Homemade Haloumi Cheese in an Hour

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A super quick (microwave!) version of Haloumi cheese, flavoured with herbs and chilli and ready to eat in under an hour. 

Update: On November 3rd the second photo in this post was chosen as the runner up in the Australian Eat Drink Blog 3 photography competition

Inspired by my recent adventures with 1 ingredient curd cheese making, I had decided to make haloumi. We love the salty flavour and squeaky texture of the cheese and often find ourselves munching on pan-fried slices of this Cypriot delicacy at snack-time.

My first attempt over the weekend became a slight failure in that I used lemon juice (from 2 lemons) to help create the curd and so my cheese ended up more like a herbed curd cheese than haloumi. It was delicious, but a far cry from the salty, squeaky haloumi we’ve come to love. Not about to give up, I scoured the interwebs for homemade haloumi (aren’t we blessed these days). Buried amongst others, I found this super simple plain haloumi recipe and went on improving it by adding dried herbs and chilli to the mix.

Simple and quick: you can make it in a microwave… (if you don’t have a microwave you can use this longer method). I got really excited because I hardly ever use the microwave for anything else than re-heating tea! And you don’t need any fancy equipment apart from a couple of things you probably already have or can easily find at your local chemist and supermarket: a sheet of gauze dressing and… junket tablets. An electronic human-use thermometer is optional.

Now back to junket tablets – I didn’t even know they existed but apparently they make great cheese! They can generally be found in the most obscure spot of the powdered custard aisle of your supermarket. As mentioned, the thermometer is not entirely necessary because you’ll only be heating the milk to just below body temperature (32°-35°C // 89.5°F – 95°F) and you may just as well use your clean fingers to test the milk’s temp.  Oh, and it also turns out that to make haloumi you need unhomogenised milk – the one where the cream sits at the top. Perhaps that’s why my first attempt resulted in curd cheese instead.

Ok so maybe it sounds more complex than I first made you believe… but trust me, it takes less than an hour to make and once you have the gauze, the unhomogenised milk and junket, you are set. And once you pan-fry it, it tastes like nothing else in the world – perfect match for a watermelon salad. For a haloumi recipe using rennet and the slightly longer method, click here.

5.0 from 7 reviews

Homemade Haloumi Cheese in an Hour
Author: 
Recipe type: Cheese, Haloumi, Homemade
Cuisine: Cypriot, Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: ~300g
 
To make the cheese you will need an electronic thermometer (for human use is ok, sterilised); a large sheet of gauze and a junket tablet. Junket tablets are available from most supermarkets and can be found in the powdered dessert aisle near custards and jellies. Adapted from a dairydoatssa.com website.
Ingredients
For the Haloumi Cheese:
  • 1 litre unhomogenised (organic) cow’s milk
  • 1 litre goat’s milk
  • 1 junket tablet
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ½ tbsp dried Italian herbs
  • ¼ tbsp chilli flakes, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp salt
For the Brine:
  • ½ cup of the leftover whey
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp salt
Instructions
To make the Haloumi Cheese:
  1. Place both milks into a large saucepan. Dissolve junket tablet in 1 tablespoon water.
  2. Heat milk over slow heat until it reaches 32°-35°C // 89.5°F – 95°F. Remove from heat immediately and add dissolved junket.
  3. Stir for a few seconds then set aside for 30 minutes in a warm place. The milk should set and become jelly like.
  4. Once the milk has set, cut it up roughly using a wooden spoon and mix to separate the whey.
  5. Transfer to a large microwave-safe bowl, add chilli and herbs and allow to stand for another 10 minutes.
  6. Place the bowl in a microwave and heat on high for 2 minutes. Stir the mixture around and heat on high for another 2 minutes.
  7. Test the curds with your fingers – they should be elastic and slightly firm. If still very soft, stir and heat on high for 1 more minute.
To strain the Haloumi Cheese:
  1. Once heated, spread gazue over a large fine sieve set over a large bowl.
  2. Strain the curds and whey, reserving ½ cup of whey for the brine.
  3. Sprinkle salt over the curds, mix and start pressing the cheese to remove excess whey.
  4. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze extra whey.
To make the Brine:
  1. Combine all brine ingredients and mix well.
To store Haloumi Cheese:
  1. Press haloumi cheese into a rectangular container and place in the fridge to cool (or into the freezer for 15 minutes if you’re more rushed).
  2. Once cooled, transfer haloumi to a larger container and cover with brine.
  3. Store in the fridge and consume within a couple of days.

