Labneh, also known as strained yoghurt, yoghurt cheese, lebni, labni or Greek yoghurt, is a kind of yoghurt which is made by straining it in a cloth. It has the consistency of freshly prepared cheesecake. A dish of the Middle Eastern origin, it is a popular breakfast food and regarded as one of the best alternatives to sour or cream cheese. It is often made from milk, and other ingredients are added to enrich the preparation. Preparing the dish at home is not a cumbersome task and does not take very long.
Origin of Labneh
The origin of Greek yoghurt has been traced back to the regions of Levant, East Mediterranean, Middle Eastern areas and South Asia where the dish was traditionally strained through muslin and was extensively used in various dishes. Over the years, the dish spread to other parts of the world and its low-fat and refined versions started popping up. Today, strained yoghurt has become one of the largest consumed foods in the world and in the US and Western Europe, various Labneh versions have come up to make an industry worth Billions of Dollars.
Labneh Recipe- Ingredients
Basic ingredients in the preparation of the dish are plain yoghurt and salt. After the yoghurt has been made, there are various toppings and garnishings that are used, based on where it is being served and consumed and as per people's preferences.
Labneh Recipe- Preparation
As mentioned earlier, preparation of Greek yoghurt is very simple and uncomplicated. Yoghurt and salt are whisked and mixed together and put in a large cloth. The cloth is tied into a pouch which is then hung in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. As soon as the required consistency is achieved, Labneh is ready to be consumed. It can be topped or garnished with herbs, sauces, oil or any other food which tastes good.
Serving and Eating Greek Yoghurt
The yoghurt is served at room temperature, and as long as the consistency is right it can be served in any way and with just about anything. In the Middle East, the strained cheese is formed into a desired shape on a plate and a slight depression in the middle holds the olive oil. It can also be drowned in oil, sprinkled with spearmint which has been pulverized or surrounded with Greek black olives.
In Greece, this dish is prepared using the standard recipe and served as an ingredient in some savory dishes, as a base for the tzatziki dip and as a dessert in which case honey, sour cheery syrup, cream or sweets are used as toppings for the Labneh.