I think just about everyone has heard of labne (or labneh), that lusciously thick strained yoghurt that originated in the eastern Mediterranean. Traditionally a little salt is added to the yoghurt before hanging, but to be honest, I don’t think it needs it.
If the labne is going to be used for a savoury dish you can still add the salt later and if you use it for something more dessert-like, you can do the same with sugar. Many recipes you see call for the use of muslin as a straining device, but you know what? You really don’t need it if you have a fine mesh sieve in the kitchen. You get exactly the same result. Greek yoghurt varies from tub to tub so just try to find a brand that’s not on the overly sour-side.
Labne has many uses. Simply spread it on bread and top it with sliced cucumber, drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Or roll it into balls and then toss into chopped herbs or spices. Combining it with sugar or honey with cinnamon transforms it into a breakfast condiment or dropping it onto a baked egg dish takes your brekkie to another level. So versatile!
Recipes where I’ve used labne –
makes 1 1/3 cups
Take an 18 cm (or bigger) fine mesh sieve and place it over a bowl that is deeper than it. Put the yoghurt into the sieve, cover with plactic wrap if you wish and place into the fridge for at least 48 hours. The result is a nice and thick labne, ready to use wherever you wish. Store in a covered container in the fridge.
You can discard the whey (the liquid that drains from the yoghurt) or keep it to use elsewhere. It’s perfect to use when soaking pulses as it aids in breaking down glutens and other difficult to break down proteins. Also, it’s good for the skin as it (apparently) helps with blemishes and zits.