After my first taste of Labna (or Labneh) at the Food and Wine show, I had a quick google to figure out what it actually is. Turns out it is actually one of the simplest cheeses that you can make, so I decided to try my hand in making it at home.
Labna is really just strained yoghurt, but can be used in place of cream cheese for a bit of a different flavour and as a healthy option.
So, as promised, here is a little demonstration of how I made Labna…
Starting with a tub of greek yoghurt
Add salt flakes (around 1tsp per L of yoghurt)
Prepare strainer and line with cheesecloth (I used 4 layers)
Pour yoghurt into cheesecloth and bundle up
Hang up to drain the whey (I formed a contraption using a wooden spoon, rubber bands and the deepest container that we own – which happens to be a cereal container).
Leave it hanging in the fridge for ~24 hours, then unwrap
I formed it into balls and added spices and olive oil to preserve. I used fennel seeds (as they were what was added to the one we tasted), but there are a huge range of possibilities to try.
Sorry, not the prettiest pics (why didn’t I move that damn remote??) but it was messy work!
If I did it again, I would use less yoghurt or break it up into two batches, as the centre still held a lot of moisture and wouldn’t roll into balls. I ended up using it for a delicious tzatziki instead (just grated a cucumber into it and added pepper and lemon juice).
I used my labna for the first time with breakfast, smearing it on some fresh sourdough with avocado and sliced tomato, seasoned with sea salt and cracked pepper.
Delicious! There is something so satisfying about making things that you have never made before!
Photos from: my camera