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Comments:

55 Responses to Homemade Haloumi Cheese in an Hour

  1. Junket is so good! Great idea.

  2. Well aren’t you the clever one. In my mind I see you in a Donna Hay setting grilling haloumi on your deck while looking out over ocean. :)

  3. Thanks for this. I recently did a cheese making course and though we didn’t cover haloumi that day, the instructor did say it was pretty easy too. It’s so satisfying making cheese isn’t it?

    Just a tip for your readers, the Parmalat brand of unhomogenised milk comes in 1L packs at most supermarkets.

    • Thanks for the tip Kristy – a cheese making class would have been fantastic! By the way… I used Parmalat in my lemon batch then Paul’s organic unhmogenised in this batch. Any full cream unhomogenised cow’s milk would work.

  4. I had never heard of junket tablets before. Your cheese looks oh so rustic and creamy!

    • Neither had I Sneh, until I started researching why my first batch didn’t work out (haloumi is one of a few cheeses that are made without using acid). And sure enough and as suggested my local big chain supermarket had the tablets. Apparently junket tablets are used to make custards and ice creams too!

  5. Raymund says:

    1 hour, got to try it out haloumi is expensive here

  6. RecipeNewZ says:

    I love Haloumi cheese! This is recipe is wonderful! I just need to find these junket tablets and I’m set. I also love your tip on using whey as brine. When I make ricotta or farmers cheese I use whey for baking bread. But even then I always have too much left over. This is a great way to use whey :-). Thank you for sharing!

  7. I’ve read so many haloumi recipes, I’ve got to try making my own. And fried.. oh, my gosh!!

  8. Is it possible to do it in a normal oven? I don’t have a microwave :( I would love to try homemade halloumi! Looks so delicious!

  9. Now this in one thing I’m definitely going to try. So easy! The last time I used junket tablets was way back in school for some home economics task!

  10. Eat Online says:

    Can’t wait to try this

  11. Charles says:

    I love you for posting this. Here in France it’s *really* hard to find halloumi. I heard there was “one guy” in a market in a nearby town which sells it but it’s not widely available. I have to wait until my parents visit me from England, or my colleague goes home to Cyprus so I can get some more supplies!

    Of course, now I just need to find goats milk, which is another challenge, but I think it will be easier than finding halloumi – thanks so much!

    I’m not familiar with “junket” tablets… is that like a rennet tablet? I’ll need to look it up.

    • Hi Charles, you’re welcome! We are quite blessed here in Australia in terms of our food. You could make it out of straight cow’s milk or sheep milk (although that might be even harder to find). Perhaps some health food shops might stock it?

      And yes, jusnket tablets are similar to rennet tablets but they contain other things. Based on my research you could use 2ml pure liquid rennet or an equivalent of that in a rennet tablet. My junket tablets were 0.75g.

  12. This is such an interesting idea, I can’t believe it’s made in the microwave! Looks great!

  13. love2dine says:

    your photographs just pop out of the pages, gorgeous :)

  14. Sissi says:

    Martyna, I still haven’t tasted haloumi (although I keep on seeing it in one of my regular shops..) and already want to make it on my own thanks to your impressive accomplishment! It looks fabulous!

  15. I’ve never tried Haloumi cheese before although I learned about this from several blogs. 1 hour isn’t that bad at all. Pinning to save the recipe!

  16. I love haloumi, but somehow I’m happy that I don’t know what Junket tablets are and I don’t have an easy access to goat milk. Otherwise I would probably end up making it too often :) But I will bookmark recipe, just in case when I change my mind ;)

  17. I had absolutely no idea you could make haloumi at home. I’m so going to try this as I make my own ricotta all the time, which is a breeze too. Thanks for sharing!

    By the way, I love the plate you have the cheese on. Gorgeous!

  18. Sihi says:

    Rustic, gorgeous and yum! Thank you for sharing. Love the pictures.
    Best,
    Sihi

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  20. I would love to make this! Is there something I can sub for the ‘junket’…and I’m not sure where I can buy goats milk?

