Do you enjoy yogurt? Do you know the health benefits associated with it? If so, then you will love labna cheese.
Labna cheese, or labna, so common around the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, is simply strained yogurt. The result is a thicker, creamier and more powerful yogurt, almost the texture of cheese, which has a myriad of uses. It can be a healthy substitute for anything you might use cream cheese.
All you need is muslin (or cheese cloth), some thick yogurt to start with, such as Greek-style or Turkish-style, and 12 hours overnight in the refrigerator.
It might be difficult to find labna at the grocery depending on where you live. Luckily it couldn’t be easier to make labna at home.
Yogurt, Labna Cheese, Kefir and Aryan
There is such a heritage associated with yogurt, centered on countries like Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece. When preparing our post for yogurt soup, I discovered that all 3 countries claimed yogurt as their own invention!
In addition, all of these countries also consume labna, kefir and aryan. These are all yogurt-based products or drinks with great health benefits. You can read more about that here.
Labna has many uses. It can be used in batters and provides an airy consistency you just can’t achieve with yogurt or milk. This means you can eliminate yeast and still achieve an airy consistency.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Greek Tzatziki (actually a Cypriot version called talattouri). It is thicker and not as runny as tzatziki.
- Greek style donuts with honey and crushed walnuts. The labna precludes the need for yeast.
- Add labna cheese to oven roasted vegetables. Perfect with a selection of Mediterranean vegetables- eggplant, tomatoes, fennel and zucchini and a few suggestions. Just adds a bit of tangy texture as it softens (almost like a goat cheese).
- Serve as part of a cheese platter.
- Any recipe where you want a consistency thicker than yogurt, but the same great taste.
When you store a half-used tub of labna, there will be no “standing liquid” as happens with yogurt. The bottom line is it’s creamier and you don’t need as much volume compared to yogurt.