The Lebanese Labneh
Popular Beyond The Borders
Labneh and its Cheese Balls have become very popular worldwide. From whole-milk yogurt, we extract the Labneh that constitutes the base of a variation of calcium-rich and potassium-rich dishes.
In that, Lebanese cuisine has excelled in its creativity… once again!
Labneh: A Regional Culture
Labneh and its Cheese dishes are considered Levantine foods. They also exist in the Greek Cuisine, with slight variations. However, Labneh means the cream of the Laban لبن (Yogurt), which is the Phoenician adjective for “white” that derived in reference to the snow-capped mounts of Lebanon لبنان . So, yes, Labneh is very much Lebanese. 🙂
As for the name Lebanon, it means literally: Heart of God.
It is a composed name, originally written: Leb-A-Non,
which, in its Phoenician Semitic language, translates into:
Leb = Heart, A = of, and Non = God.
Labneh: A Traditional Delight
Labneh is the white creamy spread that all Lebanese children grow up eating in sandwiches, be it with olives or slices of cucumber. At least, my generation did. You may open any Lebanese household fridge at any time and find Labneh there stored. It is a traditional daily must.
This is how much we love that delicious and healthy food we create from Plain Whole-Milk Yogurt!
Labneh is very easy to make with some passive time of about 24h. This is the basic for most, if not all, other variations: Herb-Flavored Labneh Cheese Balls we call Labneh Pickles; Cheese Shanklish and its so popular salad, Labneh with Cucumber flavored with Garlic and Mint, and so on.
Therefore, today, I am giving you the Labneh Main Recipe, and the indications to several dishes you can make from this delicious milk cream.
LABNEH AND RELATED RECIPES
Herb-Flavored Labneh Cheese Balls: Labneh Kabiss
Garlic Flavored Labneh with Cucumber and Mint
Cucumber Labneh Mint Bites
Cheese Shanklish and its popular Salad
And this is how you can make the Labneh:
REQUIRES RESTING FOR AT LEAST 16h, OR OVERNIGHT
How to Make Lebanese Labneh
- 1 Calico Bag, or a thin cotton tea-towel
- 1 Sieve / Strainer
- 1 Bowl (large)
- 1 Kg Plain Yogurt
- 1 dash Salt
Place the thin towel on the strainer over the large bowl.
Season the yogurt with a dash of salt, stir well until very smooth, and pour it all on the toweled strainer.
Bring the edges of the towel together into a twist, and tie them up. Cover it all well with a cling film, and store in the fridge for all the liquid to drain out. Avoid moving it while resting.
For a soft creamy result, which is how the Labneh should be, leave it for about 16h or 1 day.
Check on it past the 16h to ensure the right consistency.
Remove into a container. Use a spatula for the Labneh that clings on the towel then cover to protect it from drying.
Using a Tupperware or similar is preferably.
Delicious when consumed with extra-virgin olive oil, fresh mint and/or olives.
NOTE: Do not throw the liquid that remains! It is very healthy, consumed as is, or as a face mask.