    • You will most probably be able to find goat’s milk in most supermarkets or large health food stores. It gives a nice flavour to the cheese. As for junket tablets, I am only aware of them to make the cheese – perhaps contact your local cheesemaker store, or look online. Most Australian supermarkets stock junket – so try your local ones.

  21. Heather says:

    Hi,
    I’m having a little trouble with this recipe. I’ve heated the milk and put the junket in; waited 30mins and it’s still liquid. It just looks like slightly curdled milk? Not sure what I’ve done wrong. Does the goats milk have to be unhomogenised too?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Heather, that’s what my cheese looked like until I microwaved it and it began to congeal and separate from the whey… the goat’s milk does not need to be unhomogenised. I hope the recipe ended up working for you in the end?

    • Lindsey says:

      I had the same thing happen to me until I started the microwaving process. Even then, I had to nuke it a whole bunch of times to get some curds (how much is this recipe supposed to yield?). I think the problem lay with the goat’s milk- it was ultra-pasteurized, though the cow’s milk was organic and unhomogenized. It’s cooling in the fridge right now, but seems like it’s going to be very crumbly.

  22. Oh my! Have Junket- will make..
    This is fantastic, we have a friend who is vegetarian and has grilled Haloumi when we do a BBQ. I cannot wait to surprise her with this next time she comes round.
    Thank you for making it look so simple

  23. OH… MY… WORD! I didn’t know this was possible. Thanks for sharing :) The only problem is that UK supermarkets don’t seem to stock junket tablets as far as I can see.

  24. Fiona says:

    Thanks for the recipe, made some on the weekend – trial with the quick and traditional recipe, split the recipe after I’d made the curds. Cooked it up tonight and it’s excellent. Saves heaps of time. I used liquid vege rennet rather than junket tabs and added dried mint

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  26. jenn says:

    I was floating around looking for a nice definition of haloumi for the iqs site and where did I stumble? Right here on your blog. What a lovely surprise :)
    I love haloumi, will definitely give this recipe a crack x

  27. marlen says:

    I usually make maltese chesse and it is similar to this one
    the difference is that I do not heat it again after I added the juncket.i just let drain the whey from the mold.i am afraid to heat it up and ruin my cheese.by the way I add I cup or full cream milk for each cup of fresh milk in order to have more curd.did you ever tried to make chesse not usung the microwave?i don’t trust it to much it might go too hot.if someone could help me?

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  30. Teddy says:

    Traditional Halloumi is made EXCLUSIVELY from goat and sheep milk (50/50) and no cow milk is used. Although my dishes are almost always vegan I consume halloumi from time to time. I guess being Greek Cypriot (halloumi has its origins in Cyprus) makes it hard for me to quit halloumi. That being said, the halloumi the rest of the world (except Cyprus that is, and some stores in Greece store traditional halloumi) gets is made from Cows milk mixed with goat/sheep to lower the production costs.

    P.S. The only product we have in Cyprus in so many varieties (as in mixed, traditional, low fat, etc.) that the rest of the world does not have is halloumi.

  31. Danielle says:

    This recipe is fantastic and so easy (I’ve never even thought about making cheese before, this was my first time) – I tried it out this afternoon using the liquid rennet and it worked beautifully – fried up perfectly, soft and squeaky. I’m over the moon as I haven’t been able to find Halloumi very readily here in New York and if I do its ridiculously expensive. So glad I came across your website…

  32. Elizabeth says:

    My grandmother was an avid junket- eer. She used it in everything containing dairy. It predigests cows milk proteins and lactose. It’s great for peeps with a lactose intolerance. There used to be a local manufacturer who sold it in tablet form, half the pack plain, and the other in various flavours. My childhood milkshakes were milk and junket for the flavour. It disappeared from supermarkets sometime in the 1990s. It’s a terrific product, containing amylase, the enzyme that digests lactose: so recent “lacteze” tablets, are some new style of junket. The predigestion / fermentation is why so many lactose intolerant peeps can tolerate real yoghurt and soft/ briny cheeses!
    Btw love the microwave haloumi method for this time poor mama!

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