Labneh is a soft middle-eastern cheese, often called yoghurt cheese.
It is called this because, yep, you guessed it: it’s made from yoghurt.
This is the shit-easiest recipe you will ever use, I promise. And it is totally gourmet.
- Muslin or other fine cloth
- Mix 1 tsp of salt into the yoghurt
- Line a bowl with the fabric
- Put the yoghurt into the middle of the fabric
- Gather up the edges and secure it somehow – I used a hair-tie, a small rolling pin, and various implements in the house – and suspend the yoghurt over the bowl.
- If it’s hot weather, do this in the fridge. If it’s autumn or winter, leave it on your bench; it’ll be ok.
- Leave overnight.
- In the morning you will have a soft cottage-like cheese.
- If you strain it with a weight on top, you’ll get more of the whey out, resulting in a firmer cheese.
- Firmer labneh (which you can obtain by straining for another 5-6 hours, or with a weight on it) can be rolled into balls and stored covered in olive oil – it will keep for about a year if kept in the fridge!
- Eat labneh as a base for dips, as a soft cheese on its own, or use it for whatever else you’d use soft cheese
- It goes well with fresh herb flavours, like dill, or mint, or garlic, or pepper, or anything really
- If you use homemade yoghurt, the results are better, but in fact any yoghurt will do
- If you use discounted fruit yoghurt, you have the perfect, sweet, half-way-there-already fruity cheesecake base! (This was a tip given to me by Mr Jeffrey. I’ve yet to try it. But I will! What a brilliant idea!)
- It is the super cheap, frugal way to make soft cheeses that are often very expensive
- Save the drained whey and use it as:
- a buttermilk replacement (omg the scones!)
- cook it and turn it into ricotta
- use as the liquid in baking (or other recipes) to add nutritional value
And there you were thinking that these cheeses were difficult to make. Not difficult, it just takes a tiny little bit of effort to put things together.
Once you start, you won’t stop!
If you find a novel use for labneh, let me know! I love this shit.