How to Make Homemade Labneh (Kefir Cheese)

Labneh. Pronounced Leb-Na. It's the Middle Eastern version of cream cheese. Except it's way less fattening and it has all the beneficial probiotics of kefir cheese or yogurt. It's basically yogurt without the whey (the liquid separated from yogurt). Ok whew. Now that that's out of the way let's get to it!

This is what you need:

Ok. Now you're good to go. You're about to make cheese! This is so easy you won't even believe it.

First stir some salt into your yogurt. You can add other spices you like too. This is the basic traditional recipe that can be altered to be sweeter or more flavorful. I'm already thinking of different labneh flavors to make...

Line your strainer with cheesecloth. Pour in the yogurt. Tie up the yogurt in the cheesecloth. You should immediately see the whey dripping down into the bowl. If you don't then you probably have too many layers of cheesecloth, I used four.

Let it sit for at least 18 hours. The longer it sits, the firmer it gets ;) . I took mine out after one day.

 

Stir the labneh and get it all swirly.

Yum. If you like greek yogurt you will love this. Plus, it's really good for you.

Traditionally, it is prepared with a drizzle of olive oil:

Then add Za'atar (a mixture of dried thyme and sesame seeds found in Middle Eastern markets or online)

Scoop this dip up with warm pita bread, or anything else you might like. Enjoy!

 

RECIPE

Ingredients:

1 package of plain yogurt
a pinch of salt
cheesecloth or coffee filter
strainer
bowl

Directions:

Stir a pinch of salt into your yogurt.

Place the strainer in a bowl and line the strainer with cheesecloth (I used 4 layers).

Pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined strainer or coffee filter.

Tie the yogurt up in the cheesecloth (or coffee filter).

The whey (liquid) should begin to drop down into the bowl.

Place the whole thing (bowl, strainer and yogurt) in the fridge to drain for at least 18 hours.

Check after 18 hours and stop draining when desired consistency is reached.

The longer you drain it, the firmer it will be.

To enjoy it the traditional way, place a small amount in a bowl, drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle on some za'atar (a dried thyme and sesame seed mixture found in Middle Eastern markets) and enjoy with warm pita bread.

Sahtain! (Enjoy!)