Labneh~ A Homemade Yogurt Cheese with Sumac & Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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by Sara on October 19, 2010

Laban ~ Homemade yogurt is an essential part of the Middle Eastern diet. Home-made yogurt is preferably a favorite over the commercial store brands. Home-made yogurt seems to taste sweeter and fresher. There are just few ingredients like milk and yogurt. Many families have a “starter” yogurt that lasts for years, sometimes even generations.

Taste Lebanon and Monthly Mingle - A great way for food lovers & bloggers  to come together and learn about each other through there cuisines & cultures.

I’m posting this recipe in honor of one of the world’s tastiest cuisines, the delightful cuisine of Lebanon. Lebanese cuisine is known for its abundance use of fresh fruits & vegetables, delicious cheeses, famous meat dishes Kibbeh & Shish Taouk. Lebanese cuisine is known for its Mezze-  is a selection of tasty small dishes served for appetizers. Typical Mezze dishes are Labneh, Hummus, Tabouleh, Babaghanoush, Fried Cauliflower just to name a few. I hope to visit the beautiful and vibrant country of Lebanon one day and experience it’s delightful cuisine first hand.

Labneh is a fresh Middle Eastern yogurt cheese made from cow’s milk. Labneh, a word derived from the word laban which means white or milk.

Labneh is a delicious strained yogurt cheese, is yogurt which has been strained in a cloth or cheese cloth made of muslin, to remove the whey, giving a consistency between that of yogurt and cheese, while preserving yogurt’s distinctive sour taste.

Strained yogurt is a traditional food in the Middle East and South Asia, where it is often used in cooking, as it is high enough in fat not to curdle at higher temperatures. It is used in both cooked and raw, savory and sweet dishes.

In Lebanon & Syria, people eat this fresh cheese on a daily basis. Labneh can be eaten plain or you can add many different flavors to it like dried mint, sumac, olives, parsely & extra virgin olive oil. It is also used in salads like a yogurt terragon & cucumber salad. Labneh is also used in soups, which gives soup a creamy tangy taste.

Labneh makes a great appetizer, serve it with Pita bread, crackers or on spread it on a crostini bread drizzled with good extra virgin olive oil. Not to mention its healthy and nutritious!

Recipe adapted from one of my favorite Books~ Greg Malouf’s , SAHA

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Miriam/The Winter Guest October 19, 2010 at 7:24 am

This sounds divine, great photos…

Cherine October 19, 2010 at 7:55 am

Your labneh looks excellent! Great job!

Faith October 19, 2010 at 2:24 pm

When Mike first moved here I had to make him lebneh like this because we couldn’t find a very good variety that was sold in the Middle Eastern stores here. Now we’ve found a brand that’s pretty good, but he still prefers the homemade variety. Yours looks really delicious with sumac sprinkled on top, I’ll have to try that!

Sara October 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Thank you Miriam!

Sara October 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Thanks Cherine!

Sara October 19, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Thanks Faith! Which brand do you guys buy?!

Sue October 19, 2010 at 7:58 pm

You’ve made my favorite food. I eat labneh for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it accompanies so many of my meals. I always LOVE your presentation. :)

Lani October 19, 2010 at 8:05 pm

I still have to finish the one that is store bought…I am sure this homemade one is so much better. This stuff is addictive and very filling! Lovely photos as usual!

Nadia October 19, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I loveeee labneh, I eat it all the time! Yummyyy…beautifullll pics :D

Lora @cakeduchess October 19, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Sara this labneh looks so good. It is one of my addictions. Can you come over and make me some please?:)

Sara October 20, 2010 at 2:39 am

Sure Lora! I will deliver it to you in FL! :)

Sara October 20, 2010 at 2:39 am

Thanks Nadia! :)

Sara October 20, 2010 at 2:40 am

Thanks Sue! xo

sanjeeta kk October 20, 2010 at 9:09 am

The Labneh looks delicious and comforting. Beautiful clicks. Nice to be here, best wishes.

marla October 20, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I am a great fan of extra strained Greek yogurt. I buy my favorite ones & then strain them again through a cheesecloth. I have never tried Labneh but it sounds wonderful. Love how diversly it can be used. xo

Soma October 20, 2010 at 8:58 pm

This is beautiful! I cannot have enough of the sumac. My hubby is pinching the sumac between fingers and having it as snack these days:-)

I love this with a slice of fresh baked bread.

Beautiful pictures Sara. We do a dessert with the hung yogurt in India. it is called the Srikhand.. saffron, cardamom and sugar.

Bridgett October 21, 2010 at 3:51 am

You are so creative, Sara. I would never think to make my own yogurt but I can just imagine how much better it would be than the store bought kinds. Your photos make everything all the more appetizing.

Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) October 21, 2010 at 9:44 am

Hi Sara! This looks lovely and you still have 24 hrs to submit it for the Monthly mingle. Just make the updates necessary on your blog- basically mention the mingle etc… and then send me the deets based on the form on my website. looking forward to your entry :)

meeta October 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Sara i love love love labneh. i remember i used to eat the stuff right out of the container when we were in doha! great stuff! thanks for joining us at the mingle!

Sara October 22, 2010 at 2:22 am

Thank you Lovely Ladies… Meeta, Bethany, Bridgett, Soma,Marla & Sanjeeta!

Tiffany October 23, 2010 at 2:43 am

That is one of the most beautiful posts I have ever seen or read! I can’t wait to try!

Jamie October 23, 2010 at 12:49 pm

What a fantastic recipe and beautiful pictures to tempt as usual. I have never seen yogurt served this way but I can just about taste it. You have the most amazing recipes.

Sara October 23, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Thanks Jamie!

Kulsum at JourneyKitchen October 24, 2010 at 8:45 am

Hey Sara,

I seem to have missed this post of yours. I Love Labneh. Living here I have an access to fresh, good quality Labneh but when I was in India, studying I would always make mom make it for me. My favorite way of eating is mixing it Tahini and spread it on pita with slices of fresh ripe tomatoes and cucumber.Your pictures are absolutely stunning and let me say it again I’m so envious of all your kitchenware. You seem to have a great collection!

Sara October 24, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Thanks Kulsum! I’m CRAZY about kitchen & tableware! :) I love Lebanese food too! :)

Eliana November 1, 2010 at 8:01 pm

This looks incredibly sophisticated and of course, delicious.

Sandra November 11, 2010 at 6:12 pm

What a gorgeous presentation!
Great pics Sara
Bye from Turin, Italy!

eclectic gourmet November 16, 2010 at 7:28 pm

I took the easy way out, and bought labneh from Whole Foods….it was quite tasty! I grilled some pita w/ sea salt and drizzled olive oil, and then sprinkled Moroccan salt and sumac as you suggested. yummmers.
btw your logo is really nice!
keep up the fantastic work WTG OTG (way to go, one tribe gourmet)!

Sara November 16, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Thanks for your support EG, you are a wonderful friend!!! xo

Mover Packer October 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Homemade yogurt is an essential part of the Middle Eastern diet. Home-made yogurt is preferably a favorite over the commercial store brands. Home-made yogurt seems to taste sweeter and fresher. There are just few ingredients like milk and yogurt.

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