We absolutely love labne in our household … I make it every time I make yoghurt which is about every 10 days, and sometimes I make it even more so when we are entertaining as it has so many sweet and savoury applications.
Labne is basically “strained yoghurt” … the best yoghurt to use is plain full fat yoghurt, and if you decide to use “Greek” yoghurt then you have already started the process of “straining” as Greek yoghurt is in fact plain full fat yoghurt that has been strained for a couple of hours (sometimes more) to remove whey and make it thick.
With labne the general straining time is usually 24 hours, but if you wish to strain it for up to 48 hours you will get a very solid labne that you can season with salt and pepper and/or other spices, then roll into balls and coat in herbs or nuts and place directly onto a cheese platter (perfect for entertaining!).
When making your own yoghurt the obvious thought is to then make labne using some of that yoghurt. I used to do this but over time I decided to buy a 1 litre container of full fat yoghurt where I use some for making my labne and some for making my yoghurt which is perfect for me (see my post here on making yoghurt).
Labne can be used for sweet or savoury dishes, it is perfect used as a replacement for cream cheese in dips, and if you are making a cake that you expect to be consumed in one sitting, then it can certainly be used as a replacement for cream cheese in the icing (labne will continue to lose whey ever so slightly so it shouldn’t be used in icings that are going to sit on a cake for more than a day). It is also perfect dotted on top of pizza before baking (you have to try it … amazing!), spread under pesto on sourdough toast, or mixed with a little maple syrup and served as a side to a sweet toasted loaf of some sort. It is also fabulous served plain alongside Roasted Mixed Berries (see here) with a delicious piece of sourdough brioche or croissant, and also makes a great sweet tart filling (think of labne and prune tart!).
I have found this wonderful little container that allows me to use 750g of yoghurt at a time to make approximately 600g of labne, and what I like so much about this is it’s easy to store in the fridge, easy to clean, and makes just the right amount for us. If you wish however you can definitely use the traditional method of straining by placing the yoghurt in a muslin lined basin suspended over a bowl to catch the whey.
Labne will usually last for up to two weeks in the fridge.
For this post I have worked on using 750g yoghurt in the Cuisipro Yoghurt Cheese Maker, but you can follow this process using as much or as little plain yoghurt as you like.
- 750g plain full fat yoghurt
- Place yoghurt into Cuisipro Yoghurt Cheese Maker and level top
- Cover with lid and place into fridge for 24 hours
- After 24 hours decant labne into a container, ensuring that you press it down into the container so that there are no large air pockets
- Dispense the whey collected in the base of the Yoghurt Cheese Maker into a separate container to use for another purpose (see post on making yoghurt)
- Place labne into fridge where it will sit happily for up to two weeks
- Use as desired