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Written by Administrator   
Friday, 15 August 2008 23:00

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Labneh has been a staple food for the people of the Levant (Near East) since 1000BC. It is essentially strained yogurt with part of the whey removed to give it a creamy cheese-like consistency. It is a great low calorie alternative to sour or cream cheese. Spread it on Arabic Bread (Pita) with a light sprinkle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (from Koura, Lebanon). It is very popular for breakfast in the Middle East.

  • Preparation time
1 1/2 hours from Whole Milk
5 minutes from Yogurt


  • Milk (Full Fat)
2 one-liter containers (or any amount)
  • Yogurt (live active culture)
7 oz. (200g) container
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
To taste
  • Sea Salt
1 tablespoon
  • Equipment

Directions - preparing yogurt (yoghurt) from milk:

  1. Heat the milk in a large pot, over a low fire, until it boils. Remove immediately from the fire and transfer to a clay or glass pot and cool until you can put your little finger (pinky finger) in the milk and count to ten. This indicates that the milk is now at the right temperature to receive the culture.
  2. Place 1/2 cup of the milk in a bowl, add 1/2 container of the yogurt culture (about 100g), stir, and add to the pot of milk stirring gently until completely dispersed.
  3. Cover the pot well, and wrap in a thick, heavy blanket. Leave for 6-8 hours in a warm place to let the bacteria do its work.
  4. Unwrap the pot containing the fresh yogurt and move to the refrigerator without stirring it. Keep the prepared yogurt refrigerated until ready to use.

To prepare the labneh:

  1. Place cotton cloth ,fine cheesecloth, or sheets of paper towels in a large strainer. Place the strainer in a large plastic bowl to hold the strained whey. Mix the yogurt with the salt and pour over the cloth.
  2. Transfer the bowl and strainer immediately to the refrigerator. Check the bowl every now and then and remove and discard the drained whey. The labneh will be ready in 10-12 hours.
  3. Transfer the labneh to a glass container with a lid and keep refrigerated until serving. Mix well before you serve.

Serving suggestions:

  1. Serve in a flat dish or small deep bowl. Garnish with a small amount of olive oil and serve with Arabic Bread (Pita).
  2. You can also mince one small clove of garlic and mix with labneh and serve the same as above with a drizzle of olive oil.

To prepare Tzatziki:

Add chopped fresh (or dried) mint and shredded cucumber to the garlic labneh above to obtain a tasty Tzatziki.

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 February 2009 04:41

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