Make Your Own Hellim or Halloumi and Cheese

Making Hellim or Halloumi

Hellim or Halloumi is a traditional Cypriot cheese and is usually made with sheep or goat's milk. It is a white cheese with a distinctive layered texture which is enjoyed in Cyprus with watermelon and fresh bread during the summer months. It can also be grilled or fried as it does not melt or grated and sprinkled on pasta. 

Ingredients - To make 2-3 rounds of hellim use 4.5 litres of goat, ewe or cow milk; 1 tsp of rennet and a little salt.

Add the rennet to the fresh milk which has been heated gently to 32c (use a thermometer to ensure the correct heat) and leave for about 30 minuted to set. Break up the curds and place the solids into a large muslin bag or several and allow the whey to drain into a pan. 

Once the curds have fully drained bring the whey gradually to the boil. Any curds that form at this stage can be gathered and hung to dry to form a much harder hellim which is traditionally grated onto pasta. Or alternatively the curds can be mixed with sugar and cinnamon and used as a filling for traditional Cypriot filo pastry cakes.

Return the first curds to the boiling whey and simmer for about 20 minutes until the hellim floats. Allow the hellim's to cool fully, fold in half and place in the fridge with a weight on top for a few hours to allow the hellim's to firm up. Your hellim can be stored by freezing or in a container with some of the cooled whey.

The remaining whey is not wasted and can be used to cook pasta in or used as a base for soup.

Making a hard Cheddar type cheese

A hard cheese is usually made with cow's milk. The following recipe will make half a kilo of cheddar cheese.

Ingredients - 5 litres of full fat cow's milk; a teaspoon of rennet and approximately 10g of salt. 

Add the rennet to the fresh milk which has been heated gently to 32c (use a thermometer to ensure the correct heat) and leave for about 30 minuted to set. Break up the curds and place the solids into a large muslin bag or several and allow the whey to drain into a pan. 

After the whey has drained fully wring the muslin to squeeze as much liquid as possible from the cheese. Remove from the muslin and break the curd into pea sized pieces, sprinkle with the salt and roll gently with a rolling pin to further break up the curd. 

Use a mould lined with a sterilised cheesecloth, press the curd into the mould until full and cover with the cheesecloth. Place a weight on the mould and exert pressure onto the weight with a homemade press  which uses a car vice to exert pressure (lots of instructions are available just search for homemade cheese press) to extract any remaining whey for about a day.

Remove the cheese from mould and the cheesecloth and dip the cheese into very hot water for a few minutes to allow the surface of the cheese to smooth. Leave in a well ventilated but warm area to dry for a few days and a rind will begin to form. 

The cheese at this stage is rather tasteless and needs to be left in a cool and dry place (about 7-10c) for 3-4 weeks to mature whilst turning daily. 
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