Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Yogurt Cheese

I have heard of people making cheese from yogurt but I never thought of trying it. The official name is Labneh and it is a traditional Lebanese soft cheese.  After making the mascarpone, go ahead say it to yourself I will wait...MASK-ARE-PONE-AY, I decided that I wanted to try other cheeses too.  Yogurt cheese is very much like cream cheese, but not really.  Cream cheese is made with cow's milk and rennet while yogurt cheese is made from, well, yogurt.  There is no cooking, heating or mixing involved.  Just a strainer, some cheese cloth and time. 

You see most dairy products are full of water.  When the water is removed cheese is very often the result.  So by allowing the water to drain off the yogurt the end result is a smooth, dense creamy cheese that is a bit tangier than the traditional cream cheese that most Americans are used to but can be used in the same way. 

If you want a traditional way to serve it, pat it into a round with a dip in the center.  Pour olive oil all over it with fresh mint and eat with pitas and olives.  Or add herbs, fruit etc. and eat it on a bagel, on bread in a wrap....the options are endless!

Yogurt Cheese (Lebneh)

24 oz. plain Yogurt-preferably all natural with no gelatin added
1 tsp salt
Cheese Cloth

Line a strainer with cheese cloth, about 4-5 layers depending on the weave, or you can use a linen kitchen towel.  Add the yogurt and bring the ends up securing them with a rubber band.  Place in the strainer over a bowl and leave for 12-24 hours depending on the consistency you want and how much water is in the yogurt. 
I had to put a weight on mine to get the excess water out.  Don't be jealous of my fancy equipment, if you don't have an old corning ware dish and a cantaloupe to weigh your cheese down, just use whatever you have a around to get that last bit of moisture out.

Remove from the cheese cloth, cover and refrigerate up to seven days.  Use like you would traditional cream cheese.
Total Cost $2.23 for about 15 ounces
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  1. New rule: I get to come over and taste EVERYTHING you make. I like that rule!

  2. I like that rule too...we don't see each other enough and the new rule would make that happen :) I have a great recipe I'm going to bring to the next book club, I'll post it later in the week.