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The Production Method

Traditional way of producing halloumi

  • The first step involves bringing the milk to a lukewarm temperature and after the diluted rennet is added to it (the so-called ‘’pidkia’’, which in ancient times came from a very small lamb - the stomach of a lamb or pig slaughtered at Christmas), is left to cool.

  • Soon the milk coagulates and turns into cheese curds, which will eventually become halloumi.

  • After that, the curds are then cut into pieces and placed in the talarin, a kind of small basket braided with ‘’skilintzia’’, stems of aquatic plants. It is pressed in order to strain and the liquid which comes out of it is the so-called noros (whey). 

  • The whey is reheated with the addition of more milk usually with a proportion of one to ten.

  • The whey will be congealed again and anari will be formed which can remain either unsalted or salt can be added to it. When it is dried, anari is stored.

  • Then, to separate the anari from the whey, you need to use the talarin to press it and strain it. After this, the whey needs to be kept as the halloumi will need to be cooked in it next.  

  • In the meantime, when the halloumi is dry, after the talarin process, it is then cooked in the whey that was reserved from before. The whey is heated and the halloumi is cooked on low heat for about an hour.

  • It is typical that, when the halloumi is cooked, you can see it floating on the surface of the whey in which they are cooked.

  • Then, each piece of halloumi is salted and then finely chopped mint is also added to add flavour.

  • Then, each piece is folded in two and placed in a sealable glass container in order to be stored. When the container is filled with halloumi, whey is also added to it and then it is sealed.

(Community Council Prasteio Kellakiou, "Traditional halloumi").


Modern way of producing halloumi

  • For centuries,  halloumi was produced in rural areas. Modern production processes use the same traditional production process following European hygiene standards which give quality and "allow" halloumi to retain its distinctive taste.

  • Today halloumi is produced mainly in well-equipped dairies small and large from sheep and/or goat or a mixture of sheep, goat and cow milk.

  • Milk is produced in the delimited geographical area, collected using appropriate means to ensure its quality and be delivered to the halloumi production units.

  • The milk is heated to the appropriate curdling temperature (approx. 34°C) or previously pasteurized to a temperature higher than 65°C and then cooled to the appropriate coagulation temperature.

  • Then, with the addition of rennet, the milk coagulates.

  • After coagulation, the drosinon, i.e. the curd, is cut and reheated with stirring to 40°C.

  • It is then placed in the talaria, cheesecloths or suitable molds, where it is pressed until a sufficient amount of whey is removed and the masses of the curd are joined.

  • The pieces of curd are then placed in the whey, from which the anari has been previously removed by heating to about 80°C, most of which consists of albumen, globulins and fat residues.

  • The whey and the curd are heated to a temperature above 90°C for at least 30 minutes, a process called boiling halloumi.

  • Boiling is a unique technique in the production of halloumi cheese that is not followed in the production of any other cheese. The boiling process contributes to the characteristic organoleptic properties of the product.

  • The halloumi is removed from the whey and salted on the surface. Fresh mint leaves or dried mint that can be pre-mixed with the salt are also added.

  • The pieces of halloumi are folded and, after cooling, they are placed in containers to which brine whey is added.

  • The halloumia stay for 1-3 days in the brine whey and then packed in airtight (fresh) or bulk containers with brine whey. To produce mature halloumi, it must remain in brine for at least 40 days at 15-20°C to undergo the ripe process and then packed in airtight or in bulk in brine containers.

  • Until sold to the consumer, fresh halloumi, regardless of packaging, is kept at a temperature below 7°C, while ripe halloumi is usually kept in brine in a cool places

Source: Cyprus Cheesemakers Association 2008, pp.1266-1267

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