Quick Halloumi Cheesemaking Recipe with Cow's Milk

Make halloumi cheese at home in one hour! This recipe is best made with cow's milk but can also be made with goat or sheep milk. If using goat's milk, it is recommended to purchase calcium chloride, as the protein chains in goat milk are a little weaker and may need the additional binding properties of calcium chloride (1/4 teaspoon per 1/2 gallon). 

Halloumi or haloumi is a semi-hard, unripened cheese traditionally made from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk in Cyprus, Greece. It can sometimes be made with cow's milk, as we'll be doing in our class. It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled. This property makes it a popular meat substitute and is wonderful served alongside grilled vegetables and meats for your next backyard BBQ.

Want more cheesemaking recipes?  Check out our Ultimate Guide to Home Cheesemaking.

grilled homemade halloumi

Halloumi Cheese Ingredients

  • ½ Gallon Cow's Milk (NOTE: DO NOT purchase ultra-pasteurized milk.  Only source fresh pasteurized milk or raw milk from a neighboring farm)
  • ¼ of a Rennet Tablet
  • 1 tbsp Bottled Water (or, non-chlorinated water: filtered water that has sat out overnight to dechlorinate)
  • 1/2 tbsp Dried Oregano (optional)
  • 1/4 tbsp Chilli Flakes or to taste (optional)
  • 1 tbsp, plus 1 teaspoon Cheese Salt or Kosher Salt (salt with no iodine)

Halloumi Brine

  • 1/2 cup of the Leftover Whey
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Cheese Salt or Kosher Salt (salt with no iodine)

Recommended Equipment

  • Heavy-Bottomed Stock Pot (Fits 1/2 to 1 gallon of milk comfortably, Stainless Steel or Le Creuset Preferred)
  • Measuring Spoon Set
  • Measuring Cup Set
  • Cheese Cloth (ideally, a fine-meshed Butter Muslin)
  • Colander
  • Large Bowl (The Colander will be elevated above this large bowl. It is important the Colander is elevated so the cheese does not sit in its own whey liquid while draining)
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Pitcher or something to strain your whey out into
  • Slotted Spoon or Solid Spoon
  • Knife
  • 1 serving bowls
  • 1 small glass
  • 1 plate or cutting board
  • Glass or plastic container for storing cheese in brine
  • IF you have a digital read thermometer it really comes in handy and is better than the dial thermometer included in the kit

Instructions

To make the Haloumi Cheese:

  1. Pour milk into a large saucepan. Dissolve rennet tablet in 1 tablespoon water.
  2. Heat milk over slow heat until it reaches 32°-35°C // 89.5°F - 95°F. Remove from heat immediately and add dissolved rennet tablet.
  3. Stir for a few seconds then set aside for 15 minutes in a warm place. The milk should set and become jelly like.
  4. Once the milk has set, cut it up into 1-inch cubes.
  5. Gently stir in chili flakes and oregano until just incorporated and allow to stand for another 10 minutes for full whey separation.
  6. Place the bowl in a microwave and heat on high for 2 minutes. Stir the mixture around and heat on high for another 2 minutes. On the stovetop: Heat to 125F and stir for 4 minutes.
  7. Test the curds with your fingers - they should be elastic and slightly firm. If still very soft, stir and heat on high for 1 more minute.

To strain the Haloumi Cheese:

  1. Once heated, spread gauze over a large fine sieve set over a large bowl.
  2. Strain the curds and whey, reserving 1/2 cup of whey for the brine.
  3. Sprinkle salt over the curds, mix and start pressing the cheese to remove excess whey.
  4. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze extra whey.

To make the Brine:

  1. Combine all brine ingredients and mix well.

To store Haloumi Cheese:

  1. Press haloumi cheese into a rectangular container and place in the fridge to cool (or into the freezer for 15 minutes if you're more rushed).
  2. Once cooled, transfer haloumi to a larger container and cover with brine.
  3. Store in the fridge and consume within a couple of days.
Jessica Sennett is the founder and inventor of Cheese Grotto. Her whole life is cheese - seriously.

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