I’ve always wanted to make my own cheese, but it always seemed like such a weird thing to do. The market sells cheese, my local Target sells cheese, and the farmer’s market sells cheese; why should I spend the time I actually have to make it myself? Then I came across a recipe for labneh, which is a cheese made from strained yogurt, which only requires mixing yogurt with salt, and then straining it in cheesecloth for at least twenty-four hours. Even I have the time to do that, what is it, a whole two minutes? After the cheese has strained, you roll it into small balls, and then cover it with an infused olive oil. When you’re ready to eat the labneh, you just smear a ball onto a piece of bread, and then drizzle it with some of the olive oil. It’s very tangy from the yogurt, and the richness of the olive oil makes it feel a whole lot worse for you than it actually is. This first round was just an experiment, but I’m looking forward to making this many more times, and playing around with the herbs and spices.
Can someone please tell me why my sweet little angel of a cat Brenna always wants to play when I’ve got my hands in butter or olive oil? It never works out for either of us. She ends up pissed because I won’t play with her and goes on the attack, which usually results in oily fur from me trying to defend myself, or I end up having to wash my hands to cater to her every need.
- 1 (35.3-oz.) Container 2% Greek Yogurt
- 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dry Basil
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dry Oregano
- 1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 10 Whole Garlic Cloves
- Combine yogurt with 1 teaspoon of sea salt in a medium sized bowl.
- Place a large strainer inside of a large bowl, cover with cheese cloth, place the yogurt mixture inside of the cheese cloth, and then tie the cheesecloth closed with a piece of string.
- Place the yogurt mixture into the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, dumping out the strained liquid a few times throughout that time period.
- In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons of sea salt, with the black pepper, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, and 1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil.
- Coat your hands with olive oil, and then roll the yogurt cheese into 1 to 1 1/2-inch balls.
- Place 3 to 4 balls of cheese into a mason jar, add a teaspoon of olive oil and spice mixture, and one clove of garlic. Continue to layer the cheese, olive oil, and garlic until the jar is almost full. Pour additional olive oil on top of the ingredients, until it completely covers the cheese.
- Use any size jars that you have handy in your kitchen; I used one medium size jar and two smaller jars.
- Allow the labneh to marinate for at least a few days before using.
- Spread on fresh rustic bread to serve.
- Don’t toss the leftover olive oil. Use it to dip day-old bread in, or as a marinade for grilled chicken.
- I added a lot of salt to my labneh, because I love salty cheese. If you want to decrease the amount of salt, consider replacing it with additional herbs.
- Layer olives in with the cheese, garlic, and spice mixture.
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: Labneh by Outside the Cereal Box
ORIGINALLY POSTED 05/28/2014
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