As promised: The next great instructable on cheese making. This time, Halloumi cheese, originating from the island of Cypress.
The recipe I used came from the book Home Cheese Making Book from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, who were kind enough to allow me to post this instructable. If you are interested in cheesemaking at all, this book is your bible. I cannot recommend it highly enough, as it cater for any level with "30 min mozzarella" to 10 month matured Parmesan, Colby, Gervais, Manchego you name it!
Now, onto the fun bit
Step 1: Ingredients
Standard cheesemaking setup is required:
2 large pots, with one larger than the other to create a double boiler (kinder on the proteins in milk)
Cheese cloths / Muslin squares (uncoloured)
Cheese Press (optional. You could leave it to drain overnight instead)
1 Gallon of whole milk
2 Fl Oz. Mesophilic Culture Starter (Either purchase online or brew your own like I did)
Step 2: Heat and incubate
Place the smaller pot inside the larger one, filling the space between the two with water. Place it on the stove and add the milk and the starter. If using home cultured buttermilk starter from frozen cubes, pour some milk in a sterlised cup and add the cubes of culture to the cup. Allow them ~10 mins to thaw before inoculating the batch.
Gently bring the temperature up to 30°C (86°F)
Mesophilic bacteria thrive in cool-warm temperatures. Heating the milk to 30°C is just the right temperature to get the bacteria active and metabolising to the best of their abilities. Any temperatures over this will kill the bacteria, leaving you with an overwhelmingly unflavoured cheese.
Step 3: Coagulation
Add rennet as per the instruction given.
I have a bottle of rennet in solution, saying 5 drops for every litre, diluted in a small volume of unchlorinated water. Bottles of spring water will do for this as mains water contains chlorine and fluorine which will ruin the enzyme.
Once added, constantly stir the milk, thoroughly mixing the rennet throughout for about 1-1 1/2 mins.
Cover with a cloth and leave to curdle for 30-45 mins at 30°C (86°F)
After checking for a clean break, cut the curds into 1/2 inch cubes and slowly heat, 2°F every 5 mins or 1°C every 5 mins roughly. This should take 45 mins and end with a temperature of 40°C (104°F)
Maintain this temperature for 20mins, occasionally stirring
Step 4: Ladle the Curds
Take a sterilised colander and cheesecloth/ muslin and begin to ladle the curds into them. It will be easier to tip the curds in once some have been transferred, just be careful not to lose any whey. Save it by draining the curds in the colander with the cheese cloth over the larger of the two pots, now drained of water
Step 5: Press the Cheese
Pack the cheese into a cloth-lined mold and press for one hour.
Remove the cheese, peel the cloth away, turn the cheese and re-dress it with the cloth and press at a greater pressure (but not too great) for a further 30 mins
Step 6: Cut and Cook
Cut the curd block into 3inch square blocks
Heat the reserved whey to 90°C (194°F)
Place the blocks of curds into the heated whey and let them soak for 1 hour. After this time, the cheese will have the texture of cooked chicken breast and will be floating on the surface of the whey as pictured
Strain the cheese in a colander and allow to cool for 20 mins
Step 7: Brine and Enjoy
Sprinkle the cheese with 1/4 cup of salt and let it cool for a further 2-4 hours before brining.
Add 800g (2lb) of salt with some cold water to create a brine for the cheese. place the cheese blocks into the brine and soak for up to 60 days. The cheese may be eaten fresh at any time during the 60 day period
I prefer to lightly grill some thin slices to have with olive bread, what you do with your Halloumi is up to you