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Homemade Labneh

Labneh-1

I’m a sucker for instant gratification – or at least big rewards for minimum effort – but mostly that feeling like I’ve actually accomplished something that didn’t take any time at all, like when you write “revise to-do list” on your to-do list, so that you can cross it off immediately.

Labneh – or yogurt cheese – is thick, creamy and pricey if you buy it in the store – but really all it is is good plain yogurt, strained until enough whey runs off to give it a consistency somewhere between Greek yogurt and mascarpone. Leave it to strain even longer and it will get firm enough to roll into a log, or wee balls. Some people store marbles of labneh in a glass jar with fresh herbs and citrus strips, covered with olive oil. I kind of like it spreadable – you can even sweeten it, with a bit of maple syrup or honey.

Monogram Toast 2

If you go to Monogram Coffee in Altadore (conveniently located by the dog park), they spread it thickly on good toast, then smatter it with toasted hazelnuts and drizzle the whole thing with nice honey. Which is totally a thing you could do at home. (I just wish I could do the lattes as well.)

Monogram Toast 1

You don’t need a recipe here – all you need is some good, plain yogurt (not the kind with gelatin added to stabilize it), a sieve and a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Place the sieve over a bowl, line it with the cheesecloth or coffee filter, and spoon in as much yogurt as you want to strain. (Expect it to reduce by about a third.) The resulting whey still has plenty of good things in it, including protein – use it in bread dough, pancake or muffin batter or add it to a smoothie.

Labneh-2

So that’s it – let it sit until it’s as thick as you want it to be, then cover and refrigerate. Use it to spread on toast (and top with the aforementioned toasted nuts and honey, or a nice thick jam), spoon into a shallow dish and sprinkle with salt, good herbs or za’atar and olive oil to drag fresh pita through, or if it’s thick enough, roll it into marble-sized balls, then roll them in good dried herbs, seeds, or marinate them in good olive oil with a bit of orange zest, pinch of red chili flakes and a sprig of rosemary.

labneh

Let me tell you, when life feels like an out of control carnival ride and your to-do list seems to self propogate, a batch of homemade labneh in the fridge makes it at least seem like you’re somewhat on the ball.

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8 comments on “Homemade Labneh

  1. Moira
    February 24, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I love a good non-recipe recipe :) I might just have to try it this weekend. To get your spreadable version, how long did you end up leaving it strain for?

    • Julie
      February 28, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      It get to the point of being spreadable in a couple hours, but you can leave it for up to 24 hours – even longer – if you want it thick enough to shape!

  2. Kelsey
    February 24, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Need to try this!

  3. Carol S-B
    February 24, 2016 at 10:55 am

    “When life seems like an out- of- control carnival ride…” Hah, you sure know how to word, Julie.
    I’m loving the non- recipe recipes. (Don’t get me wrong; I also love the recipe recipes!)

  4. Trudi S
    February 24, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    This looks wonderful! So going to try this!

  5. Anne from Pintesting
    February 27, 2016 at 9:41 am

    That sounds delicious! I’ve always wanted to try yogurt cheese and have a couple of questions. How long does the process usually take? Do you strain it at room temperature or in the refrigerator? I can’t wait to try this!

    • Julie
      February 28, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      Whichever you like! and you can strain it for a couple hours or up to 24 – the longer it sits, the thicker it gets!

  6. Kathy
    February 27, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Sounds easier than the home made ricotta I was contemplating making, but with the same consistency , I expect.

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