Here’s an incredibly versatile basic recipe for you! Labneh is a thick and creamy strained yogurt that is frequently used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes. Think cream cheese, but lighter and fluffier.
Since I still can’t find this in the grocery stores around me, I decided to make from scratch. It’s so easy to do that I probably even wouldn’t buy it if and when it does make it to stores here. You can use cows’ milk or goats’ milk yogurt…whatever suits your fancy! Just make sure it is high-quality full-fat plain (unflavored) and NOT Greek yogurt. If Greek yogurt is strained, think of labneh as super-strained.
You’ll stir in a little salt, place the yogurt in cheesecloth and set in a strainer over another large bowl. Gravity will go to work and in about 24 hours you will be left with a deliciously creamy yogurt cheese that you can use in so many different ways. Serve with olive oil and seasonings (think hummus) and some flatbread for dipping or spreading. Serve with eggs for breakfast or spread on a sandwich. Use in place of cream cheese in recipes. You can leave the labneh to strain longer and you will get a drier result that you can roll into balls and marinate in olive oil and any spices you like.
I’m going to share my new favorite way to eat it with you later in the week!
A thick and creamy strained yogurt that is frequently used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes. Think cream cheese, but lighter and fluffier!
- 24 ounces plain whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Place a strainer or colander over a mixing bowl large enough for it to rest in, but with enough space to drain. Line the strainer with 2 to 3 layers of dampened cheesecloth, leaving some overhang. Mix the yogurt and salt together and pour into the prepared strainer. Place a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the yogurt. Gather the overhang of cheesecloth together and twist to apply some pressure to the yogurt and close the top. Let strain for at least 8 hours to form a thickened yogurt. The longer you leave the yogurt to drain, the thicker it will become: 8-16 hours will produce a thickened but soft labneh, 24 to 48 hours will produce a thick, spreadable labneh (think cream cheese), and 48 to 72 hours will give you a firm, slightly crumbly yogurt cheese (think goat cheese). Once the labneh reaches your desired consistency, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Stir the mixture together before using.