Fresh sliced halloumi
|Country of origin||Cyprus|
|Source of milk||Goat, sheep, sometimes cow|
|Pasteurised||Commercially, but not traditionally|
|Aging time||Commercially not aged|
Traditionally aged
|Related media on Wikimedia Commons|
Halloumi or haloumi (//) is a semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese made from a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk, and sometimes also cow's milk. It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled. This property makes it a popular meat substitute. Rennet is used to curdle the milk in halloumi production, although no acid-producing bacteria are used in its preparation.
Halloumi is associated with the island of Cyprus, where it has been produced for many centuries. It is also popular throughout the region broadly known as the Levant. It became widely available in Turkey after 2000. Demand in the United Kingdom surpassed that in every other European country, except Cyprus, by 2013.
The English name halloumi is derived from Modern Greek: χαλλούμι [xaˈlumi], khalloúmi, from Cypriot Maronite Arabic xallúm, ultimately from Egyptian Arabic: حلوم ḥallūm [ħalˈluːm]. The Egyptian Arabic word is itself a loanword from Coptic ϩⲁⲗⲱⲙ halōm (Sahidic) and ⲁⲗⲱⲙ alōm (Bohairic), and was used for cheese eaten in medieval Egypt. The name of the cheese likely goes back the Demotic word ḥlm "cheese" attested in manuscripts and ostraca from 2nd century Roman Egypt.
The methods of making halloumi and cheeses such as feta likely originated sometime in the Medieval Byzantine period (AD 395 – 1191). A recipe for enhancing ḥālūm ('cheese') by brining is found in the 14th-century Egyptian cookbook Kanz al-Fawāʾid fī Tanwīʿ al-Mawāʾid.
The earliest known surviving descriptions of Cypriot halloumi were recorded in the mid-16th century by Italian visitors to Cyprus, where it is often said to have originated. However, the question of whether the recipe for the quintessential halloumi was born in Cyprus and then travelled to Lebanon and the rest of the Levant, or whether the basic techniques of making cheese that resists melting evolved over time in various parts of the eastern Mediterranean—or both—does not have a definitive answer.
Cypriot farmers relied on halloumi as a source of protein and in many villages the entire community would join forces and make huge batches together. Recipes varied from village to village, with each taking great pride in their special technique and secret ingredients. Halloumi became so important to village life that even the surnames of many Cypriot families reflect their role in halloumi production, with names such as Hallumas, Halluma and Hallumakis common by the 19th century.
Traditionally, halloumi was made from sheep and goat milk, since there were few cows on the island until they were brought over by the British in the 20th century. But as demand grew, industrial cheese-makers began using more of the cheaper and more plentiful cow's milk.
Halloumi is registered as a protected Cypriot product within the United States (since the 1990s) but not yet in the European Union. The delay in registering the name halloumi with the EU has been largely due to a conflict between dairy producers and sheep and goat farmers as to whether registered halloumi may contain cow's milk, and how much. In the UK, halloumi is a trademark of Cyprus.
Overview and preparation
The cheese is white, with a distinctive layered texture, similar to mozzarella, and has a salty flavour. It is stored in its natural juices. It is commonly garnished with mint, a practice based on the fact that halloumi keeps better and stays fresher and more flavoursome when wrapped with mint leaves. In accordance with this tradition, some packages of halloumi contain fragments of mint leaves on the surface of the cheese.
The cheese is often used in cooking and can be fried until brown without melting, owing to its higher-than-normal melting point. This makes it an excellent cheese for frying or grilling (as in saganaki) or fried and served with vegetables, or as an ingredient in salads. Cypriots like eating halloumi with watermelon in the warm months, and as halloumi and lountza, a combination of halloumi cheese and either a slice of smoked pork, or a soft lamb sausage. In many regions it is often eaten with breakfast, or as a light meal or side dish.
The resistance to melting comes from the fresh curd being heated before being shaped and placed in brine. Traditional halloumi is a semicircular shape, about the size of a large wallet, weighing 220–270 grams (7.8–9.5 oz). The fat content is approximately 25% wet weight, 47% dry weight with about 17% protein. Its firm texture when cooked causes it to squeak on the teeth when being chewed.
Traditional halloumi is made from unpasteurised sheep and goat milk. Many people also like halloumi that has been aged; kept in its brine, it is much drier, much stronger and much saltier, making it very different from the milder halloumi generally used in the West.
100 grams of commercially produced packaged halloumi has a typical composition of:
- Fried cheese
- List of cheeses – list of cheeses by place of origin
- List of stretch-curd cheeses – Cheeses prepared using the pasta filata technique
- Queijo coalho
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Haloumi, or halumi, is a mild salty Cypriot cheese made from goat's, ewe's, or cow's milk.
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Cyprus has managed to secure EU recognition of halloumi as a traditional cheese of Cyprus ; therefore no other country may export cheese of the same nameCS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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Halloumi is a semi-hard to hard, unripened cheese that, traditionally, is made from either sheep's milk or goat's milk or a mixture of the two. Although the cheese has its origins in Cyprus, it is widely popular throughout the Middle East, and hence many countries have now become involved with its manufacture. In Australia, it is coated with a greek yogurtCS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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Haloumi (sometimes spelled Halloumi) is a brine-cured cheese from Cyprus containing chopped mint.
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