How to Turn Greek Yogurt into Labneh, the Bright, Creamy Lebanese Cheese
Forget Philadelphia. Your new go-to cream cheese originated in Lebanon, and you make it yourself, starting with a container of plain Greek yogurt. With just a few minutes of prep and a day of "drain time," you'll be rewarded with a fresh, bright cheese that offers concentrated, tart flavor and silky creaminess.
All About Labneh
Labneh (pronounced LAHB-neh) is a classic favorite that's incredibly simple, is always popular, and goes with everything. Like a culinary version of the Little Black Dress, labneh, also known as Lebanese cream cheese, is endlessly versatile and easy to dress up or dress down, depending on your mood and the occasion. Want a protein-rich, on-the-go breakfast choice? Labneh. Searching for a party treat that knocks their socks off but doesn't bust your budget? Labneh. Yearning for the sort of hipster cred that allows you to offhandedly say, "Oh yeah, I'm a cheesemaker"? Guess what? Labneh.
How to Make Homemade Labneh
If you have a container of Greek yogurt in the fridge, you're just 24 hours away from having DIY labneh on the table. To make labneh couldn't be easier.
Get out a colander and bowl, some cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel, and stir into your Greek yogurt a bit of good-quality olive oil and a pinch or two of salt. Put the draining mixture in the fridge forget about it for a day, or even longer if you prefer a firmer texture. When you check on your creation, you'll have an tangy spread that can be used in a multitude of creative ways. That's it! You, my friend, are now free to call yourself a "cheesemaker."
A Few LAQs (Labneh-assistance-questions) to Get You Started:
Cheesecloth? What is it? I don't have it! Help!
Cheesecloth is a gauzy cotton cloth used to finely strain solids from liquids in cooking. In the case of labneh, you're literally separating the curds from the whey, just like Ms. Muffet.
Don't have any cheesecloth on hand?
Never fear. Simply line your sieve or colander with a kitchen towel, clean white t-shirt, or even a coffee filter.
It's gotten to the texture I want, but it's still a little...wet.
Pat finished labneh with a paper towel to remove excess liquid.
When can I get started?
How's now working for you? Here are a couple starter recipes:
- Labneh (Lebanese Cream Cheese) "This Lebanese version of cream cheese is a lot tastier and lower in calories," says the recipe submitter. "Serve on a plate, sprinkled with olive oil, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and mint. Or simply spread it like cream cheese on pita bread."
- Labneh with Fresh Mint and Dill "Creamy deliciousness! I used mint and basil...and loved it," says Buckwheat Queen.
Once you've made a successful batch, you'll be ready to begin incorporating labneh into all types of dishes. Try this Veggie Labneh made with roasted cauliflower, topped with fresh rosemary, and served on toasted flatbreads.