I take great pleasure in making labneh at home. Although the recipe might seem challenging, it is surprisingly straightforward. My venture into labneh-making started when I relocated to the US, where I couldn’t find it in regular grocery stores as in Israel. Nowadays, it has become a staple in our household fridge. Labneh with Garlic and Za’atar is our family favorite!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Rich and creamy texture
- Easy to make at home
How to Make Labneh with Garlic and Za’atar?
If you have yogurt and cheesecloth…you can make labneh.
Step 1: Selecting yogurt: High-quality yogurt is essential for making good labneh. Use plain, whole-milk yogurt for a rich and creamy result.
Step 2: Straining: To make labneh, the yogurt is strained to remove excess whey. This can be done by placing the yogurt in a cheesecloth and allowing it to drain for several hours or overnight. The longer it strains, the thicker the labneh will be.
Step 3: Serving: Labneh is often served as a dip or spread. It can be enjoyed with pita bread, crackers, or vegetables. Some people also use it as a base for wraps or sandwiches.
Choose the right yogurt: Labneh is made by straining yogurt to remove excess whey, resulting in a thicker consistency. To get the best results, use full-fat yogurt, as they have a higher fat content and will yield a creamier labneh.
Experiment with different straining times: The longer you strain the yogurt, the thicker and creamier the labneh will be. You can experiment with different straining times to achieve your desired consistency. For a spreadable labneh, strain for 12-24 hours, and for a firmer cheese-like texture, strain for 24-48 hours.
Labneh Vs. Tzatziki
Labneh and Tzatziki are popular Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dairy-based condiments, but they have distinct differences in ingredients, preparation, and flavor profiles.
Labneh is a strained yogurt cheese with a thicker consistency, whereas Tzatziki is a sauce/dip with a thinner consistency, often containing additional ingredients like cucumber and herbs for a more refreshing taste. Both are versatile and used in various dishes but serve different culinary purposes.
Try my Tzatziki Recipe
Once you’ve made labneh, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will be kept for about a week. You can also store it in olive oil, which will help preserve its freshness and add extra flavor.
If you’re straining yogurt at room temperature for a short period, such as a few hours to overnight, the risk of spoilage is minimal. The acidity of yogurt helps inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. However, if the room is exceptionally warm, it’s recommended to perform the straining process in the refrigerator.
Labneh provides a blank canvas for toppings. Try adding a drizzle of honey, pomegranate seeds, a sprinkle of za’atar or sumac, or some toasted nuts for added texture and flavor.
Labneh is versatile and can be enjoyed in many ways. Spread it on bread or crackers, use it as a dip for vegetables or pita chips, or incorporate it into recipes like salads, sandwiches, or wraps.
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Labneh with Garlic and Za’atar
- 1 lb (450g) yogurt High-quality yogurt is essential for making good labneh. Use plain, whole-milk yogurt for a rich and creamy result.
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- optional a pinch of salt
- Mix the yogurt with garlic and salt (optional). The easiest way is to mix it inside the yogurt container.
- Place the yogurt into the cheesecloth.
- Pick up the edges of the cloth and tie them at the top. Hang the bundle from a kitchen sink faucet or a standing mixer to drain overnight, allowing time to do the hard work for 12 to 24 hours. Position a bowl underneath to catch the draining liquid.
- In the morning, the whey strains out, leaving you with a very thick (and delicious) cheese.
- Store in the fridge in a closed container for up to 10 days.