Do you know and love labne yet? If you adore your fresh made Yomee Greek yogurt, and which you must if you’re reading our yogurt blog, labne should be a part of your yogurt repertoire. A traditional Lebanese food (and found in other middle eastern cuisines), labne is simply a very fresh cheese made by straining fresh yogurt a little longer than the process for making Greek-style yogurt, for a resulting soft cheese that’s as firm and thick as a dense ricotta or mascarpone-style cream cheese. Once strained the labne is usually enjoyed as a dip garnished with olive oil, herbs, or spice blends such as za’atar.
You will find many ways to enjoy thick and delicious homemade labne: think of it as a tangier and more wholesome cream cheese. We love it on everything, including bagels!
2 cups of homemade yogurt made by Yomee
The basic idea is to securely scoop yogurt into material that is both firm enough to prevent the yogurt solids from sliding out but porous enough to allow the whey (tangy yogurt liquids) to drain away. A large triple layer square of cheesecloth or flour-sack style tea towel is commonly used, but a clean, soft, thin t-shirt or pillowcase can also used if needed!
Arrange the cloth over a small bowl and spoon the yogurt into the center. Gather up the ends of the cloth and twist into a firm bundle, then secure the yogurt bundle with a rubber band or twine. The bundle should be just tight enough to gently compress the yogurt and you’ll see the whey dripping out immediately. From here you will want to suspend the yogurt over a mixing bowl to catch (and avoid touching) the dripping whey and store in the fridge overnight. The easiest way is often just resting the yogurt in a mesh strainer propped on top of the bowl, but you can also get creative and secure the yogurt bundle with a chopstick propped on top of the whey catching container. We recommend you try a few methods and see what works best for you.
The next morning you should have waiting for you a firm, rich and thick parcel of fresh made yogurt cheese! You can discard the whey, or even use it as a marinade or even a quick probiotic loaded shot. Store the finished labne a tightly sealed container in the fridge and use within two weeks.
Labne can be used just like cream cheese as a spread or try it in baked goods as well.