I first properly discovered labneh at Jose Andres’s Eastern Mediterranean restaurant, Zaytinya, in DC. It’s simply strained yoghurt but it’s silky smooth and luxuriously thick.
It’s so easy to make labneh at home with just some muslin, a bowl, and a sieve. I followed the suggestions in this post by Noha from Matters of the Belly for the method and timings. It’s really as simple as adding a pinch of salt to some natural yoghurt (don’t use low fat because it might not give you the right result), strain for however long you need to get the consistency you’re looking for, and voila! You’ve made labneh!
I left mine for about 24 hours in the fridge and the result was a deliciously thick, cream-cheese consistency which is how I’ve eaten labneh in restaurants. Pour over some olive oil and sprinkle with za’atar for a perfect dip for crisps or toasted pitta bread. It keeps for a few days in the fridge once made, but to be honest I rarely have any leftovers!
Noha’s recipe mentions that you can leave it longer and get it to the consistency of goats cheese such that you can roll it into balls and preserve it in herbs and oil. I did leave some to strain for quite a bit longer but didn’t feel like it was going to get much thicker. I might try that again sometime, but for now I’m more than happy with my thick creamy labneh!
It’s too easy not to try so here’s the recipe link again: http://www.mattersofthebelly.com/homemade-labneh/