Prep Time12 hrs
Labneh is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, especially among the Levantines. Labneh is one of those basic foods that is on the breakfast table every single day no matter what else is being served. Whether you are having mana2eesh, or foul or even eggs, a small plate of labneh drizzled with olive oil, is always there. You can find Labneh sold at any middle-eastern grocer in a small plastic container, similar to yogurt containers. I always have at least 1 if not 2 containers in my fridge at all times. They have a decent fridge life, about a month or so.
However, what most people do not realize is how simple and easily labneh can be made at home. You start with Whole milk plain yogurt, mix in a ½ teaspoon of salt and dump it into a cheese cloth or a thin kitchen towel and place in in a strainer. Overtime, all the whey will strain out and leave you a thick and creamy labneh! The longer the yogurt is left to strain, the thicker and tangier it will be. The first time I made it, I left it overnight for 12 hours. It came out so thick, tangy and delicious!
The next time I made it, I tried it after only 8 hours and it was not as thick or tangy but still very creamy and delicious. How long you want to strain it, is completely dependent upon your preference in taste. If you are into a sourer taste, then leave it 12-16 hours. However, I do not recommend leaving it more than 16 hours. What you will have if you leave it longer than that, is another form of labneh which is dried out completely and formed into small balls, kept in a jar with olive oil at room temperature.
How to serve Labneh
If you are not familiar with labneh, it is very similar to cream cheese in texture and creaminess but with a tangier taste. The very basic way to serve it, is spread in small plates with ridges (like how hummus is served) and drizzled with a good extra virgin olive oil. It is eaten with pita bread for breakfast but can be served with pita chips as an appetizer spread.
You can also sprinkle some za’atar on top. Another way I have seen labneh served, is to mix it with finely chopped cucumbers, green onions, olives, and tomatoes and then sprinkle zaatar and drizzle the olive oil.
Line a large colander with a cheese cloth or a very light kitchen towel.
Pour an entire 32oz container of plain yogurt into the lined colander.
Set aside on your counter or in the fridge.
Let strain for 8-16 hours, depending on your taste preference.
Once the labneh is ready, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- 1 32oz. Plain Whole Milk Yogurt (Container)
- ½ tsp. Salt
- Line a large colander with a cheese cloth or a very light kitchen towel. Pour an entire 32oz container of plain yogurt into the lined colander. Stir in ½ teaspoon of salt. Fold the sides of the towel in and completely cover the yogurt. Place the colander in a bowl to catch all the liquids. (Low-fat yogurt can be substituted)
- Set aside on your counter or in the fridge. Let strain for 8-16 hours, depending on your taste preference.
- Once the labneh is ready, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.