Haloumi is a hard cheese of Greek origin. It does well in hot weather, as the salt on the surface of the cheese from brining helps to inhibit the growth of bad bacteria and unwanted molds.
- Bring the milk temperature up to 86°F over low heat in your cheese pot. Add starter culture and mix in well.
- Add the diluted rennet to the milk once it has reached temperature. Incorporate the rennet using slow, steady up-and-down motions. Stir in this manner for one minute, a bit longer if you are using farm-fresh cow milk.
- Cover and let the milk ripen for 30 to 45 minutes, undisturbed. Once you have a clean break, cut the curds into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Bring the temperature up slowly, at the rate of 2°F every 5 minutes, until the curds and whey reach 104°F. Stir them gently while you heat them to keep the curds from sticking together (matting). Once the milk has reached 104°F, maintain that temperature for 20 minutes, continuing to stir gently every now and again.
- Line a colander with clean cheesecloth, and suspend it over a large bowl or sterilized bucket. Spoon the warm curds from the pot into the colander, and allow them to drain until the flow of whey slows. Save all of your drained whey and the remains in the pot.
- Pack the drained curds into a 2-pound cheese mold lined with clean cheesecloth. Press at 10 pounds of pressure for 3 hours. Pull the cheese out of the mold and peel away the cheesecloth. Flip the cheese over and re-dress it with the cheesecloth. Place it back into the mold and press again at 10 pounds for 3 hours.
- Using your cheese pot, heat up the reserved whey to 190°F. Maintain the temperature. Place the pressed cheese in the hot whey and cook it for 30 to 35 minutes or until it has shrunken a bit and floats in the whey.
- Carefully remove the cheese from the whey and place it on a rack to cool for about 45 minutes, or until it is dry and cool to the touch.
- Make a medium-heavy brine (about 28 ounces of salt in 1 gallon of water), and chill it to 55°F. Place the dried cheese into a large plastic bowl and pour the chilled brine over it until the cheese is completely covered. (If it floats, weigh it down with something clean and sterile and heavy.)
- Store the cheese in the brine in your refrigerator for about 5 to 10 days, after which you can pull it out of the brine (save the brine, if you’d like) and wrap it in cheese paper. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to two months in this manner. It is ready to be eaten from the time it is placed in the brine, so enjoy it whenever you choose.
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