Labneh is a type of cream cheese originating from the Middle East made from strained yoghurt. This makes it lower in calories than traditional cream cheese and traditionally it has no added preservatives, other than salt and oil. It has many uses, like as a spread, as a pizza topping, to thicken sauces or soups and add a creamy tangy taste, as dips, or as dumplings in soups.
Labneh is becoming more and more popular in kitchens. Wagon Trail Breweries & Uitkyk Wine Estate, use it in their tasting platter to be paired with beer and wine and Savour at 15 On Orange use labneh in their smoked salmon salad.
Bedouin Café & Deli produce labneh to a traditional Middle Eastern recipe in a variety of flavours, being chilli, mint, garlic, pepper and original. They also make labnehdews, which are piquant peppers stuffed with their original labneh cheese.
Bedouin uses their labneh in the following dishes:
- Soups (Turkish Minted yoghurt, Moroccan split pea and Syrian Tomato
- Moroccan chicken penne pasta sauce
- Mezze platter
- Scrambled eggs on labneh toast
- Toasted bagel with smoked salmon, lined with labneh
- Topping on their grilled vegetables
- Organic omelette
- Salads (Fattoush salad and crunchy chickpea salad)
- Bedouin cheese cake
- Lamb burger and Lamb pita
Make your own
All you need to make it is cheesecloth, plain Greek yoghurt and a bowl. Place the yoghurt in the cheesecloth, if you want to add spices, such as chili, mint, pepper etc. to the cheese, it should be added at this stage. Tie the edges of the cloth together and hang it in the fridge over a bowl for the whey to drip into for 1-2 days. Once all of the whey has drained out, what will be left in the cheesecloth, is the labneh. Preserve this by adding salt and covering with olive oil.