By John Maniatty
A Greek cheese made in Cyprus, Halloumi is a hard cheese that can be used fresh, or stored in a brine. It has a very high melting point, making it a good choice for the delicious Greek appetizer, Saganaki (fried cheese).
Anari is a cheese made from the whey produced while making Halloumi. It's excellent eaten fresh, or it can be hung to dry. It will harden into a cheese that is good for grating on pasta or salads.
Here's what we'll be using today.
2 gallons fresh Goat’s milk • Cheese Press • Rennet • Stock Pot
Knutz • Curd Knife • Cheese Cloth • Colander
½ tsp. Rennet, diluted in ½ cup water • Kosher Salt • Butter Muslim
Slotted Spoon • Thermometer • Bamboo Drying Rack
Let's have some fun.
First, I heat my milk up to 86° and add the rennet and let it sit. After 45 minutes, you should see a clean break. To check, I stick my knife in at an angle, and pull it straight up. The milk has now split into a solid and a liquid (curds and whey).
Cutting the Curds!
Now it’s time to cut the curds. Cut parallel lines about ½” apart, then turn the pan 90°s. Cut parallel lines ½” apart again, and turn the pan 90°s. Now, with my knife at a 45° angle, I retrace my first lines. Then, I turn the pan 90°s, and again retrace my previous cuts at a 45° angle. I do this two more times, and by the end, it’s hard to tell where my original cuts were! That’s OK.
After letting the curds rest for 10 minutes or so, I scoop them up and put them into a colander lined with cheesecloth to drain. I reserve the whey to use when I make Anari later today.
Line the mold of the cheese press with cheese cloth and gently place the curds into it.
Press the curds at 30 pounds of pressure for 1 hour.
Remove the cheese from the mold and gently peel off the cheesecloth. Then turn it over, re-wrap it, and press at 50 pounds of pressure for 30 minutes.
Remove the cheese, and cut into three inch blocks.
It’s time to boil the cheese. Bring the reserved whey to between 180° - 200°, and add the cheese blocks. Allow them to simmer gently for a half hour or so. The blocks now look and feel like cooked chicken breasts.
Let them cool for about 20 minutes, and sprinkle with salt. Continue to let them cool on a cheese mat for another 2-4 hours.
The cheese can either be eaten fresh or stored in a brine for sixty days. To make the brine, I combine 2 pounds of coarse salt and 1 gallon of cold water.
Anari is made using the whey produced when I made the Halloumi earier today. I made the Anari while my Halloumi was in the cheese press for an hour.
Bring the whey to a boil. The curds that are left are much smaller than the ones that have been removed previously, and they float right up to the top.
Pour the whey through a butter muslin lined colander into another pan to strain out these curds.
They can be eaten fresh and warm, or sprinkled with honey or sugar and a little cinnamon.
They can also be hung to dry to form a hard cheese that can be shredded over pasta. My Anari doesn’t stand a chance of becoming a hard cheese. It’s just so wonderful fresh!