diluted in 10 ml of cooled boiled water (important so the chlorine doesn’t damage the rennet I think) or 3ml of liquid rennet

A thermometer

Some cheesecloth

Slotted spoon

Sieve or colander, probably two (I used one sieve and one colander)

Large pot

Heat the milk to 45 celsius (113 fahrenheit) in a large pot, stirring constantly to ensure the milk doesn’t stick on the bottom.

Remove from heat and stir the rennet in. Put the lid on and allow to set for 45 minutes or until fairly firm, like silken tofu.

Using a long knife, cut the curd into 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes by slicing first lengthways, then widthways and finally horizontally (don’t worry if it’s sort of on an angle).

Using the slotted spoon, gently pick up the curds and allow the whey to drain back in again, over and over for about ten minutes.

Line a sieve or colander with the cheesecloth and place in the sink or a bowl to catch the liquid unless you don’t mind it dripping all over the bench.

Scoop the curds in, and then put a plate and weights (I used some canned pineapple) on top to allow the whey to drain further. You can use the whey left in the pot for smoothies or the garden if you like.

When the cheese is firm enough (half an hour or so), cut into pieces.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to the boil.

Put the pieces into the water and remove with slotted spoon when they rise to the surface, about five minutes – don’t let the pieces stick to the bottom of the pot.

Dry in a cooling rack and salt generously. We used a mixture of vaguely Greek herbs on some of them (oregano was in there I think).

Cool and wrap or put in a tupperware, they will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.

To eat, fry in oil or grill until golden on each side.

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Zo @ Two Spoons October 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Omitty nom. I have a HUGE list of to-do things, with cheese making near the top of the list! Seems damn terrifying though, so grats for success!

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Sasa October 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Not terrifying when you do it! I did have someone to hold my hand though I guess ^_^

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Magda October 23, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Yes, I know how it feels. I made ricotta and mascarpone this past summer and I felt, ehm, superior. “I can make cheese!”
I haven’t tried halloumi, thanks for the recipe.
Btw, I too peruse the super market aisles when visiting a foreign country. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do anyway?

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Alessandra October 23, 2011 at 10:04 pm

I love Halloumi, but I boil it in its whey (after collecting all the ricotta I can from it), if you like to try next time I have a recipe here:

http://alessandrazecchini.blogspot.com/2009/10/home-made-halloumi-cheese-and-ricotta.html

(still very easy, of course :-)

I didn’t know that macaroni cheese could come in a box in the US, but on the other hand I didn’t even know that you could get a box with the ingredients for making macaroni cheese until I came to NZ :-0!!

Ciao
Alessandra

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Emily October 24, 2011 at 12:02 am

Good to hear from you again and to know things are good back home. It’s strange to think of you so far away with the weather warming up while we’re preparing for winter. Making cheese is something that’s always fascinated me but somehow scares me a bit too but the other day sa friend was encouraging me to make Indian paneer cheese so I should give it a try. Oh yes, dirndls do exist, that’s what all the girls in Bavaria wear to the Oktoberfest.

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Lemon October 24, 2011 at 4:52 am

This is interesting, I have never made such kind of cheese. It looks great!

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sakura October 24, 2011 at 8:28 am

I’m TOTALLY impressed. And I didn’t know you could make camembert at home!

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Glenn October 24, 2011 at 9:17 am

Sweet!!!!!

One of these days I will attempt cheese, simply because, well, I like, no, love the stuff.

Mac and cheese in the box is a staple for anyone with kids here in the states – can’t say I’m a huge fan, but every once in a while…..

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Nic@diningwithastud October 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Looove haloumi. I’ve been meaning to make it for ages. Must do it for a bbq

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Katie@Cozydelicious October 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I have been wanting to make cheese. I wish I had a cheese-making friend to hold my hand too. I might have to be brave and go for it on my own.

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Sasa October 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Do it!

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Marietta October 24, 2011 at 11:06 pm

i have no words!!! congratulations!!!!!!it looks so yummy!!
and good to have a new post from you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Mel October 25, 2011 at 12:30 am

Making cheese definitely feels scary… but this looks amazing!

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Genie October 25, 2011 at 4:43 pm

This is so impressive. How much halloumi does this recipe make?

I cooked (not made) halloumi for the first time on Friday and while I loved it, the price of store bought halloumi isn’t so desirable. The fact that the packaging suggests that there are 10 serves in 200grams doesn’t help either. I don’t know anyone that would be satiated with 20g of halloumi.

