I am always getting asked how I make my own Labneh.
Seriously – nothing could be easier. It’s cheating, not cooking!
- 1 litre yoghurt (full fat yields a creamier texture of cheese, full fat Greek is my all time favourite)***
- Cheesecloth or muslin
- stainless steel or glass bowl
- String or very thick rubber band
- fine mesh sieve (You can do without this but it makes life easier)
***Avoid commercial yoghurt containing gelatine. Gelatine prevents the whey (liquid) from separating out and making the cheese.
I do make my own yoghurt as well, but you do not need to.
1. Pour yoghurt into a large bowl and stir just until smooth. Take the cheesecloth and fold into several layers of thickness. Place the cheesecloth in the strainer so that it is laying flat against the bottom with the ends up and over the sides.
2. Transfer the yoghurt into the cheesecloth, and then gather up the ends. You will end up with a “sack” containing the yoghurt. Tie the sack securely with string or wrap with the rubber band or just twist it up and peg it closed.
3. Hang the sack containing the yoghurt from a cabinet knob or handle and place the bowl underneath to catch the whey that will drain out. Let the yoghurt drain for 8 to 24 hours. The longer the yoghurt drains, the thicker the cheese will be. Overnight is preferable. Because I am in QLD, I always drain in the refrigerator. But you can drain it anywhere!
4. Remove the sack and open it up. You will see the cheese. You can use the whey that has drained out for cooking – we use ours in smoothies. Store the cheese in the refrigerator. It should keep for approximately one week but I have kept it much longer – if it lasts and doesn’t get eaten up :) One cup of yoghurt yields about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cheese.
6. Serve sprinkled with chopped basil leaves or drizzled with a little olive oil along with pita bread, black olives, stuffed grape leaves, tabouleh, or any of your favourite Middle Eastern foods. Try sprinkling on Zaatar. Or blending in creamy roasted garlic… or… roll into balls and preserve in flavoured olive oil.