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Making Cheese and Sesame-Crusted Halloumi in Australia

Hi luvs! It’s a cloudy day in Australia, perfect for staying indoors with a mug of coffee and a few homemade cookies to keep me going.

Thank you so much for the love and support you showered on me yesterday. It meant the world to me and I wish I could hug you so tight as we celebrate hope, life and love. xo

Last weekend I had dear friends come over to teach me something I’ve been wanting to learn for ages: how to make cheese.

My friend Ann is an absolute wonder. She not only runs a farm with her hubby Neil, so also mothers five awesome kids, teaches part-time and manages the local health food store. She gives the best hugs and is an absolute wealth of information for all things related to gardening, cooking, and taking care of animals.

Ann, Jess, Lizzy and I had the best time crowded into my little kitchen as they instructed me in how to turn raw milk into ricotta, white cheese, and halloumi.

They taught me when to use rennet and when cultures would be best, how to cut and care for cheesecloth, and how to tell when cheese is ready to drain.

I think the greatest surprise in the whole process was how simple it was. One moment we had a pail full of frothy whole milk and within a few hours we had glistening white cheeses in various forms ready to eat. It was such a thrill to see those wobbly chunks of cheese and an even greater one to bite into them and find them far and away tastier than any store-bought counterpart I’ve ever tasted.

The white cheese is slightly tart – perfect for pairing with tomatoes or spreading on sandwiches.

The ricotta is divinely cream, and I’m waiting to find some peaches, figs or pears to roast to go with it.

Last night I followed Ann’s advice and coated the halloumi with sesame seeds then fried it until the seeds were a lovely golden brown. Oh. My. Goodness. It was so delicious I had to have it again for lunch today.

Halloumi is an interesting cheese in that it doesn’t melt when fried. It retains its shape and has a splendid squeaky texture that feels oh-so-toothsome when you bite it. And it goes perfectly with a nice, cold Australian beer like Hahn’s.

Now that I know how to make halloumi, I can’t wait to try even more recipes. Joumana from A Taste of Beirut and Bethany from Dirty Kitchen Secrets both have fantastic Lebanese recipes that use this marvelous cheese.

Have you ever made cheese before?

Sesame-Crusted Halloumi

Ingredients:

4 1/2″ thick slices of halloumi
3-4 Tbsp sesame seeds
drizzle of sesame oil
salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Dump sesame seeds onto small plate and press each side of halloumi into seeds to coat. NOTE: use a spatula to press the cheese down or all the seeds will stick to your hands.
  2. Heat oil in frying pan.
  3. Place halloumi slices in frying pan and fry 1-2 minutes on each side or until the seeds are toasted a nice golden brown.
  4. Serve immediately.

Halloumi Cheese Recipe
(from Ann Hill)

Ingredients:

8 litres/2 gallons of milk (freshΒ  cows/goat/sheep milk if possible)
If you use homogenised milk you will need to use Calcium Chloride.
Rennet (amount needed depends on your brand)
2 to 50 mls Cooled boiled water

Directions:

  1. Heat milk to 30 degrees C/86 degrees F. Add Calcium Chloride if using.
  2. Add Rennet (amount depends on your brand) to the cooled water. The amount of water varies, depending on the recipe. I use about 5mls. Now add the rennet mixture to the milk. Stir for 2 mins, in an up and down motion.
  3. Let sit for 45 mins. I sit my pot with lid on,Β  in the sink and fill the sink with water that is at 30 degrees.
  4. Cut the curd in half inch/12 mm cuts – slice the curd with the knife straight up and down from one side of the pot to the other, turn the pot 90 degrees and cut again – making a grid. Cut along the previous cuts with the knife at a 45 degree angle. Let the curds rest for 10 mins. Put the curds into a cheese cloth, keep the whey. I dip my cloth in boiling water and wring out, place into a large colander over a clean pot.
  5. Press the curds at 14 kgs/31pounds for 1 hour. If you don’t have a press simply wrap the curds with the cheese cloth and either place a saucer over the curds and balance a heavy weight or place the curd parcel on a clean cutting board place another board on top and balance a weight on, do this on the sink so the whey drains away.
  6. Re-wrap and press at 23 kgs/51pounds for 30 mins. Don’t get too worried about the weights and times, if your curds are firm you will be right.
  7. Remove and cut into 3 inch/7.5cm blocks or pieces.
  8. Bring reserved whey to 82-93 degrees C/180-199.5 degrees F and add cheese blocks. Simmer for half an hour or until the blocks rise up.
  9. Let cool for 20 mins and sprinkle with salt. You should use Kosher or cheese salt.Β  Cool for another 2-4 hours.
  10. Halloumi cam be eaten fresh or stored in brine for 60 days.

 




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Amy @ Seven Grey Sweaters - Oh, I’m envious of this! I have been wanting to learn cheese making but have been feeling daunted by the process of teaching myself. I guess I’ll just have to give it a go with an easy type of cheese.

Krista - I was really intimidated too, Amy! But if you start with something simple like white farm cheese or paneer, you’ll be a pro in no time! πŸ™‚

[email protected] - How fabulous. I love the black and white pics too. Ever since my holiday in Sicily, I have been wanting to make fresh ricotta. Any hints?

