A white, fibrous texture and less salty than feta. Excellent when
grilled or fried.
Halloumi was originally a Middle Eastern
Bedouin cheese made from ewes' and sometimes goats' milk. It is long-keeping,
tough and salty which made it ideal for the Bedouin way of life. The popularity
of the cheese led to its production spreading throughout the Middle East,
to Greece and Cyprus and throughout the world.
It is creamy white with a fibrous texture,
and is firmer, less brittle and generally less salty than Feta; even though
it is also soaked in brine during manufacture. It can be sliced but not
crumbled. The cheeses gains its special properties during the making when
the moulded curds are dipped in hot water, kneaded with chopped mint,
and then rolled out like pastry and cut into bars. It is either eaten
soon after making or can be ripened for a month.
Although enjoyed in the Middle East when
uncooked, Halloumi is fundamentally a cooking cheese. Its true character
is only revealed when it is heated. In the Lebanon it is known as kebab
cheese, being cubed, skewered and grilled over charcoal on street stalls.
If thin slices of the cheese are placed in a hot non-stick pan, the outside
will rapidly become crisp and golden brown, while the centre melts. The
cheese is excellent when served with salad, houmus and pitta bread.
Real Halloumi is made from ewes' or goats'
milk but increasingly cows' milk is being used, particularly with large
scale production. This is done for financial reasons and the resulting
cheeses are inferior and should be avoided. Ours is made by Mark Hardy
of the Sussex High Weald Dairy at Putlands Farm, Uckfield, East Sussex.
He uses the milk from his own ewes and makes the cheeses to an original
recipe and method. It is an excellent example of this cheese. If the cheese
is too salty then soaking it in luke- warm water or milk before using
will remove the excess salt.