Labneh. A Love Story.

lapneh an dchopsticks

Anticipation. The labneh hangs.

Yes.

For those who have asked, the answer is yes. It is possible to fall in love with cheese.

Now, many of us avoid cheese. Sometimes, like love, it can break your heart. Its sheer creamy deliciousness has been known to make people weep. I *might* be one of them.

For many, the kinds made from cow’s milk wreak havoc on the digestive system. (Hm. So do some kinds of love, at times). So, for lots of reasons cheese and I have an on-again, off-again relationship.

Last week I had the honour of playing side kick out of food demo at our local farmers market with Chef Nathan Hyam.  You can read my blog about that here.

My part of the demo was to make a little labneh. We were serving blueberry wojapi on bannock and I was demonstrating an alternative for serving it sans bannock.  Labneh is a traditional middle eastern soft cheese typically made using goats milk yogurt.

Be still, my beating heart. Yours, too?

finished labneh

Lovely finish. Worth waiting for.

It couldn’t be easier. Simply take some yogurt – store bought or home-made, and place it into a strainer of some kind. Suspend it and let it drain for about 24 hours in the refrigerator. It will reduce in mass and become  a lovely creamy soft cheese, very similar to cream cheese. If you use Greek-style yogurt you will have a head start and have a perfectly lovely cheese after about 11 hours.

Like being in love, it is hard to keep your sticky fingers off the object of your affection. Leave the labneh alone and you will be richly rewarded on day two. Just like the Real Thing, it gets better with age.

I rigged up a little apparatus using cheesecloth, some chopsticks and one of my favourite pieces of pyrex. You can purchase a jelly straining rack at the local hardware store for about fifteen bucks. According to Chef Hyam, a fine mesh plastic strainer will also work, and some report success with coffee filters.

 

labneh demo

The labneh and me. Match made in cheese heaven.

There are many, many ways to eat labneh, savoury or sweet, and you can add ingredients as well. Right now I  have some hanging in the fridge laced with sundried tomatoes. I’ll be serving it up on crackers as a before dinner treat.

I was inspired by some of the ideas in this blog post by David Lebovitz (who just happens to be in Paris *sigh* ) and he recommends being very judicious about the additions. Keep in mind that you are after a smooth, creamy finished product.  101 Cookbooks also offered some tasty and inventive ideas.

My first foray in the world of food demonstrations was actually pretty sweet. One of the best outcomes was that cheese and I have finally kissed and made up.

And doesn’t that make the world go round?

 

 

Ready to risk your heart? Try making some labneh and let the Kitchen know how it goes.

 

To view a gallery of the food demonstration click here.

 

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About Vicki

I’m a coach and consultant and in my spare time I like to cook and play house. I believe happy idleness is a purposeful pathway to a contented life. And I am happiest either in my pajamas or an apron – or both.

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