We always make this quick and simple cheese on our Festive Smoking and Curing Courses. It is a Steve Lamb classic.
Labneh is a strained yoghurt cheese with a compact, spreadable texture and a slightly sour yoghurt flavour. All that is required for this recipe is yoghurt and salt – the agent that causes the whey to drain off – a small amount of cheesecloth or muslin and a little bit of patience. It is a particular festive favourite as it goes so well with bagels and home cured, cold smoked trout on Christmas morning.
300ml plain or Greek style yoghurt (doesn’t need to be full fat)
Gerenous pinch of salt
Place the muslin or cheesecloth over a sieve and then put it over a bowl.
Stir the salt into the pot of yoghurt. Make sure that you give it a good mix.
Pour the yoghurt into the muslin lined sieve, the whey will begin to leak out almost immediately. We sometimes tie the yoghurt cloth on the tap over the kitchen sink with the bowl underneath. Every once in a while give the tied cloth a little squeeze to accelerate the draining of the whey, but this isn’t really necessary. The whey will drain if you just leave it in the sieve without tying it and this means it can be left in the fridge without decommissioning the sink.
Allow the yoghurt to drain overnight. When you open the fridge, you’ll see that there is a lovely ball of creamy white cheese inside. You can eat it immediately or be kept in the fridge for a week in a sealed container where it will continue to lose whey and thicken up more.
Don’t throw the whey away…. it is similar to buttermilk and we like to use it to make soda bread.