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:
Oh, and these too:
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.
Place this whole contraption above ^ into the fridge and let it sit for at least 18 hours. The longer it sits, the firmer it gets 😉 . I took mine out after one day.
It was about two cups of whey.
This is the yogurt before straining:
This is after straining:
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!