Monday, 14 May 2007

Halloumi Cheese

So after writing the last post on Friday morning, I decided to try my first batch of cheese, one that was simple and didn't need alot of fussing, I happened to find a recipe here for halloumi cheese, I bought 8 pints of Rachel's organic full cream milk, and some vege rennet, because thats that only one sainsbury's had, and got to work. I followed the recipe, well kind of! So poured the rennet in to the 8 pints of milk, and waited for it to set, and a bit longer and a bit longer.....nothing!

Then it occurred to me that as the recipe for junket on the side of the rennet bottle required warm milk, and the fact that I used cold milk straight out of the fridge could be why it wasn't working. So I popped the huge thing of milk on the radiator and waited for an hour or so. Nothing DAMN IT!!!!!!!. So being fed-up, I shook a load more rennet in and left it. After copious glasses of wine, (it was friday afterall), I remembered it was still on the radiator, and it had thickened, I jumped for joy and went and found some muslin in my fabric stash and hung the curds up to drain. Again after the desired waiting time, I checked my curds and they were just down right crumbly. I hung them back up and left them till the morning, when they were...............yep, still crumbly!


So I threw caution to the wind, salted them and stuck them under the grill to see what would happen;


They were yummy and creamy, but they were not halloumi!!!!!!!

So as the day wore on, I pondered my haloumi attempt, and read a few of my cheese books, none of which had anything remotely like it in their recipes.

Sunday morning I decided was time for attempt 2.

So this time I heated up my milk to 32 degrees first, I also added double the amount of rennet (2 tsp), I think vege rennet might be a little less strong, and left it. After about half an hour the curds and whey were separating. After about another half an hour (during which time, I whipped up a filo spinach pie, with the addition of yesterdays failed curds, some pine nuts, basil and eggs), I hung the halloumi up to drain;


Sweetie pie constructed the perfect cheese draining device, (a plank of wood across my two kitchen cabinets), and I do believe they are hanging from a silk alpaca blend thread! nothings too good for my halloumi!

I left them to drain till this morning and this time, they were much more solid;


They had to be boiled in the whey,. which I have done, they look a little more rustic after that, but tonight will be the testing, yummy, grilled halloumi with a scrummy tomato and onion salsa, my favorite way to eat it!

I'm going to make mozarrella next.

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