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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.
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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.
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- Strain a tub of yogurt through cheesecloth, or muslin, inside a sieve, catching the liquid in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Despite starting with very thick yogurt, a further 1 cup of liquid drained from the yogurt.
- Remove strained yogurt and store in a covered, glass bowl in the refrigerator.
I’ve never made Labna before, but it looks so easy, I’m going to have to give it a try!
Lisa, yes it is dead simple. You will love it. Thanks for your comment.
Laura | Wandercooks
Oh I just love it when something so delicious turns out so easy to make at home! Bonus points when it has such a variety of uses!
I know it couldn’t be any easier could it? Thanks for your comment.
I love this and am going to try it! It’s the perfect weekend cooking project! And only one ingredient. Wowza!
I know there are not too many 1 ingredient recipes are there? Thanks for your comment.
Vicky @ AvocadoPesto
I remember first trying labna when traveling in Turkey and loved it! Love this guide on how to mkae it at home!
That’s where we first came across it. I did enjoy labna, yogurt and aryan in Turkey. Good luck with making it.
This is right up my alley…. how long can you keep this cheese? Although its probably a mute point because cheese never lasts very long in our house!
It will last for about a week in the refrigerator. But as you say it is a moot point!
Peter @ Feed Your Soul Too
I love the homemade cheese. Such great flavors to be added to recipes through the labna.
And so simple to make. It is very common throughout the middle east and the eastern Mediterranean.
Sam | Ahead of Thyme
Wow what an interesting post! I never knew how to make cheese from yogurt, thank you!
Yes the texture of cheese but the taste of yogurt. Thanks for your comment.
Awesome! Such a cool thing to do Mark. Have to try this out
It was easy, as you can see. So chunky. Thanks for your comment.
Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
My bestie was asking me about this the other day so will send your post to him.
Glad to be of service. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for your comment.
Claudia | Gourmet Project
So Labna is my next favorite thing? Yes, it is 🙂
It’s good fun! Great taste.
I love labna, it’s such a simple recipe but so good. I like that you can make it thicker or thinner by changing the length of time you strain it for. I’ve not used it for tzatziki though, and I think I need to!
You are right about varying the time,to make it thinner or thicker. I love the richness of it. Thanks for your comment.