Is Halloumi Supposed to Be Squeaky? (Solved!)

  • Halloumi cheese squeaks when bitten into due to its rubbery texture rubbing against teeth, caused by protein strands formed during the cheesemaking process with rennet
  • The squeak is not due to air escaping but is a result of protein strands in the cheese creating friction against the teeth
  • Besides halloumi, other semi-firm cheeses like paneer, Finnish bread cheese, and young mozzarella can also squeak
  • As halloumi ages, it may lose its squeakiness due to the breakdown of proteins, but freezing can preserve the squeak
  • Halloumi’s squeaky characteristic is not affected by whether it is eaten raw or cooked

Why Does Halloumi Squeak?

You have to admit, it’s pretty weird when you are trying to enjoy your delicious halloumi, and it squeaks at you!

Now, it can’t be the cheese trying to communicate, so why does halloumi squeak?

Initially, it was put down to air escaping from the halloumi, but this isn’t true.

If it was, then why doesn’t halloumi squeak when you cut it with a knife?

There is a scientific reason for the halloumi squeaking.

It’s the protein within the cheese that causes the rubbery texture of the halloumi to squeak when it comes into contact with your teeth.

During the cheesemaking process, rennet is added to the warm milk.

This causes the milk to coagulate and form clumps or strands of proteins.

This is what gives halloumi its characteristic rubbery texture.

It’s a good source of protein

When you are eating halloumi, the protein strands rub against your teeth and create a squeaky sound.

You have to exert pressure to push your teeth through the halloumi.

It’s that particular motion that creates friction against the protein, hence the squeak.

So, rest assured the cheese is not in pain!

Typically, you would cook halloumi, but it is possible to eat it raw. 

And it doesn’t matter what you do with it, it will still squeak!

Are There Any Other Squeaky Cheeses?

So, we are all familiar with halloumi being known as squeaky cheese.

But are there any other cheeses that squeak when we eat them?

Several other kinds of cheese have this same characteristic.

The most obvious one is paneer.

However, you won’t necessarily notice the squeak with paneer, as it is typically coated in a sauce.

This sets up a barrier between the cheese and your teeth.

Other examples include the unusual Finnish bread cheese, and some mozzarella, particularly if they are very young and fresh.

If halloumi is allowed to age, it may lose its squeak.  

The younger the cheese, the more likely it is to squeak.

As cheese ages, the proteins break down, and therefore, the structure is impaired. 

The proteins will start to be dissolved by lactic acid, and the squeakiness will disappear.

If you freeze the halloumi, it will halt this process, and the squeak will be retained.  

Squeaky cheeses are semi-firm and also have the characteristic of not melting when cooked.

Why Is It So Difficult to Melt Halloumi?

My Final Thoughts

Halloumi is known as squeaky cheese.

It makes a distinctive squeaking sound when you bite into it. 

This is regardless of whether it’s raw or cooked.

The squeak is caused by protein strands as they meet the surface of your teeth.

Protein is formed when rennet is introduced during the cheese-making process. 

It creates the familiar rubbery texture of halloumi.

It has nothing to do with air escaping from the cheese, as was once believed.

Paneer and some other young cheeses also have the same squeaky characteristic.

So, listen carefully next time you eat halloumi!

If this is your favorite cheese, you may wish to read my article on why halloumi tastes of salt.

Do you think the texture and sound of cheese can significantly affect your culinary experience?

Let us know in the comments below!

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