Halloumi Cheese

Halloumi with non FODMAPS ricotta on the side

Halloumi with non FODMAPS ricotta on the side

This is not difficult, I was surprised to find. It makes nearly 250gms halloumi at about half the price it would cost to buy. Halloumi is FODMAPS friendly and with the left over whey you can make a golf ball size of non-FODMAPS safe ricotta – as long as you can stand the looks of envy when you eat it – its your conscience! 🙂

  • 2 litres semi-skimmed cows milk
  • 2 tspns rennet
  • Salt
  • herb of choice (optional)

Equipment needed, large saucepan, cooking thermometer, colander, muslin (old sterilised tea towel work, baby muslins too)

1. Ensure all equipment is sterile (rinsing with boiling water is sufficient).

2. Heat milk to about 34°C

3. Add the rennet mixed with 100mls of cold milk, stir thoroughly. Optional:Sprinkle in dried mint or basil (about a tablespoon)

4. Hold temperature at 32-34°C for about 30-40mins or until ‘clean break’ (when you can see a clear separation between the ‘curd’ and the ‘whey’.

5. Break up the curd somewhat (don’t go mad and liquidise, it you want lumps) gently with a slotted spoon and raise the temperature to about 38°C.

6. Hold at 38°C-40°C for about 20mins. stirring gently with the slotted spoon every 3 or 4 mins.

7. Lift out the curds into a muslin lined colander (or cheese mould if you want a nice shape). Cover with a muslin and weigh down (a saucepan with tins in it works for me). Let it rest for about 30mins.

8.  Cute the halloumi into pieces – about the size you might normally buy (say 15cm square and 5 cm thick – it doesn’t matter too much so long as you can immerse it in the remaining liquid (whey).

9. Reheat the whey to 85-90°C, turn off the heat and add the halloumi pieces.

10. Leave for about 20mins, stirring occasionally.

11. Remove the slices and add a pinch of salt on each side.

12 Make a brine to store the pieces in. So maybe a 200ml whey, 200ml boiling water and 40ml (4 tspns) salt – to taste, this might vary next time you make it.

13. Store the halloumi pieces in a jar or other sealed container immersed in the brine for up to 2 weeks.

14. Preparation: a few options (I may post some later) my favourite is simply to brown 1cm slices in a lightly oiled pan and serve with a salad of choice.

To make (non-FODMAPS) Ricotta; add 1 tspn salt and 1 tbspn vinegar to the remaining whey and reheat back to about 90°C. Strain out into muslin and squeeze out the liquid – you’ll have a bout a golfball of ricotta.

Temperatures: Don’t fret too much about these, I’ve gone higher by 3° or 4° and it doesn’t seem to have affected the final result

FODMAPS: Halloumi is safe, it is made from the curds where the whey has been pressed out (unlike, say, cottage cheese which is not FODMAPS safe) Ricotta is a whey cheese which seems to mean it is not FODMAPS safe.  It is the whey then that contains the lactose.  A bit of googling informs me that whey is more precisely defined as a protein independent of lactose. In the cheesemaking (non chemistry) world though whey is the liquid that separates from the curd and which, as far as I can see, contains the lactose, I guess because it soluble. I’ll revisit this comment if I learn more.

Inspired by Bill my father-in-law who convinced me to have a go and is much more adventurous in his cheese-making. Also adapted from a number of internet sources, you wouldn’t believe how many variations there are, this is the most straightforward approach I have tried and tested.

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