Labneh, an Easy Yoghurt Cheese for Summer Platters

Labneh - yoghurt cheese copyright Lucy Hoffman 2012

Lucy Hoffman:

Spring is definitely here and my palette has already changed. I’m hankering after salads, reaching for light zesty wines and thinking summer platters.  Sipping a light white late afternoon definitely requires snacks and I aim for something creamy, something crunchy, something salty.

A platter based around Labneh Yoghurt cheese is perfect. Add in some pita chips, olives and a few veges and this is perfect summer snacking.

It’s also pretty easy, something a little different and best of all cost effective.

Labneh - yoghurt cheese copyright Lucy Hoffman 2012

Labneh is a Middle Eastern yoghurt cheese. Making it is simple, actually ‘making’ is a bit of an overstatement really it’s assemble, although you need at least 24 hours head start.

It’s amazing what happens to yoghurt when it is seasoned and strained. It becomes thick and super creamy, with a hint of lemony zing.

Labneh - yoghurt cheese copyright Lucy Hoffman 2012

I’ve been delighted at how people have enjoyed it swizzled with good olive oil and a sprinkle of pepper or paprika. I’ve rolled little balls in finely chopped parsley and chives, although any fresh green herbs would be good. I hear its also good rolled in dukkha.

I used Cyclops Organic Full Fresh and Creamy yoghurt. The key is full-fat natural. You’ll also need cheesecloth to drain it, but I’ve also used a new chux cloth, or in my picture I used a nifty draining bag, from Kitchencraft. You could also use a couple of handy towels in a strainer. Don’t worry it won’t stick and you can halve this recipe very easily.

Labneh draining - yoghurt cheese copyright Lucy Hoffman 2012

The ‘recipe’
2 x 450g containers of full-fat plain yoghurt
1 small teaspoon of fine sea salt
A large square of cheesecloth, chux, nifty draining bag or some such loose weave fabric.
A piece of string

Give your cloth a rinse if it is brand new, but as this is going to be eaten fresh you don’t need to worry too much about sterilising everything.

Mix the salt into the yoghurt.  Lay the cheesecloth in a bowl and carefully spoon the yoghurt mix into the bowl. Pull the edges of the cloth together, tie securely with string.

Hang the bundle over a bowl or the sink and leave for 12-24 hours until the yoghurt is thick and spreadable or longer if you want it firmer so that you can roll it into balls. I left mine out overnight on the bench, but you could also do this in the fridge.

Serve with platter of vegetables, pitta chips, and olives.

Lucy from www.lifeandcheese.com

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7 thoughts on “Labneh, an Easy Yoghurt Cheese for Summer Platters

  1. Just a note: I successfully make labneh using Cyclops natural 1% fat yoghurt and I don’t add any salt. I’m sure the full-fat version is even better, but it means labneh isn’t impossible for those of us forced to watch our calorie and salt intakes! The low-fat version is very sharp and tangy (a plus for me).

  2. I have never heard of Labneh, but it sounds very interesting and I always like to try new food experiences. As I have a week’s autumn break here in Budapest I may give it a try. Thank you for sharing it with me.