How to Make Labneh (Creamy Yogurt Cheese) and How to Use it2020-06-18
No one knows exactly when Labneh was first created but it has been eaten in the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Palestine…) for thousands of years.
Labneh is made from strained yogurt which is made from either cow or goat or sheep milk.
Greek yogurt is strained, but not as much as Labneh which is strained until it turns into a creamy and spreadable cheese, with no whey left at all!
Labneh is high in protein and calcium and is also considered a probiotic which improves gut health. It’s a healthy swap to normal cream cheese!
In Lebanon, Labneh is eaten in many ways and at any time of the day:
– topped with olive oil and scooped with bread,
– as a spread in a Lebanese flat bread sandwich,
– as a dip sprinkled with Zaatar and drizzled with olive oil,
– as a mezzeh dish made with diced tomatoes, mashed garlic, herbs…,
– with a drizzle of honey
– to make a cheesecake
– smeared on toast and topped with any veg or fruit…
- Full fat Greek style yogurt for shorter straining time; otherwise, use any other yogurt and strain it as long as it needs to become thick. Of course, you can use low or free fat yogurt if you prefer. It takes more or less 24h to get a thick & creamy labneh if you have used Greek style yogurt.
- Salt, to taste
Put the yogurt in a bowl and stir in salt, to your taste. Line a colander with a muslin or a cheesecloth, set it over a bowl then pour in the yogurt.
Leave the yogurt to strain in the fridge, covered with the cheesecloth. The longer you strain it, the thicker it will be.
When ready, put the labneh in a closed container, in the fridge, for up to 2 weeks. If you want to preserve it longer (few months) form it into small balls, place them in a jar, then cover them entirely with extra virgin olive oil. Keep the jar, tightly-closed, preferably in the fridge.