Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Haloumi Bread

With such an excellent product as Island Pure's Haloumi I thought take the opportunity to make this Haloumi Bread from the latest Cuisine magazine.

From the outside it looks like a normal focaccia but there's a surprise in store - it's stuffed with a mix of herbs, haloumi pieces and lemon zest. The result is a bread you'll be coming back for more.

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Haloumi Bread
[Makes 2 small or 1 large loaf]

500 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons dried yeast
4 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons Greek-style yoghurt
¼ cup olive oil
about 400ml water

Filling:
¼ cup chopped parsley (I used basil)
2 teaspoon dried oregano (the Greek variety sold in batches is best)
1 lemon, zested
200 grams haloumi, cut into small 5mm pieces
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Make the dough:
Place the yeast with a pinch of sugar and 2 tablespoons of tepid water into a small bowl. Stir to dissolve and let sit until the mixture bubbles.

Put the flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix it briefly on a low speed to ensure the salt is evenly spread through the flour. Add the oil and yoghurt and mix again, then slowly pour in the water, giving it time to incorporate the flour.

As all flours have different absorption rates always view the water content as an approximation and as soon as the correct consistency is reached then stop adding water. You might even find you need to add extra water than the amount listed.

Increase the speed to medium and continue beating about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Turn out onto a floured board and give it a very bread knead - shaping it into a ball. Put it in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until doubled in size - about 1 to 1½ hours.

Make the filling:
Place all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix well - season it to taste with salt and pepper. Do take into consideration that haloumi generally is a salty cheese.

Make the bread:
Turn out the dough onto a floured board and give it a brief knead to reshape. There's enough dough to make 2 loaves - if you want to do that just divide the loaf into two. For this post I've made just one large loaf.

Flatten the dough to form a rectangle, the dough is really elastic so you should be able to do this without resorting to using a rolling pin. It's a good idea to do this on a sheet of baking paper as once it's risen you can place it straight in the oven.

Sprinkle the filling evenly down the centre of the rectangle.

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Then fold the sides over the filling to form a pillow shape, pinching the edges together to seal the bread. Now just using your hands shape the dough into a rough oval shape. For 2 loaves look to make about a 10x20cm (4x8 inch) shape. Rub the surface with a little olive oil and then cover with baking paper to let rise for about another hour.

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The picture above shows the bread before and after rising.

Remove the baking paper top and then using your fingertips dimple the dough. You need to be quite firm here to ensure you get a good final result.

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Bake at 200°C/390°F for 20-30 minutes or until golden and the base sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

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The lemon zest is really a most pleasant surprise in the bread and works so well with the cheese - besides fragrancing the bread it add such a great taste.

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15 comments:

  1. now THAT is fantastic bread! it looks gorgeous!!

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  2. It looks pretty darn tasty, but I'm curious about the texture of the haloumi - I'd assume that you need to eat this straight out of the oven or heated in a foccaccia press to make sure the cheese is soft?

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  3. Thanks Gerda - it is such a wonderfully tasty bread!

    Hi Ellie - we were happily munching on it when it was cold. The nature of haloumi is that it doesn't melt, it keeps it's shape. It's never going to be runny like say mozzarella. So really, it's your preference on how you serve it - you can warm pieces in the oven, or toast thick slices or just enjoy it as it is when you first make it.

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  4. Haalo, I bookmarked the exact same bread to bake sometimes! :D I love yoghurt base pizza from the Middle East. I also live haloumi, so I think I will love this bread, too!

    BTW, thanks for the great review on haloumi from Kangaro Island ! The one I normally bought is from a Greek Deli (I live among the Greek community), not sure where it is made.

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  5. Anh - you know what they say about great minds ;) The Greek or Cypriot Haloumi is really good but it's nice to try out our own local versions sometimes. The Kangaroo Island is probably a bit more expensive but it is less salty. I can see that even using "real haloumi" it will work in the bread because of the presence of lemon zest, that will just cut through that saltiness. Hope to see your version soon!

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  6. Haalo, I was going to write a comment on the cheese post when I saw this magnificent bread... :D

    I haven't seen Haloumi here, but I talked to a friend who lives in the UK - she loves Haloumi and she told me that there's one type of cheese here in Brazil that can be used instead with good results. It's called "coalho" cheese and it's salty and squeaky on the teeth just like Haloumi. I loved this info - I can bake this amazing bread now, yay!! :D

    About the pastel, if you're interested, I can translate the recipe for you, just let me know.

    I talked to another friend of mine yesterday and she was telling me she visited your blog and was amazed by it - so many beautiful and delicious recipes!
    She told me she is going to try your cherry risotto.
    Sorry for the long comment but I wanted to tell you that. ;D

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  7. I've not tried the bread as I very rarely bake at home, but we get loads of haloumi here in London in Turkish and Cypriot corner shops. As a cooking cheese I sometimes use it as a substitute for mozarella. It's very similar in cooking characteristics and much cheaper. In Britain we have a cheese called Red Leicester, which when grated together with mozarella or haloumi makes the perfect topping for baked potatoes, etc.

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  8. Love you Idea of adding Lemon Zest along with cheese....it really must have given it a wonderful taste and aroma...nice pictures too.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Nidhi

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  9. Thanks Patricia - the coalho cheese sounds like it will make a great substitute, can't wait to see your bread! Thanks also to your friend for visiting and her kind works - I look forward to seeing how the cherry risotto turns out for her.

    Hi Trig - here mozzarella is cheaper than haloumi and when heated, mozzarella goes all runny. Provolone tends to hold it's shape better but still nowhere near the way haloumi does or kefalotiri.

    Thanks Nidhi - the lemon has a great affinity to cheese such as haloumi and certainly gave the bread a most delightful aroma

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  10. Brilliant Haalo. Hallomi is my very favorite cheese.

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  11. Are the 2 TBL water you mixed with the yeast in addition to the 400ml?

    Thanks

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  12. Hi Anon - the 2 tablespoons are taken from the 400mls but as all flour is different you may find yourself needing to use more (or less) then the 400mls listed - it's really just a rough guide.

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  13. Hi, This is my first time to your blog and i really liked your blog's title. I loved it :-) Where did you get the idea for this title from?
    I am in the middle of making a facaccia bread for the first time, and i was searching about it and landed on your blog. The bread looks very good!
    Hope mine turns good too..
    Any idea on how to store this bread, if your arent using it right away, mine is only with some herbs and lil Olive oil.

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  14. Hi Mona - home made bread goes stale a lot quicker than commercial bread so it's best eaten on the day or toasted on the following days. When it's really hard, make breadcrumbs with it.

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