Saturday, February 16, 2008

How To Make Yogurt Cheese (Labna)

Labna is a unique Turkish dish that takes a couple of days to complete. It is considered a staple of the Turkish diet. It is otherwise known as yogurt cheese. You can eat it immediately when it is finished but you will get a much better flavor if you let it sit for a few days. The consistency is similar to cream cheese and the taste is slightly sour. As the cheese ages there will be some oil separation around it. It is recommended that you keep the oil and use it to prepare other foods. You can also use it to dip bread in or to make salad dressings with. This recipe is courtesy of Menu Shoppe.

Yield: Makes one batch. It can be broken into several servings or eaten all at once.

Ingredients To Prepare Labna Yogurt Cheese:

1 tablespoon of sea salt
Juice and rind of one lemon, freshly squeezed. You can substitute bottled lemon juice if fresh is not available. However, substituting can affect the taste of the dish.
1/4 cup plus 1/8 cups of extra virgin olive oil.
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, chopped.
4 tablespoons of mint, fresh and chopped.
4 and ½ pounds of Greek yogurt. This can usually be purchased in the dairy section of a grocery store. It can also be made from scratch at home. For this recipe it recommended to buy ready-made Greek yogurt to make preparation easier.

Instructions For Preparing Labna Yogurt Cheese:

1. Mix everything together and stir all ingredients well.
2. Line a large bowl with muslin cloth first. Then pour the mixture of ingredients into the large bowl.
3. Make a bag out of the muslin by tying it together at the ends.
4. Find a place in your kitchen to safely hang the muslin bag. Place a bowl or other container underneath it because it will drip as it hangs there. Make sure that it is secure and will not fall or there will be a large mess to deal with. If you have a hanging basket you may want to consider using that and placing your bowl inside it.
5. Leave it hanging in the kitchen for 48 hours.
6. When the 48 hours have passed, take down the hanging muslin bag.
7. Open up the bag and drain any excess oil into a small bowl or container.
8. Roll the labna cheese into spoon-sized balls.
9. Put cheese balls in a glass jar and cover with extra virgin olive oil.
10. Refrigerate for a few days.
11. Enjoy the yogurt cheese

According to Menu Shoppe, this labna yogurt cheese would be great to serve to your family or friends or in a restaurant. It is simple to make, keeps well, and tastes great too. It is low in carbohydrates and full of healthy fats and protein to help keep your hunger satisfied. Serve with pita bread or bread sticks dipped in olive oil. You can also serve it topped with cucumber, tomato, mint, and olives.

By Ryan Holman