It is shocking… but our local, organic milk is on sale this week! Milk NEVER goes on sale. I couldn’t resist stock piling, and making loads of cheese. Since I no longer have a “cave” to age my cheese, I stuck to fresh cheeses. This also allowed me to be a bit more relaxed about sterilization in my kitchen (though clean is always best for every ferment!).
The best part about fresh cheese is that the pay off is so good. A gallon of milk turns into about 4 cups of cheese and you can eat it right away.
This is a recipe for halloumi, which is a traditional Greek and Turkish cheese that, like feta, is brined after making.
- 1 gallon (4L) whole milk
- ¼ tsp calcium chloride in ¼ cup of water
- Rennet (enough to set 1 gallon, read rennet packaging) in ¼ cup of water
- 1 tbsp salt for poaching the curds
- ⅓ cup salt for brining the cheese
- Heat the milk up to 86F.
- Stir in calcium chloride, fully mixing in.
- Add the rennet, fully mixing in with up and down strokes for 2 minutes.
- Keep the mixture at 86F until the curd has formed (30-45 minutes).
- Cut the curd into roughly 1in cubes.
- Allow to settle for 5 minutes. Then slowly raise the temperature to 104F, raising it 2F and gently stirring every 5 minutes.
- Drain the curds into a cheesecloth lined strainer with a bowl underneath to catch the whey (you will need the whey later).
- Leave to drain for about 30 min, then either hang the cheese to further drain, or press it in a mold for 1 hour.
- After an hour heat the whey to 195F. At this point you will get a bit of fresh ricotta floating on the top of the pot. Scoop it out with a spoon, and drain for future use. (Bonus!)
- Add 1 tablespoon of salt into the pot of whey, Remove the halloumi cheese from the press and slice into 4-5 large slices. Put the cheese into the salted whey and keep at around 180F for 1 hour of poaching.
- After poaching, make a brine of ⅓ cup salt and 2 cups of water. Put the cheese into the brine and top with whey to cover (you will need at least 2 cups of whey). Allow to brine for at least 2 days or up to 2 months.
-Halloumi is traditionally just made with rennet, however, raw milk would already have it’s own flora to provide flavour. If using store-bought milk, then I recommend kefir culturing the milk for about 6 hours prior to making the cheese. You don’t want the milk to be very acidic because this is not an acid cheese, however slight culturing will improve the flavour.
-Please read up on the detailed processes involved with cheese making if you are uncertain about any of the steps in this recipe.
-Halloumi can be brined in a cool room (18C) or in the fridge. You can also freeze halloumi for future use.