When visiting the Good Food and Wine Show at the end of October, I discovered Labneh and fell in love immediately. Labneh is a strained yogurt cheese, very similar to cream cheese, but unlike cream cheese it is not processed and is full of good bacteria. Labneh is the most simple cheese to make and has a huge variety of uses. From spreading on toast to salads and desserts. Labnah makes the best cheesecake ever.
What I cannot stress enough is how important using a good quality Greek yogurt is! Check the ingredients and make sure it has no gelatine, thickeners or added preservatives in it and of course no sugar. I used Jalna Greek Yogurt but any good quality full fat Greek yogurt will work well.
How to Make Labneh
Start 24 hours before you need the labneh.
My 2kg tub of yoghurt made just over 1kg labneh and almost a litre of whey.
- 2kg Greek yoghurt
- ½ teaspoon good quality salt, I use pink Himalayan salt.
- Cheesecloth/muslin or large weave tea towel
- Kitchen string or ribbon or rubber band etc.
- Large sieve or colander
- Large bowl or saucepan
Place sieve or colander over a large bowl or saucepan and line it with cloth.
While the yogurt is still in its original tub, add the salt and give it a good stir through. Scoop yoghurt into the cloth-lined sieve. Gather the edges of the cloth and twist it to make a nice tight bundle and tie with kitchen string or something similar.
With the sieve resting over the bowl, place it in the fridge and let drain for around 24 hours. The longer the yoghurt drains, the thicker the labneh consistency will be; so if you don’t mind it a little softer, overnight will do.
Gently squeeze out the excess liquid and remove labneh from cloth. It should have the consistency of cream cheese. Use damp hands and roll into golf ball sized balls. Place into jars and fill with good quality olive oil. If you want you can also place herbs like rosemary or thyme in with the cheese. Your labneh will last up to 3 months in these jars and once you use the cheese, the oil can be used for salad dressing or cooking.
By the way, don’t throw out the “whey” (the watery liquid left over in the bowl below the sieve), this is fantastic to cook veggies in, add to smoothies, soups or stocks, or even just to drink. Whey is high in protein, good bacteria and is very good for you.
Labneh and Chickpea Salad
1 Tin of Chickpeas
1 – 2 Cloves of Garlic (depending on your tastes)
1 cup of fresh parsley
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme
Place garlic and herbs in a food processor and whizz up until they are a finely chopped, add labneh and give a quick blend to mix it all up.
Wash chickpeas and place them in a salad bowl, pour labneh mix over and give it a good stir.
And you’re all done, this is perfect with chicken breast cooked on the BBQ. Enjoy!