Create the simple Middle Eastern cheese and then flavor with fun spices to create a unique appetizer.
By Rebecca Thexton
Labneh is a Middle Eastern cheese made from strained yoghurt. It’s a simple as straining the yoghurt it in the fridge for up to 72 hours. The whey is effectively strained away. It’s easily customizable, I added a dukkah, an herb blend, coating to some and marinated the rest in olive oil and herbs.
The yoghurt can strain for a minimum of 4-5 hours which will achieve a creamy type spread, or up to 72 hours in which the labneh is very thick, dense, virtually dry and has a slightly sour taste. I strained mine for about 50 hours and it was perfect.
It’s an impressive party nibble and is damn delicious on toast, crackers, a falafel salad, sandwiches and so on. Next time you want to create something slightly different that you can add your own flavour-spin to, give labneh a chance.
- 1 kg (2.2 pounds) greek style yoghurt
- 1 small garlic clove, minced finely
- 1 tea spoon salt
- 1 cheese cloth, muslin, clean tea towel or 2 chux wipes
- some string + wooden spoon
- dukkah for rolling
- fresh finely chopped rosemary
- olive oil
- Mix the minced garlic clove and salt into the yoghurt.
- Scrape the yoghurt into the tea towel/muslin/cloth.
- Tie the 4 corners together to form a hanging bag.
- Twist the cloth firmly and tie with string (pictured in post).
- Hang the ball from a wooden spoon and hang over a deep set bowl or strainer ensuring the ball doesn't touch the bottom.
- Allow it to drain for 4 hours to 72 in the fridge.
- Once desired consistency is achieved, cut tie and open cloth.
- With oiled hands, pinch coin sized pieces of labneh and gently roll into a ball.
- Coat in herbs/spices or marinade in olive oil. Labneh can hold in olive oil for up to 4 weeks in he fridge.
For a consistency of cream cheese/philadelphia strain for 24-48 hours.
I strained mine for 50-52 hours and they were firm enough to roll into spreadable balls.
For sweet labneh, no garlic but stick to same process. Drizzle with honey and a little pinch of cinnamon.