You must have noticed this strange occurrence and wondered, why does halloumi split in the middle?
Is it manufactured especially for it to do that?
Does it happen during the packaging of the cheese or as it’s being made?
Perhaps it starts to split the longer it is kept.
And, is there a way to stop halloumi splitting?
Let’s try and resolve the mystery, shall we?
A block of halloumi cheese may appear split in the middle, especially when sliced, but it is not actually split. This is a natural result of the way halloumi cheese is made. The cheese is folded during the cheesemaking process, giving the illusion of a split. This folding occurs after draining the cheese from whey and before it is placed in the brine solution.
What Causes Halloumi to Split?
You can’t have failed to notice this when you open a packet of halloumi cheese.
It looks as though it’s split straight through the middle.
And as you start to slice it, the split becomes even more obvious.
In fact, the individual slices might actually come apart into two separate pieces.
So, what causes this?
Surprisingly, the halloumi hasn’t split at all.
It is what happens during the cheesemaking process that makes it appear this way.
After the halloumi has been drained from the whey, it is actually stretched and folded over itself.
This gives the illusion of a split in the middle.
Before folding, it may be sprinkled with a little extra salt or some dried herbs such as mint or oregano.
The halloumi is then folded and placed in a brine solution, which both ages it and preserves it.
Originally, halloumi was made in a circular shape and then folded to create a semi-circle, typically weighing between seven and 10 ounces.
But now, we see the more familiar block shape adopted by commercial manufacturers.
So, it definitely has nothing to do with the way the halloumi is packaged or stored.
How to Stop Halloumi Splitting?
So, having established that the halloumi is deliberately folded, is there a way to stop it from splitting?
Well, no, not really is, unfortunately, the short answer!
It has been suggested that if you slice the block of halloumi from its narrowest side, this may help.
But realistically, the method of folding means that the split runs all the way through it anyway.
Make sure you are using a very sharp knife that slices cleanly through the cheese.
Of course, you could purposely cut the halloumi along the split and simply have thinner slices!
If you plan on putting the halloumi on skewers, use round ones, not ones with a flat edge.
That will help to stop the cheese from breaking apart.
Or grill the halloumi separately and just use the skewers for the vegetables.
Halloumi has the appearance of a split down the middle of the block.
However, the halloumi has not split, it has been folded during the cheesemaking process.
When the cheese has been drained from the whey, it is folded and then stored in brine.
It is difficult to stop the halloumi from splitting.
You can try using a sharp knife and slicing it from the narrowest side of the block.
At the end of the day, does it really matter whether the halloumi splits or not?
It still tastes delicious!
Having resolved the problem of split cheese, have you ever wondered if you can eat cooked halloumi when it’s cold?