Labneh is essentially a cheese made from straining yoghurt, resulting in a deliciously thick, creamy and tangy soft cheese. You can use it as you would any cream cheese, as the basis for tzatziki or spread it inside a pita or wrap.
The straining process is very easy and takes 12 – 48 hours. The longer you strain it, the thicker the cheese will become. Should you want a firm cheese to roll into balls you can strain it for the full 48 hours but I prefer to strain it for 24 hours. I also use a double cream full fat yoghurt. I am not too sure if a lower fat yoghurt will give you the same consistency in the same time.
It also makes the perfect addition to a meze platter as a dip for bread, pita or some sturdy crisps and I have added a few suggestions of how to turn the cheese into some very tasty dips or spreads.
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- 1kg double cream full fat plain yoghurt
- a big pinch of salt
- Line a wire mesh strainer with cheese or muslin cloth and place it over a bowl. Add the salt to the yoghurt, mix and place into the lined strainer, cover and leave in the fridge for 24 hours to drain. It is then ready to use.
1. Roughly chop a mix of fresh herbs like parsley, thyme and oregano. Sprinkle the herbs on top of the cheese and give it a gentle mix. Drizzle with some olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
2. Sprinkle the labneh with a generous helping of Pistachio Dukkah. Give it a gentle stir (don’t mix the dukkah into the cheese too much) and drizzle with some olive oil.
3. Make the tomato & chipotle relish from my Chicken Wraps and spoon over the labneh.
4. Slow cook some sliced onion with a clove or two of garlic. Once a dark golden brown and caramelised, let it cool down to room temperature and spoon on top of the labneh.
5. Drizzle some honey over the cheese and sprinkle with fresh pomegranate seeds. (Serve with shortbread for a fantastic dessert.)