Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I love making this cheese, it's easy, quick and so yummy. It's middle eastern in origin and traditionally served drizzled with olive oil and dried mint or zaatar and smeared onto toasted pita bread. It can also be used in place of philly cheese or cottage cheese on crackers or as part of a dip. Another way to serve it is rolled into small balls and covered with herbs. Great as part of a tapas plate.
Labneh is made from natural yoghurt, which has been drained through a cloth so all of the whey drains out. From each cup of yoghurt you will get about 1/2 cup of cheese. Try to get yoghurt with no gelatine, as this stops the whey separating from the cheese.
Cheesecloth or muslin (a clean tea towel will do)
Put a couple of pinches of salt in the yoghurt. Place the cheesecloth over a strainer or colander and empty the yoghurt into it. Gather up the edges of the cloth and tie with string or rubber band. It's best if you can suspend it so the whey drains out freely. Leave overnight or longer for a firmer cheese.
When it has finished draining, the cheese can be rolled into one large ball with a dimple in the middle to hold some good olive oil and sprinkled with fresh or dried herbs, or you can roll into small single serve balls, cover with olive and keep in the fridge.
The whey can be used for cooking in cakes, pancakes, biscuits etc. Try experimenting with different herbs and spices, garlic and other flavourings. Sweet things also work well - dried fruit, nuts and syrups.
Next post will be about making your own fresh yoghurt - it's so easy and much cheaper than buying it from the shop.