Make your own labneh

Labneh is an extremely easy and delicious cheese dish which can be made right in your very own kitchen. If you haven’t eaten or tried to make labneh before, you are in for a very pleasant surprise.

It’s a popular middle eastern dish, made by straining yoghurt to remove the whey, leaving behind a versatile ingredient with the consistency of cream cheese and the tang of yoghurt.  This recipe is very easy to follow and the end result tastes delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1kg of natural plain full-fat yoghurt
  • A pinch of salt

Method

  1. Place a large sieve over a large bowl. Line the sieve with two or three layers of cheesecloth. If you do not own cheesecloth you can also use a clean cotton tea towel.
  2. Add a pinch of salt to the yoghurt and stir until smooth.
  3. Pour mixture into the lined sieve. Gather the edges of the cloth together, twist and tie securely with string. Leave to rest in the sieve.
  4. Place a heavy object on top of the tied-up bag (for example a plate). Cover the top of the bowl and sieve with cling film, then place in the fridge.
  5. The longer you leave the mixture in the fridge the thicker the labneh well be. Eight to 14 hours will result in a soft-strained labneh (24- 48 hours will result in a cream-cheese-like consistency and 48-72 hours will result in a firm yoghurt cheese). If you are wanting to make yoghurt cheese, roll the firm mixture into balls, coat with your choice of herbs and spices and store the product in a jar of olive oil. Some options include: coriander, cumin seeds, citrus zest, dried chilli, fresh herbs, vanilla paste, and dried fruits.
  6. Store your labneh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Soft labneh is best served on toast with a drizzle of honey or delicious homemade jam. Labneh is also great in sandwiches, wraps, on top of baked eggs, roast vegetables and meats. Mix labneh with avocado, dukkah and olive oil and scoop up with fresh soft pita bread.