Labneh is essentially yoghurt which has been strained to remove its whey, resulting in a thick consistency, while preserving the yogurt’s distinctive, sour taste. There’s a few different stages you can take a labneh, from a softer more dip-like consistency to a rather firm, spreadable consistency – both are delicious and can be used in so many ways.
Normally, I fork out a small fortune to buy labneh from my local delicatessen…thinking it was being expertly crafted and surely not something I could make at home for myself. Well, until now. In fact, labneh is so easy to make I will never buy it again.
All you need is cheesecloth (available from good kitchen stores) and some good quality Greek yoghurt – and the better quality the yoghurt, the better tasting the labneh (also use full fat). The only real point to considered when making labneh is the time it will take you.
As a general rule of thumb:
- 8-12 hours = soft, smooth and tangy spread, which you can use as a dip
- 24-36 hours = a thicker, firmer labneh, with the consistency of cream cheese (great to spread onto flat bread with falafel and salad for an wonderful mid-week meal)
- 48-72 hours = it will transform into yoghurt cheese, which can be rolled into small balls and stored in olive oil to be served as part of a cheese platter or on an antipasto type spread (I did this to half of my mixture and flavoured the oil with garlic and dried chilli)
1kg Greek natural yoghurt (full fat)
Small handful pistachios, roughly chopped
1 Tbs flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp sumac
1/4 garlic clove, finely grated
2 Tsp olive oil
- Place a large sieve over a large bowl (the sieve mustn’t come into contact with the bottom of the bowl) and line with a layer of cheesecloth
- Pour the yoghurt into the prepared sieve. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth together and tie securely with string
- Leave the bowl in the fridge and allow the whey to drip out of the yoghurt. The longer you leave it to drain, the thicker the labneh will become (see above guide)
- When ready to serve, stir through garlic and then sprinkle over lemon zest, olive oil, sumac, pistachios, parsley and a little salt. Serve with fresh vegetables and toasted pita breads
- Store your labneh in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week, or if you make yours into the harder balls stored in olive oil, they can last for up to a month
*Tip – you may also like to top with finely grated garlic, chopped fresh chives and olive oil