LABneh: Strained Yoghurt

Labneh has become a little trendy recently as an ‘ethnic’ food. Really all it means is that people have figured out they can charge a premium for something that most Southern European, North African and Middle Eastern cultures have made for eons is actually very delicious and easy to make. Seriously, take yoghurt, mix in a little salt and strain.

Labneh or as it shall henceforth be known, LABneh (it was meant to be – clearly), has so many uses that I am just discovering, you could use it somewhat like cream cheese as a spread or a base for dips, otherwise use it instead of sour cream or even rolled into balls a bit like mozzarella. LABneh retains its tangy yoghurt flavour, but it becomes more interesting.

LABneh in pita bread

Makes about a third to half the quantity of yoghurt you use
Special equipment: muslin (source for a few dollars/metre from fabric shops

500g of yoghurt (for around 250g of labneh)
½tsp of salt per 500g yoghurt

Firstly some notes:
You can use any plain yoghurt: low fat, normal, Greek. Using lower fat yoghurt will yield a lower fat labneh, but you will lose more whey and get less volume of labneh.
The liquid that drains off is whey. This can be used in making bread instead of water, it makes bread with more complex flavours, a little sourdough-ish.
Muslin is cheap from fabric shops. Half a metre is plenty, which you should get for about $6/m. Fold your muslin to be 3 or 4 layers.

Mix the salt through the yoghurt.

The straining system – super simple

Make sure your equipment is very clean, I like to soak my muslin in boiling water for a few minutes. Set up your straining system: I place a small colander over a bowl and then place the muslin on top. Pour the yoghurt into the muslin.

Just pour the yoghurt into the straining system set-up, it feels like it’s just going to flow right through, but it doesn’t!

All wrapped up. You can see the whey in the bottom of the bowl.

Wrap the muslin around the yoghurt and then place a small weight on top to help the whey on its way. Rest the straining yoghurt in the fridge for 8 to 48 hours. The longer it is left the firmer the final labneh, overnight makes a perfect lunchtime sandwich spread consistency.

The strained yoghurt after 12 hours is now LABneh and it will easily come off the muslin.

I like to serve LABneh sprinkled with Za’atar or Dukkah and a drizzle of olive oil with fresh pita bread. You will greatly impress guests with your “fancy ethnic food” when they drop by for wine and cheese.

LABneh (front right) with za’atar (a sumac, thyme, salt and sesame seed spice blend)

This entry was posted in Dips, Frugal Foods, Healthy and Tasty, Snacks, Vegetarian and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to LABneh: Strained Yoghurt

  1. Pingback: Sumac and Asparagus Couscous, Yoghurt Sauce, and Apple and Fennel Salad | theLABkitchen

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