Prof Dr. Ahmet E. Uysal
Hellim cheese, one of Cyprus’ most important products on the market, actually passed from the Arabs to the Greeks, and from the Greeks to the Turks. The Arabs call this cheese hallum, and the Greeks, haloumi.
Ms. Samıye Yusuf, who lives in the village of Akçay, near the town of Güzelyurt in Northern Cyprus, explained the making of this cheese:
Hellim is made from goat, sheep or cow’s milk. The best is the one made from goat’s milk. Sheep’s milk also makes very good hellim. Cow’s milk hellim doesn’t last more than two months, but goat or sheep’s milk hellim can be stored for over a year in its own liquid, and is more flavorful than that made from cow’s milk. I make hellim cheese this way:
I strain 11 liters of milk and put it into a 75-liter kettle. I gently heat the bottom of the pot. When it’s lukewarm, I add the rennet. The proportion is one teaspoon of rennet to 75 liters of milk. I stir the rennet in by hand, and then let the milk stand covered at this temperature for one hour. During this time the milk forms a curd. At this point the curd is soft and won’t stick to the hands. Then I gradually increase the heat under the kettle, and the curd starts to form lumps. I take the lumps out, put them into cheesecloth, and then into a press. The pressing lasts half an hour, and the water is pressed out of the cheese. This is done by putting the wrapped cheese in a flat surface and placing heavy weights on top of them.
Meanwhile, I add a few liters of milk to the whey in the pot and continue heating it. Soon another curd forms, which is called nor in Cypriot Turkish and lor in Anatolian Turkish. I remove it from the boiling liquid with a ladle. I then put the pressed hellim into the