Labneh

Labneh (cream cheese) recipe (1)

Produced in just a few hours from only two ingredients – yoghurt and salt – it’s easy to see why Labneh is becoming increasingly popular among food bloggers and writers alike. For those of you not in “the know”, labneh is a fresh soft cheese (also known as strained yoghurt) traditionally eaten in the Middle East. Though it is used in some cooked dishes, labneh works best as a dip or meze with a delicious topping of herbs and olive oil.

As its secondary name suggests, the process of making labneh involves straining the whey out of the yoghurt. This removal of the sweet whey intensifies the yoghurt-flavour, making for a rather tangy cheese. Of course, it is delicious served with only a little good-quality olive oil, but it really comes into its own with a little imagination.

Labneh (cream cheese) recipe (3)

By the way, if you thought spreading a thick layer of shop-bought cream cheese on your bagel in the morning was delicious, just you wait until you try this recipe. Breakfast will never be quite the same again.

Labneh

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

• 500g natural yoghurt

• ½ tsp salt

Method:

1. With the yoghurt still in its pot mix in the salt. Line a sieve with a large square of muslin and tip or spoon the yoghurt into the centre of the cloth. Fold over the corners and stand a jam jar, or similar, on top. Set over a bowl and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

2. Remove the labneh from the muslin. At this point you can stir in whatever herbs/spices you like, or leave plain to be spread on bread, dipped or topped with other ingredients.

Labneh (cream cheese) recipe (2) Labneh (cream cheese) recipe (4)

Cost: It doesn’t take an in-depth financial audit to realise that the cost of making Labneh entirely depends on your choice of yoghurt (unless you’re using some seriously expensive salt). Cows’ yoghurt tends to be a little cheaper than goats’ or sheep yoghurt. However, the flavour you get from the milk of our smaller ruminant friends could potentially help your Labneh stand out and give it a more authentic taste. In this case, the cost really is up to you!

 

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56 comments on “Labneh

  1. Rosie Schwartz
    December 13, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    I love labneh with olive oil and za’atar – the best!!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      Absolutely delicious – I have a recipe that uses it soon :D

  2. Brie
    December 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    I LOVE labneh – I grew up with my mother straining big batches of yogurt all the time in our house. She’s Lebanese, so that’s like you said, a staple our stomachs. Thank you for sharing this simple, but so delicious recipes with the world!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      sounds like a good household :D. My pleasure!

  3. Arthur in the Garden!
    December 13, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Love it! I am familar with it in Middle eastern resturants.

  4. mawarre
    December 13, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    I have wanted to make labneh for years – don’t know why I never have. I have also seen recipes with the labneh in small balls, marinated in olive oil, but I like the simplicity of your approach. I’m off to buy some muslin! margaret

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      Yes, I’ve seen that – I believe it’s for preservation.

  5. glutenfreezen
    December 13, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    I used to make this all the time when I could still eat dairy. Delicious! I could probably do the same thing with goat or sheep’s milk yogurt…thank for the reminder! What a gorgeous photograph.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      It’s incredible with Goats and sheep milk – you should give it a go!

  6. Chica Andaluza
    December 14, 2013 at 9:16 am

    It’s been a while since I made this – time to get out the cheesecloth! Gorgeous shots…

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Thanks, Tanya – I hope you make some and enjoy it :D.

  7. Corina
    December 14, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    I love the idea of making this. I’m always excited when I come across something that is a little different that I’ve never thought of making before but actually would be so easy.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      I get excited too – I just want to make!

  8. Raphaelle
    December 14, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Beautiful! Just feel like making a big bowl of it right now ;)

  9. Eva Taylor
    December 14, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    I have been making what we call ‘yogurt cheese’ for years! In fact, I make it so often I have purchased a reusable coffee filter so that I need not use paper filters or cheese cloth to strain. You need a dedicated reusable coffee filter otherwise your yogurt make take on coffee flavour. I have used ‘yogurt cheese’ as a replacement for cream cheese in cheese cakes, dips and soup thickeners! I love your simple dip and how it’s presented on that beautiful board, is it olive wood?

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      That’s a good idea – yes, never mix coffee and another use (same goes for spice grinders). Thanks for the tip. I believe the wood is olive, yes :D. I adore it.

  10. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen
    December 14, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Well, this recipe couldn’t be easier to remember as well with only two ingredients that we almost always have on hand! I’d love to try this one, I think it would indeed give bagels a new twist!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      Exactly – it really is perfect on bagels… Great to hear from your Barb’!

  11. Liz @ Economies of Kale
    December 16, 2013 at 2:05 am

    Yum, I can’t believe I haven’t tried this before :)

  12. Karen
    December 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    It is so tasty and involves so little work.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      Exactly – really simple and utterly delicious!

  13. Susan
    December 16, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Had something similar, I think, in Turkey. Served on a plain ceramic plate with a dollop of local hone. It was to die for. This looks very doable. Thanks!

    • Susan
      December 16, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      sorry, that was ‘honey’.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      That sounds amazing – good honey is fantastic!

  14. Francesca
    December 16, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    this is one of my all-time favorite, any-time snack. Simple things are the best!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 17, 2013 at 10:21 am

      They are indeed, I’m glad you agree. Simplicity it wonderful.

  15. Pauline
    December 16, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Wow, thank you so much for this recipe. Will make this over the weekend.:)

  16. petitedecadence
    December 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    yay for labneh! It’s one of my favorite foods in the whole world! (I eat some at leat three times per week….it goes well on everything!)

    • frugalfeeding
      December 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      That is a lot of labneh, but it really is a wonderful thing!

  17. Conor Bofin
    December 17, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Really simple dish. Pure, simple photography. A triumph Nick.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 18, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      Thank you very much, Conor – see my email :D

      • Conor Bofin
        December 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm

        Got that. Looking forward to the outcome…

        • Admin
          December 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm

          Me too, very much! Gotta get my thinking cap on…

  18. Kim Bultman
    December 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Your simple, stunning photos are the perfect illustration of this simple, stunning dish. Perfection!

    • Kim Bultman
      December 18, 2013 at 9:52 am

      Smiling… I see that Conor Bofin expressed the same sentiment earlier. Wasn’t copying. ;) That was just my immediate reaction to your photos, thoughts, and recipe, too!

      • frugalfeeding
        December 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm

        Haha – it’s fine, more than one person can give me the same compliment :D. Thank you very much.

  19. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    December 18, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    I’ve never heard of Labneh before, but I certainly want to try it!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 19, 2013 at 9:10 am

      You should – it’s seriously simple and delicious!

  20. barangapa
    December 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    This may sound like a silly question but what comes out of the muslin cloth into the bowl?

  21. Viviane
    December 29, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    I grew up eating Labneh! I am really pleased to see such a staple in the Lebanese food arsenal get so much good hype. Though humble, Labneh is a very versatile food, we bake it on dough with cooked ground meat to make some sort of calzone, or even eat it with flat bread with an array of vegetables.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 2, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      I think it’s fantastic. Thanks for the suggestions, I can’t wait to make it again!

  22. Tonette Joyce
    January 1, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    MMmmmmmmm! Wonderful! And I hope your New Year is wonderful, too!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 2, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      Thank you – I’m sure it will be. Have a great 2014!

  23. saffy
    January 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    How long could the labneh be stored?

    • frugalfeeding
      January 5, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      It lasted us about 4 days. It’s hard to tell with dairy products. I think no more than 4 days to be sure. But you can always taste it just to make sure…

  24. asuph
    August 11, 2014 at 5:59 am

    Tried this with fresh parsley and garlic shoots. Heavenly. Thanks for posting this.

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