I’m not sure why I haven’t made this Middle Eastern yogurt/cream cheese before – it’s very easy and tastes wonderful. When we were in London last week we bought some labneh and ate it with felafel from a Palestinian market stall. I came home determined to try making it and surprised at how simple it was.
I used two small pots of Greek-style yogurt (300 grams in all) and mixed in two teaspoons of sea salt. Then I drained it for 24 hours. Now, I know you’re supposed to use a muslin cloth, and that’s what I used to use when I made cream cheese years ago, but I didn’t have one handy so I used an unworn, sterilised, leg of a pair of tights – the perfect size and shape for this! I hung it in the kitchen with a bowl underneath to catch the whey. In warmer weather I might have to find a way to hang it in the fridge, but at this time of year it isn’t too warm in our kitchen. Once it had stopped dripping, a lovely creamy ball of cheese was ready to use:
This made 10 walnut-sized balls, some of which I rolled in Baharat five-spice mix. Other mixes of spices and/or herbs would work well too, or you could mix herbs or spices into the labneh. There seem to be so many ways of using it, I’ll be making it again and again, with sweet and savoury flavourings.
I think at this stage the balls of labneh could be put into a jar, covered with olive oil and stored for a few days in the fridge. These ones didn’t last long enough – we ate them for supper with toasted whole-grain bread, fried aubergine, grated carrot and tahini mixed with date syrup.