Labneh: A Love Letter

Dear Labneh,

You have been good to me. You've filled my stomach on lazy days, you've kept me going on those darker days, you've been there when I've needed you. I still remember the first embrace when everything I ever needed to know was conveyed with that very first mouthful. You make my dreams come true.

I love you.

Greek style yoghurt
a pinch of salt
extra virgin olive oil
dried mint

Mix the salt with the yoghurt. Pour the yoghurt into a clean muslin cloth and hang it up somewhere safe to strain overnight. This process gets rid of the whey and thickens the yoghurt even further (so Greek style will produce even more beautifully thick labneh). It's even better if you can find space in your fridge to hang the cloth but it's not that detrimental to leave it at room temperature. Once no more water comes out of the yoghurt you should empty the contents of the cloth into a bowl. You can serve it without anything else but it's more traditionally served with a good helping of extra virgin olive oil and dried mint. Once you've tried your own home-made labneh you'll be in love too.


22 July 2009 at 00:17 Libby D. said...

That looks absolutely delicious.

I'm seriously liking your pictures, in this post and in others. I'm not much of a cook and I'm unlikely to ever have a go at making this but I'll keep coming back for the wicked pictures.

Good stuff.

22 July 2009 at 15:22 Phoo-D said...

This sounds great! Do you serve it on bread or crackers?

22 July 2009 at 18:27 M. A. Salha said...

Libby D - Thanks for the comment. My food photography is at an early stage but I'm getting better (I hope!).

Phoo-D - I'd serve it with really good bread but crackers could work too. I like to eat it with olives. I'm still thinking about that strawberry butter from your blog. Mmm.

24 July 2009 at 01:13 Anonymous said...

Sounds delicious! Do you think I could make it with regular yogurt? It's really hard to find greek yogurt around here...

25 July 2009 at 18:39 M. A. Salha said...

thecookieshopinenglish - Of course regular bio yoghurt would work too (my mum prefers the bio version). I just like the ultra-thick consistency that Greek yoghurt yields.

9 January 2010 at 14:17 Taste of Beirut said...

Very funny and great writing! I love labneh too! and so do my kids now!

7 March 2010 at 17:12 Jessie V said...

i'm on a labneh kick and so glad i found your site. the photos are incredible! we bought some labneh, but will be making it from now on - thank you!!

24 April 2010 at 02:06 Bobbie said...

What is it that makes Greek yogurt so special. I make my own yogurt and have attempted to make labneh, but it just doesn't taste right, not like the labneh I remember from Lebanon.

26 October 2010 at 18:06 Alwan said...

dont discard the whey! its rich in protein, enzymes, and vitamins.

@Bobbie---I think Greek yogurt is a better consistency. When I used regular yogurt, so much of it was wasted. The good thing about Greek yogurt is that its already strained, so you'll lose less yogurt, and gain a thicker, tangier cheese.

Its great on pita bread or bagel or toast.

You can roll lebneh into cheese balls and store in olive oil with zataar seasoning (can be found in Middle Eastern grocery)

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