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Sasa October 25, 2011 at 9:59 pm

It really depends on the milk. This 4 litres made quite a lot – I guess I should have weighed it, sorry! A medium tupperware container full ^_^

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Kocinera October 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Dude, you’ve got some impressive cheese-making skillz! :D I can’t imagine how lovely it must be to be so stocked up on tons of yummy, fresh cheeses, ready for the munching. And congrats on finishing your first semester!

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catty October 26, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I sure love me some haloumi! the original and best squeaky cheese!! hope you’ve been well! xx

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Couscous & Consciousness October 27, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I love cheese-making – well, actually, so far I have only made ricotta and mizithra so I can hardly call myself an expert. But making haloumi is on my list – thanks for reminding me that I need to move it up the list some.

You’re so right, making cheese does make you feel incredibly capable, and the amount of praise and kudos you get for it is totally out of proportion for how easy it is. Total satisfaction.

Looking forward to seeing you at NZFBC in a couple of weeks.
xo

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The Grubworm October 27, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Cheese making?! Respect. I’ve only ever made paneer – which always seems like cheaty-cheese as it’s so simple. But now (rennet procurement aside) halloumi (or mattresses for mice as Mrs GW calls it) is tantalisingly within reach. You are doing all sorts of exciting things down under and I might be feeling the teensy-weensy-isest envious ;)

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Sasa October 28, 2011 at 9:31 am

Mattresses for mice! I like Mrs GW ^_^

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Su-yin October 28, 2011 at 8:39 am

OMG you made cheese! I’ve never made cheese, but now I’m intrigued. Not sure where to get rennet though, but I suspect some googling will undoubtedly reveal some online store that does. In the meantime I will have to live through your cheese making experiences! ;)

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amber October 28, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Haloumi is my FAVOURITE. Especially with fresh pesto and a squeeze of lemon. I don’t think I would be game enough to try making it myself, though. :-/

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Eva October 29, 2011 at 3:23 am

I laughed out loud at “halloumi is easier than making macaroni cheese”, you really should spend more time in American supermarkets, they can be beyond ridiculous (did you see the striped peanut butter and jelly in a jar so you don’t have to open TWO jars?). And I agree, going to the grocery story is by far one of the most interesting parts of being in a new country! Please please show your camembert when it’s ready, I’m so curious!!

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Mairi @ Toast October 29, 2011 at 11:36 am

I so want to make some cheese, I even have the kits!!! We will have to chat camembert when I next see you.

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Iva | in my kitchen October 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Oh wow! I’ve just started liking haloumi cheese after being married to a lebanese who pretty much eat halloumi every weekend! Over here, they put it in bread and bake it, oh, and can I tell you its super duper good!

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Julia Wyatt November 3, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Fab recipe and easy to follow except for one part:

Using the slotted spoon, gently pick up the curds and allow the whey to drain back in again, over and over for about ten minutes.

Does this mean you remove the curd or put it back in each time?

Can’t wait to try it, have just got myself two milking does.

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Sasa November 3, 2011 at 6:50 pm

You allow whey to drain, then drop curds back in, over and over – it shapes them a bit, even though they go back into the whey each time – hope that makes sense.

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Suzy November 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm

You are so funny! It bugs me that you are so far away.
And…
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can never have to many of those.
And really? Cheese?
Camembert even?

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After Taste April 20, 2012 at 10:06 am

Yum! Looks good.

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Susan July 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

I’m in the U.S.A., getting ready to make some halloumi. I’ve made ricotta and paneer and mozzarella. I purchased vegetable rennet for the mozzarella at a food co-op in our community. It can also be purchased online. We have a farmers’ market from May through October. A local dairy sells a “grillin’ cheese” made from whole cow’s milk. It’s very good, but costs $13.95 a pound. This is less expensive than Halloumi from Cypress that is more than $22.00 a pound at a popular store here called “Whole Foods.” for less than $5.00 I’ll be making 1 kg, which is more than 2 pounds of cheese. I can’t wait to make it and share it. I really enjoy reading all of the comments.

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nel October 2, 2012 at 12:08 am

wow – just made this! its fab – it squeaks too!

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Sheryl April 23, 2013 at 11:30 am

Rennet is in the supermarket……although that’s not a vegetarian one….very cheap, under $3
Cheese making supplies etc in NZ I get from Trade Me or Curds & Whey, Cottage Crafts in NZ….do a google search for Cheese Making Supplies NZ & you will find a few alternatives…..gives you a choice of prices & quantities. I thought Mad Millie stuff was quite expensive

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