Baker Street - Love the black and white pics! Gorgeous!Β 

Rosa May - That is so great! I adore halloumi.

Cheers,

Rosa

Lisa - What an amazing post, Krista – the black and white photography is gorgeous.Β  So amazing that you got to watch this woman work her artistry with milk to produce, not one, but three cheeses!Β  I made homemade ricotta back in ’09, and loved it – so fresh. I’m dying to try Halloumi – especially since that sesame crusted Halloumi sounds wonderful!

bellini - Makin your own cheese has to be satisfying Krista. I once boight rennet in the hope to make my own halloumi, but I have still to make it in my kitchen.

Katy Stewart - That is so, so, cool! can’t believe you’re making cheese already πŸ™‚ What a lovely way to spend a weekend x

Margo Millure - uh, YUMMM. how fun – and love the B and W pics.

tracypickle - What a great series of black/white photos. Stay happy πŸ™‚

Andrea and John - How fun! I’d love to learn how to make cheese – one of my guilty pleasures!

Dewi - Give any fried food, and I am the happiest person that day, especially fried cheese. Yum!

The CafΓ© SucrΓ© Farine - Well it’s a cloudy day here in North Carolina USA today also! How fun to make your own cheese! Thanks for this very instructional post!

Mary Bergfeld - What wonderful photos. I love that you were able to capture the cheese making process. The halloumi sounds delicious. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings…Mary

Annette | Bucket List Journey - I have always wanted to learn how to make ricotta. I wish I could taste the one you made!

Velva-Tomatoes on the Vine - This is what I would call a perfect day. So very cool.Β 

Tasteofbeirut - I have made several cheeses, but halloum would be my next project! I did not know it could be done at home, yeah! This is great news! Now I need to find out HOW.!
Love the sesame-crusted slices!

overlookingmississippi - Hi Krista,
This looks so delish as all your dishes!

I wanted to say I read your last post and I was really moved by your story. Β So glad you are in a good place now with the new life in Australia. Β I hope many more wonderful things will come your way…:)

Krista - Italy is what made me crave fresh ricotta, Jenny. πŸ™‚ I will have some hints for you soon. I’ll be compiling recipes and ideas in the next week. πŸ™‚

Krista - I’m a huge fan now too, Rosa! πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you!! So glad you like them. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you so much, Lisa. πŸ™‚ Yes, Ann is incredible with anything related to food. She just dives in and learns it and becomes and expert in no time. πŸ™‚ Isn’t fresh ricotta the BEST?

Krista - It really is, Val. πŸ™‚ You feel such a huge sense of achievement to see the cheeses lined up and know “I made that!” πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you, Tracy! I sure will! πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you, Margo! πŸ™‚ I’m so fond of black and white pics that I have to throw them in now and then. πŸ™‚

Krista - It was SO fun, Katy girl! And when you come to see me, we’ll invite Ann and the girls over and do it all over again! πŸ™‚

Krista - If you’re ever back in Australia, Andrea, please stop by and we’ll do a cheese-making day. πŸ™‚

Krista - I agree, Dewi!! πŸ™‚ Fried cheese is outrageously delicious. πŸ™‚

Krista - You’re so welcome, Cafe! πŸ™‚ It was such a fun thing to learn and I’m really looking forward to doing it again soon. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you, Mary! It was such a jolly day with dear friends learning such interesting things. πŸ™‚

Krista - It sure can, Joumana! And I will be posting the recipe very soon. πŸ™‚

Krista - It was so lovely, Velva! πŸ™‚

Krista - I would happily share it with you, Annette! If you’re ever in Australia pop on over and I’ll put together a plate for you. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you so much, mississippi. πŸ™‚ That means a great deal to me. πŸ™‚ xo

Krista - Thank you, dear Katie! πŸ™‚ I feel so grateful for such dear and inspiring people around me. I love the black and white too. It feels like something out of an old movie to me. πŸ™‚

Chooks, Goats and Ginger Caramel Roasted Pears with Fresh Ricotta » Rambling Tart - […] my grand cheese-making experience last week, I had fresh ricotta on hand that needed something special to go with it. I pondered for a few days […]

Kate - Sounds brilliant, Krista! What a great thing to learn. Can’t wait to see more recipes.

Stevie - “Squeaky texture” is totally right!Β  I’ve never known how to describe that until reading your story.Β  It is a fun cheese to serve flambe. I’ve never made it taht way at home but love to go to a nearby Turkish restaurant where they ignite at my table.
Β  How marvelous to be learning cheese making!Β 

An Aussie Garden and Fresh Mango Cream Cake » Rambling Tart - […] am not a natural gardener like Shirley, Ann, my Mum, or my brother Ryan, but I’m learning as I go and get so excited as I see seeds […]

Krista - Thank you, Kate! I’ll definitely be posting more in the months to come. πŸ™‚ I love learning this stuff! πŸ™‚

Krista - Oh how cool would that be, Stevie! πŸ™‚ I’d love to have flaming cheese at a Turkish restaurant. πŸ™‚

Medieval Cheese-making and Medieval Camp at Sunrise » Rambling Tart - […] I’ve made cheese at home plenty of times, I hadn’t done it over a fire yet, so made sure to practice before the crowds […]

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