Labneh, Yoghurt Cheese or Yoghurt Balls
1 litre plain unsweetened yoghurt or homemade yoghurt
Makes about 6-8 balls
Drain yoghurt in a muslin or curd bag for a day over a bowl.
The yoghurt will get more concentrated, and the curd will separate from the whey, which will drip into the bowl (in wintertime I do this on our bench in the kitchen, but on hot summer days I let it drip covered in the fridge). When the curd is solid enough, roll it into balls.
You can put the balls in olive oil infused with garlic and red pepper, or roll them in fresh chopped herbs like parsley, mint and thyme. The balls stay soft, and will spread out beautifully on crackers or fresh baguette.
1 litre yogurt gives about 550 grams of Labneh
For extra flavouring you can add a teaspoon of salt and chopped garlic to the yoghurt before putting it in the curd bag.
Serve directly as a spread or accompaniment, or cover with plain extra virgin olive oil.
Or you can leave the yoghurt balls plain, but infuse the oil with spices and fresh herbs.
Or roll them in fresh, finely chopped herbs with added salt, black pepper and lemon zest!
Leave to marinate for at least 24 hours so the flavours infuse.
Seal the jar and store at room temperature in winter or in the fridge in summer.
What to do with the leftover whey?
The whey is still very nourishing and you can use the whey in baking to replace buttermilk or to replace the liquid in the recipe. In Mediterranean countries they drink the whey with some extra yoghurt added, as well as a little salt and chopped fresh mint.
You also can use the whey for making cultured fermented foods. (The next fermentation workshop is on Saturday 18th October)
Usually we use the whey from quark making, as this is made at room temperature. Yoghurt is made at a higher temperature (45 ºC) and has a different kind of culture (Acidophilus Bifidus) but the culture will adjust, and still definitely help in making those health-bringing cultured vegetables.
When we have too much whey to use ourselves we give it to our dog and chickens. I usually make the yoghurt without adding any salt, so it is no concern for the dog’s health!