Labneh is a smooth, creamy, feta-like cheese made from hung yoghurt. It’s delicious in salads, crumbled over roasted pumpkin or beetroot, or spread on toasted bread and topped with fresh figs and prosciutto. However, My favourite way to serve this lovely cheese is as part of a mezze platter, alongside smokey bread, marinated olives, tabouleh and hummus.
You will need to start the preparation for the labneh 3 days in advance.
To make the labneh:
- 1.5kg thick Greek yoghurt
- 2 tsp sea salt
- Square of muslin fabric and string
- Your favourite fresh herbs, picked (I used oregano, but thyme or rosemary also work well)
- Fresh or dried edible flowers (I used fresh wild fennel flowers and dried cornflowers)
- Ground sumac, chopped pistachios and nigella seeds (all optional)
- Olive oil
In a large bowl place yoghurt and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
Lay your piece of clean muslin fabric on your kitchen bench and spoon the yoghurt mixture into the centre. Pull together all four corners of the muslin to create a pouch for the yoghurt. Twist the top tightly and secure with string.
Suspend over a bowl in the refrigerator for 3 days, allowing all of the liquid to drip from the yoghurt.* Discard the liquid (whey) as is drains into the bowl.
After 3 days your cheese is ready to be eaten. To serve as part of a mezze, bring the cheese to room temperature so is becomes soft and spreadable. Spoon some labneh onto a plate, and with the back of your spoon spread it to the edges in smooth strokes.
Top with your favourite herbs, seeds, flowers, spices, nuts… Whatever your heart desires! Drizzle with olive oil an serve with hot flatbread.
Place remaining cheese into a sterilised jar and top with olive oil. It will keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator**.
* If you have racks in your refrigerator attach the string from the neck of the pouch and place a bowl underneath. In the case that you don’t have racks, tie the neck of the pouch to a wooden spoon, rest the spoon horizontally across the rim of the bowl, suspending the cheese above the base of the bowl so it’s not resting in any liquid.
** At this stage you can add flavourings to the oil, such as dried whole chilli, rosemary, whole garlic cloves, bay or oregano which will marinate the cheese.