What do you get up to when you go to visit your parents for a nice Sunday afternoon in the countryside? Perhaps Mum might make a nice Sunday roast or Dad will get the BBQ going? These are all fairly standard. What did my Dad and I get up to a few weeks ago? We made cheese. Obviously.
Now this wasn’t totally out of the blue, he’d been bought a halloumi cheese making kit for his birthday back in December and wanted to finally have a go at it. He’d sent Mum off in search of the right kind of milk and invited me round to get in on the action. This meant I had to stand around and do all of the waiting/gentle stirring parts while he disappeared off to do something less boring. I had never considered making cheese from scratch before, I kind of vaguely knew that it was doable at home, but assumed you’d need lots of fancy equipment. However, short of a thermometer, big enough saucepan and a muslin cloth, there’s a surprising lack of gadgetry involved.
If you’re impatient or the type if person who expects instant results, this is perhaps not the leisurely weekend activity for you. If however, you don’t mind a bit of waiting about, the process really couldn’t be easier.
The first stage of the process involves gently heating the milk and rennet mixture and this is followed by several stages of heating/cooling, cutting curds etc. before using the muslin to drain your curds and pressing the cheese to remove moisture before cooking it again in the reserved whey mixture.
For me, the end result was excellent. This may sound like a really dumb thing to say but I was really surprised at just how much it tasted like halloumi. I don’t know why I was expecting it to be bland but the flavour really took me by surprise. It was really creamy and just as tasty fresh as it was grilled the next day. Obviously we don’t all have the time to whip up a batch of homemade cheese on a weekly basis, but if you’ve got a spare Sunday I’d thoroughly recommend giving it a go because the results were totally worth it. It’d be a great thing to do for a dinner party and your friends will be super impressed! Equally I think it’d make such a thoughtful gift for the cheese lover in your life.
My Dad’s kit came from The Big Cheese Making Kit and came with everything you need and detailed instructions for making btoh halloumi and feta. There are plenty of others on the market if you want to shop around but I’d thoroughly recommend this one.